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S&S Jim McClure Nationals Recap

Published on September 26, 2007 by   ·   No Comments

Top Fuel

The Jim McClure Nationals has become an annual history-making event for Jay Turner Racing.  In 2006 Jay “The Bulldog” Turner conquered the incredibly rare “Nitro Double” by winning both the Top Fuel class and the Pro Fuel category in the same event.

In Top Fuel Turner competes for Johnny Mancuso and the in Pro Fuel class he fields his own operation

So what could be more extraordinary than a Nitro Double? How about accomplishing the feat two years in row at the same event.  That’s exactly what the Bulldog did.

“Winning both classes at the same event two years in a row is a small miracle,” Turner said. “My crew and I are giving all the credit to hard work and to my friend and mentor Jim McClure. I was not out there alone this weekend. I had a lot of luck, or an angel on my side.”

In the event’s inaugural year of 2006 The AHDRA dedicated the race to the memory of the late Jim McClure, a 19-time drag racing champion and icon of the sport, who passed away in 2004 following heart complications.

In opening qualifying point leader and winner of the last two events in Woodburn, OR, and Bristol, Tenn, Takeski Shigematsu qualified on the pole with a stellar 6.46.  Turner qualified in the No. 2 spot, just three-hundredths of a second behind Shigematsu with a 6.49. Former champion and No. 2 in the point series Doug Vancil qualified fifth with a 6.57.

On race day Turner used a consistent string of runs ranging from 6.45-6.53 to defeat opponent after opponent and advance to the final round.  On the other half of the bracket No. 4 qualifier and winner from the season-opening race in Gainesville, Fla, Bob Malloy put together an even more impressive string of consistency with a 6.45 in round No. 1, a 6.46 in round No. 2, and another huge 6.45 in the semifinals to upset Shigematsu and gain lane choice in the final.

Unfortunately for Malloy his 6.45 bracket bike finally gave out in the final and he was unable to make a run. Turner took the easy victory with a 6.50.  Turner dedicated the victory not only to the late Jim McClure, but also to his Top Fuel team owner Johnny Mancuso, who recently announced this will be his last season.

“Since the official retirement of Mancuso Racing was announced, it was very important for me to give Johnny a Top Fuel win before the season was out,” Turner said.  “We also had one of our sponsors with us last weekend, Alfred Knott owner of AB&H Excavating, was able to come out and enjoy the wins with us. By the time it came to roll the bikes in the winner circle, it finally hit everyone what had just happened.  We won a double again!”

Turner thanked his sponsors for all they do for Jay Turner Racing, “Without them, I couldn’t do what I  do,” Turner said. He thanked  AB&H Excavating, T-Man Performance, Rocket Management Systems, Syphon Systems, Palm Beach H-D, Cracker Racing, Metzler Tires, Red Line Oil and Vanson Leathers.

Following the event Turner climbed to No. 3 in the point series with 554, Vancil remains No. 2 with 642, and Shigematsu continues to hold the lead with 706 heading into the tour’s final two races.

Pro Fuel

In Pro Fuel the Jay “The Bulldog” Turner dominated the field to complete his second consecutive S&S Jim McClure Nationals Nitro Double.

In qualifying The Bulldog took the pole with an impressive run of 6.65, just eight-thousandths ahead of his rival Armon Furr. In all 10 competitors showed up to attempt to qualify for Sunday’s program.

Turner’s bid for another Nitro Double nearly ended right on the starting-line in the opening round of eliminations.  Both Turner and No. 8 qualifier Russ Sowers broke on the starting line and were unable to make it down the 1,320-feet-long race course. Per AHDRA rules Turner was awarded the win by virtue of his better reaction time, .119 to Sowers’ .179.

“My first round of eliminations was crazy. Both bikes broke right off the line. Who does that?  Good thing I had the quicker reaction time,” Turner said.

Turner met up with Furr in the final for another classic showdown between the two top racers in the class.  Both Turner and Furr brought their A-game and in one of the closest races of the day, Turner’s .053 and 6.61 was enough to hold off Furr’s .050 and 6.65.

With the win Turner extended his point lead to 241 over Furr.

Pro Stock

It’s not often that Pro Stock dominator Junior Pippin is upset in eliminations.  After Pippin qualified on the pole with an 8.19, No. 4 qualifier David Poague pulled-off the rare upset and put the seemingly unbeatable Pippin on the trailer in round No. 2 with an 8.30 to Pippin’s wounded 9.03.

And Poague wasn’t done yet.  He defeated David Hope in the subsequent round to advance to the final to take on No. 6 qualifier James Surber and his 2003 Buell.  In the semis Surber pulled off an upset of his own, beating No. 2 qualifier “The Desert Dawg” Greg Krenik.

In the final Surber recorded an 8.31 to take the event victory over Poague and his 8.46.

