Monday, June 26th, 2017

Team Owner Scott McKinney in Favor of PDRA Banning Auto Shift

Published on February 4, 2014 by   ·   19 Comments

The PDRA, Professional Drag Racers Association, is technically a new organization, but a quick glance over the classes, schedule and rules reveals the American version of the ADRL was basically given a new acronym while the parties involved iron out some legal issues.

While much is the same from last year,  a rule change was recently announced for Pro Extreme Motorcycle which has caused a bit of an uproar and a hot debate. Racers are no longer able to utilize auto shifters.

It’s a polarizing issue.

A handful of competitors who utilize the technology are threatening to race elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Scott McKinney, who as a team owner has won the last two season championships with his son Eric riding, applauded the PDRA’s decision.

Eric McKinney Wheelie“It’s getting to the point where with auto shift and traction control all we are going to need is a dummy on the bike and a remote control on the starting line because there isn’t much skill involved,” said McKinney, who funded Hammer Motorsports’ purchase of AMA/Prostar from Keith “Scooter” Kizer.  “I think they need to ride them.  There is a reason auto shifters are illegal in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock car.”

Longtime engine builder and tuner Dan Wagner and highly-accomplished racer Bill Vose are two in favor of auto shift. McKinney thinks keeping it simple will greatly benefit the class.

Eric McKinney, Ashley Owens“The next thing you know we will have a five-page rule book and everyone will be mad,” McKinney said. “You don’t want to give teams with more money another advantage.  A guy with skill should be able to win on ability. That’s drag racing.”

The five-speed Pro Extreme Motorcycles shift four times in just 660 feet. Racers are shifting into third at about the time they reach the 60-foot block.

“The hardest part is quickly hitting the shift to second gear,” McKinney said. “A lot of times if a guy is behind he will make a mistake and short-shift to try to catch up.”

McKinney wants to see that margin for driver error remain.

Eric McKinney BurnoutThe 2014 PDRA series tour features eight races –

April 4-5 : Rockingham Dragway (Rockingham, NC)  May 9-10 : South Georgia Motorsports Park (Valdosta, GA)  May 23-24 : Memphis International Raceway (Millington, TN)  June 27-28 : U.S. 131 Motorsports Park (Martin, Michigan)  July 25-26 : Virginia Motorsports Park (Richmond, VA)  Aug. 15-16 : Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park (Tulsa, OK)  September 5-6 : Rockingham Dragway (Rockingham, NC)  October 10-11 : Virginia Motorsports Park (Richmond, VA)

Where do you stand on the issue? Should auto shifters be allowed? Leave a comment.



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Readers Comments (19)

  1. Rob Hunnicutt says:

    I agree that auto shifters should NOT be allowed. Make them ride the bikes until the new ignition systems came out auto shift wasn’t a viable option cause it was unreliable. Now you have riders out there that aren’t able to make the shifts needed, well you are gonna have to learn to now. I applaud the PDRA, don’t allow Dan Wagner to try and manipulate the rules like he always does.

  2. Richard Gadson says:

    McKinney has some great points!!

  3. Paul A. Zimpfer says:

    good article. Mr. McKinney is 100% right. wonder why so many strips have a no box classes for the cars. hmmmmmmmm. just saying.

  4. Rob Werner says:

    What a bunch of crap you said a guy with skills should be able to win even against a big $ team. That’s funny coming from a team with what…. a dozen or so spare motors in the trailer. I suppose you want the 90″ wheel base as well. Not a forward thinker at all are you? The only reason your son has won 2 years in a row is your money and BUYING Ashley. How many races did Ashley throw last year so your son could win? BTW how was the race overseas?

  5. john sachs says:

    get rid of the auto shift. prostar banned them also.althuogh this was a no rules class.it sure has a lot.

