Manufacturers Cup Top Fuel Saturday Notes
The first day of Top Fuel qualifying from the Manufacturers Cup in Valdosta, Ga. belonged to Korry Hogan. Day two belonged to the nitro Harleys.
Tommy Grimes, aboard the 6.14-capable Ray Price V-twin, and Takeshi Shigematsu of Ehime, Japan, aboard a Don “DJ” Johnson-prepared motorcycle, dazzled fans with the quickest side-by-side Top Fuel Harley run ever. Shigematsu recorded a 6.13, unofficially the quickest nitro Harley pass to date, against Grimes’6.16.
Grimes’ performance backs-up his 6.15 from Friday within one percent and awards him the official Top Fuel Harley world record.
“I got the holeshot on Tak and he still got out me. I knew we were on good passes. I could really feel the bike pulling hard,” Grimes said. “This record means a lot to Ray Price and the entire team. They do all the hard work and make it easy for me.”
Grimes will run No. 6 qualifier Geoff Pollard (7.25, 138 mph) in opening eliminations.
“I’ve never raced an import bike,” Grimes said. “I’m excited. I think tomorrow evening we could have a chance to better the 6.15, but we are all about winning the race, not setting records.”
Shigematsu could leave the event with the Harley world record if he backs up the 6.13 with a 6.18 or better during eliminations. Of course Grimes could continue to improve as well.
Hogan retained the No. 1 spot thanks to his career-best 5.84 at 243 mph on Friday evening. On Saturday, much like all the import Top Fuel competitors, Hogan overpowered the racetrack, smoked the tire and failed to make it down the track cleanly. Hogan will run No. 8 qualifier Russ Sowers in round No. 1.
“We had a clutch problem today and the track wasn’t as good as it was on Friday,” reported Hogan’s crew chief John Alwine. “We will have it fixed for Sunday. We are going to take some power out.”
After three sessions of qualifying the 10-time world champion Larry “Spiderman” McBride finds himself in unfamiliar teritory, qualified fifth with a 6.71 at 211 mph. McBride smoked the tire violently during each of his Saturday runs.
“It has been a tough weekend,” McBride said. “We had a fuel pump issue on the bike and then we lost our generator in the trailer for a few hours. The good news is that we got the bike fixed and found some more power. Now the challenge is trying to get that power to the track.”McBride can’t recall the last time he has been this far down on the qualifying sheet. The Spiderman will face off against friendly rival, No. 4 qualifier Chris Hand (6.30, 215 mph) in opening eliminations.
“We arent intimidated by qualifying fifth,” McBride said. “We are going to take some power out and try to get down the track. We’ll take it one round at a time.”
In other Top Fuel news, legendary racer Ron Webb is in attendance with his “Fire and Ice” motorcycle. Webb has been trying to sell the bike and has cut the asking price in half to $50,000. Included in the deal are three spare motors. The Alaskan says he doesn’t miss the danger of Top Fuel racing and made sure he didn’t bring his leathers so that he couldn’t be talked into competing this weekend. Webb’s all-time best on the bike is a 6.04.
So far no one has been able to answer the question, “When is the last time there was a full, eight-bike field in the import/Harley Top Fuel class?” Even the NHRA “Stat Geek” Lewis Bloom was stumped, responding to Jackie Bryce’s text with “I have no idea.”
Top Fuel fan Jerry Cooper claims there has never been a full field in the category. Anyone beg to differ?
Manufactures Cup Final Top Fuel Qualifying
1) Korry Hogan 5.84, 243 mph
2) Takeshi Shigematsu 6.13, 218 mph
3) Tommy Grimes 6.15, 216 mph
4) Chris Hand 6.30, 215 mph
5) Larry McBride 6.71, 211 mph
6) Geoff Pollard 7.25, 138 mph
7) Rich Vreeland 8.11, 161 mph
8 ) Russ Sowers 10.41, 85 mph