Pro Drag

Defending Pro Drag class champion Rick Moore and his Mid-Continent Motorsports team surged to the head of qualifying with an impressive 7.36, almost two tenths of a second ahead of No. 2 qualifier, 71-year-old Sonny Burres.

In round No. 2 of eliminations Moore was upset by St. Louis-winner and AHDRA Pro Drag veteran Greg Byrnes.

Byrnes used that momentum to carry him to his second event win of the season, as he defeated Burres in the final.  Burres actually had the quicker motorcycle, running 7.56 to Byrnes 7.60, but Burres’  -.007 foul start granted Byrnes a trip to the Virginia Motorsports Park Winner’s Circle.

“We’ve had numerous runner-ups the last few years so it feels great to win another win,” Byrnes said.

Byrnes thanked his entire crew, PlantHarley.com, and Mile High Harley Davidson.

Pro Gas

After Rick Moore qualified more than a tenth ahead of the rest of the field in Pro Gas with a 7.73 it appeared the defending Pro Drag champion would be headed for an easy victory.

However in round No. 2 AHDRA regular and No. 4 qualifier Dale Raudenbush pulled of a huge hole-shot upset in one of the closest races of the day.  Raudenbush drilled a .026 light and ran an impressive 7.74 to outrun Moore’s .104 bulb and quicker 7.73.

Even better for Raudenbush, the upset win over Moore eventually led him to an event win.  In the final Raudenbush was awarded a broke by when No. 2 qualifier Mike Nelson couldn’t make the call.

Pro Mod

In Pro Mod “The Desert Dawg” Greg Krenik kept his impressive streak of pole positions intact with a brilliant run of 8.68 on Saturday.

Sunday would not be as prosperous for Krenik.  The Desert Dawg ran into mechanical problems in round No. 2 and was upset by Donnie Huffman.

The final featured a great match-up between two of the finest racers in the class, No. 2 qualifier Randy Borho and No. 4 qualifier Greg Kuypers.

In the end it was Borho who emerged victorious, using his quickest pass of the day, 8.69, to get by Kuypers’ 8.93.

Street Pro

He’s baaaack.

Defending Street Pro champion Andy Simon utterly dominated the Street Pro class last season and early this season, smashing several records along the way.

Back in the Spring AHDRA officials deemed Andy Simon’s unique zero-degree cylinder head illegal and gave Simon a three race window to replace the part.

Simon ran into some difficulties establishing his new combination and for a while the former champ was missing from action.  In his absence point leader Zach Johnson emerged as the man to beat.

In the meantime Simon was busy fine-tuning his new motor combination with engine builder extraordinaire Mike Lozano.  In Virginia Simon and Lozano’s hard work came to fruition and fans got a glimpse of Andy Simon the way most remember him – dominant.

Simon qualified on the pole with an 8.73 and defeated his rival Johnson in the final with an 8.80 to Johnson’s 9.01

Destroyer

When L.E. Tonglet is on his game he’s downright unstoppable in the V-Rod Destroyer category.  With his extraordinary Pro Stock-style riding ability and the tuning expertise of his father and former NHRA Pro Stock racer, Gary Tonglet Sr, Tonglet was again on his game in Virginia and came away with his ninth victory of the year.

Tonglet qualified on the pole with a 9.25 and ran an incredible 9.18 in the final during his broke bye.

Tonglet was upset two races ago in Bristol, Tenn, but since then he has been flawless in qualifying and eliminations.  Tonglet’s only other loss of the season occurred in Dallas when he red-lit in the opening round.

Hot Street

Len Wisniewski of ABC Performance Cycle showed up to Virginia Motorsports Park with a well-prepared and highly capable Hot Street bike, and also a formidable rider.  Wisniewski choose none other than AHDRA newcomer Richard Gadson to pilot the bike. Richard, nephew of famed factory-backed motorcycle drag racer Rickey Gadson, is a proven winner on the AMA/Prostar tour.

Wisniewski’s combination of his high horsepower motorcycle and a proven rider was a very successful one.  Together the duo won the event and reset the eighth-mile record to 6.225 and the quarter-mile record to 9.866.

“For the first time out with the bike we did well.  We broke all the records and won the event,” Wisniewski said. “We would like to thank the AHDRA, our fellow riders in this class and all the people that made this happen.”

V-Rod/124 Challenge

In Virginia Lou Gerencer added his name to the elite and exclusive list of racers that have won more than one class at the same event.

In V-Rod Gerencer qualified on the pole and went on to defeat Larry Edmondson Jr. in the final after Edmondson fouled-out with a -.130.
“I would like to thank John and Nila Wise for all of their support, Hoosier H-D, Simeri’s Tavern and the Team Nila crew,” Gerencer said. “This is our second win of the season, the third, if you count Bristol, which was taken away.”

In S&S 124 Challenge Gerencer qualified in the No. 2 spot and pulled off a tremendous upset in the final, ousting class record holder Mike Roberts with a 9.92 to Roberts’ 10.07.