    • john sachs says:

      although

    • Tom Loughlin Jr says:

      Anytime someone proclaims a class to be “no rules”…run like hell and don’t invest in a machine to race in it because THE INSTANT you show up at the track with something innovative and threatening to the win chances of another team…rules will pop up to bite you. BINGO ! Sometimes..with poorly-run, bought-out sanctions..at the same race (we did not do that..ever)
      Tom Loughlin Jr. AMA DRAGBIKE! (the original) and DRAGBIKE! USA

  6. Dan Vasilik says:

    Auto shift shouldn’t be aloud… Part of racing these bikes is developing the skills needed to get down the track and doing it safely and consistently… I personally believe auto shift to be a potential safety concern in the event a rider looses proper control during a pass, the bike could potentially continue accelerating and going through the gears even if the rider isn’t in complete control or aware of track position… The human element needs to remain in the class… It’s things like this that make it possible for a team with a small budget to be able to have a fighting chance against well funded teams… As for people to go as far as boycotting when it’s hard enough to fill fields is just poor sportsmanship in my opinion… It’s just a bad idea for these bikes to have auto shift and I hope the rule stays…

  7. Greg darm says:

    Should be allowed.Why?Are they using hand clutch,no.Nitrous on demand with a button,no,using some type of controller.Cutting a light,keeping in the groove,dealing with crosswinds is also the riders job.If he can do that,then a autoshift won,t make him win.

  8. Billy Vose says:

    PDRA allows auto shift in the cars that shift less gears for safety sake. Why should a bike be different. I don’t want a rider dependent on auto shift running into my lane cause they’re watching the light instead of where they’re going! I shift 6 gears without auto shift and no it will be to my advantage if not allowed except for safety reasons. You can say ride it all you want until someone gets hurt. The auto shift will hurt more runs than help and traction control will slow more runs than help. Let’s be safe and race and stop crying about BS such as this.

  9. Leshon Norman says:

    I like the no autoshift rule! Learning shift points is part of learning how to ride and race!

  10. Coodee Thomas says:

    Shouldn’t matter. Thats like saying take money from rich, make him a budget racer and make a budget racer rich so he can buy championships. Shut up and race. ” Denver QB didn’t win the SUPERBOWL” Whatever his name is!!!!!

    • Kim says:

      When I first started riding these bikes, I begged for auto shift because I thought it would make it easier to ride. Well I was told no. If I want to ride the bike, I have to ride the bike. I shift my bike myself. To tell the truth it saved a lot of my runs. I was never looking for a light either. I don’t shift by that light. I shift when I feel the bike is ready for it. Lol I don’t think I could ride with an auto shift. I would probably hit the button. I think shifting the bike yourself makes a better rider. Ride the damn thing don’t just go for a ride.

      • Tom Loughlin Jr says:

        Kim..yours is a very telling and complete comment. Having officiated with eyes on the track at more than 300 motorcycle drag racing events with eyes on 450,000 runs and written 15 rulebooks… I am on the side of human involvement in racing. If it makes it slower..ok. if it makes it more erratic for some…that just creates opportunity for others. The scoot and rider are ONE from the time it lights up to the time it gets back to the pits. The win (and loss) are human plus machine. Humans are fallible. Machines break. Watch other sports and apply their lessons to motorcycle drag racing. The human element will be common denominator…and the more human involvement, the more likely DOMINANCE by any one team can be prevented. IE..the Pro Street and Pro Dragster classes the DRAGBIKE! USA and AMA DRAGBIKE! (the originals) invented. Peace and love ! Tom Loughlin Jr. (and HEY to John Sachs and all!)

  11. Ñathaniel Wright says:

    No autostart…about time

  12. Ñathaniel Wright says:

    No autoshift about time

  13. Casey Stemper says:

    We agree with McKinney, we do NOT use a auto shift. We tried it in the past and deemed it un reliable. I like that I have to control and make my shifts. It’s oK Kim, I also don’t use a shift light, I shift from feel and yes the shifts come fast.
    Billy Vose had commented in another post that he thought that I was using auto shift at the last race in SGMP this information is not accurate. I would have a clutch on my bike if my Dad would agree to put it on. It should not just be a tuning game it should be a
    riders game also.

  14. Casey Stemper says:

    But in respect to all of the comments, we don’t want to lose riders over this.

  15. Tom Loughlin Jr says:

    Great discussion.
    Tom




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