“For this win I would also like to thank Team Nila, T Man Performance, Hoosier H-D, and the Team Nila crew for all of their help,” Gerencer said. “This is our second win this year.”

Super Gas

Gary Moreno, of La Verna, CA, qualified ninth in the Super Gas category and picked up a few wins in the early rounds of racing on Sunday.  Moreno may have already deserved a winner’s trophy just for making the long drive to Virginia Motorsports Park from the West Coast.

“Getting to Richmond  took 48 hours to drive one-way,” Moreno said.  “The race was pretty tough each round. One of the heavy hitters was No. 1 qualifier Terry Tripp. He gave me a close race and I didn’t know who won until I got the time slip. The next round was Mike Fitzgerald, and  he ran right on 9.70 and I ran 9.74, but I had a little better light.”

Moreno continued to put in a strong performance and advanced to the final to take on a fellow West Coast racer.

“So I’m going into the finals and I ask my teammate Tim who do we have to race? I was glad he said Surber and the final was an all-California boys race,” Moreno said. “I told James all through the rounds good luck and we had fun all day. I did get the win but he won in Pro Stock for the first time, so it was great we were both in the winners circle.”

Moreno scored the victory with an .045 and 9.81 to Surber’s .123 and 9.84.

The people that I would like to thank are Skip Fordyce HD in Riverside CA for the bike, a 2006 V- ROD Destroyer,” Moreno said. “I’d like to thank Ozzie Levine for helping us get to the races and my team manager Tim Ethridge and of course our wives for letting us race.”

Super Sport

Dave Israel of New York had an event to remember in S&S Super Sport.  Not only did Israel qualify in the No. 2 spot with a near perfect run and go on to win the event, he captured one of every sportsman/bracket racer’s lofty goals by running dead-on the class index to the thousandth.

Israel’s impressive run couldn’t have come at a better time. In the final Charley Douglass banked an .078-.105 head start, but Israel, despite the deficit at the starting line, took the win with a perfect 10.300 on the 10.30 index to Douglass’ 10.23.

“I would like to thank Dave and Sandy Israel, who are part of a race team known as RCC Racing out of Rochester Custom Cycle located in Rochester New York. RCC is owned and operated by Mike Stocum,” Israel said.  “We would like to thank our sponsors RCC, Parts Plus, Valvoline, Deckman Oil, Miller Metal Fab, Gilbert Construction, and Ron Nannini Service. I would especially like to thank my wife Sandy for without her outstanding help and support my racing would not be possible. I also would like to thank Dave Gilbert and all of my friends who lend help and support.”

Super Eliminator

Super Eliminator qualifying at Virginia was one of the most competitive rounds of sportsman qualifying in the history of the AHDRA.  In all a staggering total of six individuals ran on the 10.90 index.  John Price took the pole with a 10.904, followed by No. 2 Dwight Cass’ 10.905, No. 3 Jimmy McMillan’s 10.907, No. 4 John Kreckman’s 10.908, No. 5 Nate Carnahan’s 10.908, and No. 6 Dean Druschel’s 10.909. Just to get inside the top-ten a rider would have to run 10.923 or better.

After a long competitive day of racing on Sunday it was No. 3 qualifier McMillan and No. 8 qualifier Kevin Winters who advanced to the final.  Both men were quick off the line with McMillan cutting a .050 to Winters’ .041.  McMillan came closer to the index with a 10.923, but Winters’ nine-thousandths of starting line advantage was enough to grant him and his 10.931 the victory.

SEP

Fresh off of his double wins in Woodburn and Sturgis, Dan “The Man” Norlin and his immaculate V-Rod appeared to be on track for another exceptional weekend in Virginia.

In opening SEP qualifying Norlin took the pole position with an impressive 11.505 on the 11.50-index.

Norlin continued to run close to the 11.50 index all-day-long and again made his way to the SEP final.

On the other side of the ladder AHDRA regular and No. 7 qualifier Joey Talbott advanced to the final on a semifinal round upset over No. 4 plate SEP plate holder J.P. Hendrzak.

In the final Norlin was unable to duplicate his stellar consistency from earlier in the event as his ET fell to 12.11.  Talbott took the event victory by running just three hundredths off the index with an 11.53 at 101 mph.

ET

Rich Hillegass of York, PA, rode his 1985 FXR to his first SYN 3 ET win of the season in Richmond, with several near-perfect lights combined with many consistent runs.

After taking out Shane Pendegrast in the semifinals, Hillegass was put to the test in the final when he had to go up against defending Syn 3 ET class champion, J.P. Hendrzak.

Hendrzak was first off the line with a .051 reaction-time to Hillegass’ .076, but Hillegass was able to get past the defending champion with a 10.82 on a 10.80 dial-in to Hendrzak’s 11.36 on an 11.30 dial.

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