“Cash is King” at NHDRO Opener

“Cash is King” but a check will work too, especially when it’s an NHDRO “Big Check” for $13,000. That’s what Chris Moore earned for winning NHDRO’s Last Man Standing Grudge Spectacular Saturday night at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia. It was the crowning moment of the 190hookup.com Season Opener—the first race of 2018 for America’s fastest growing motorcycle drag racing series.

Moore tuned his Motec-controlled, DME-built, turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa to be the class of the sixteen-bike field all through Friday testing and racing on Saturday. Since this was a Performance Racing Products Grudge race, no times, incrementals, or reaction times were shown.

Moore beat Desmond Jerel “Kill Bill” Spaulding riding “CT Fletcher” in round one (Moore’s closest race of the day), “Bad News” with Caleb McDougald in round two, Lil’ Richard Gadson on “Super Freak” in the semis, and “Kill Bill” again on “Heartless” in the final.

Richard Gadson
Brian Welch Fights for Your Right to Grudge at Atlanta Dragway

“That was my first time going to an NHDRO race and I really enjoyed it,” said Moore. “I like the way Brian (NHDRO owner Brain Welch) put the race on. Like when the track wasn’t hooking, he talked to the track staff about it.” Needless to say, the track was put into good shape and Moore was impressed. “I said ‘This guy (Welch) is legit.’ I’m hoping he’ll put one of these grudge races on at Indy, ‘cause I’ve never raced there and I really want to.” NHDRO races at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis in August and September.

Keith “Shine” Dennis on the MSP built and tuned “Venom”

One of the highlights of the Last Man Standing was the reunion of rider Keith “Shine” Dennis and builder/tuner Joe Marasco of MSP—a legendary duo that broke up some thirteen years ago. And they had a good run on Saturday, racing the “Venom” Suzuki GSXR1000 past rider “LA” on “8th Wonder” in round one and Lavar “Lil’ Charlie” DeLee on “Airwolf” in round two before getting outrun by the “Heartless” Kawasaki ZX14 in the semi. Dennis spent time between rounds entertaining the crowd with his fast-talking, agile, and razor-sharp wit.

“Clean Getaway’s” getaway is anything but clean in E1 with Thien Le aboard
Lil Matt Dozier rode “DMF” to the “Eight the Hard Way” win

Eight bikes that didn’t get their entry into NHDRO in time to make the draw of 16 ran their own “Eight the Hard Way” bracket for $4000. Lil Matt Dozier rode “DMF” to the final round win over Ken “Capt’n” Grate on “Murder 1.”

Lil’ Matt with Big Money
Pro Street winner Frankie Stotz

Frankie Stotz took the opening win of the McIntosh/Grayson Machine & Fabrication Pro Street season, qualifying number one and beating former champ Doug Gall in the final round between the world’s quickest street-legal bikes.

Rickey Gadson (far lane) had sensor problem and lost his E1 lead against Doug Gall, wheelieing in the near lane

While most of the 700 horsepower streetbikes struggled to find grip, Stotz and his little 1000cc Honda found it in 6.84, 202 mph handfuls. Stotz credited he and his dad Kent fighting their clutch struggles for his success. “We never stopped trying or figuring out what was wrong,” said Frankie. “It was a huge team effort to fix the issue and when we did, you saw the results.”

Rudy Sanzottera
4.60 winner Mike Thyen

Excellent results also came to veteran racer Mike Thyen in Quicktime Motorsports/Lindeman Performance Pro Ultra. Thyen didn’t really need much excellence in the final, as number one qualifier Les Stimac’s transmission broke and no gear was to be found in the waterbox.

Les Stimac
Jeremy England on his Top Gas bike….

One of Jeremy England’s two wins came in Top Gas 8.20 index when Dustin “Biscuits” Lee redlit by -.005. Number one qualifier Kounselor Kenny Schwartz lost to England in round one.

…and on his Street Fighter bike

England rode his dragbike in Top Gas, but his streetbike in Penske Racing Shocks Street Fighter—where he won the final against Vince “Family Man” Hileman, who broke out. England beat number one qualifier John “Spooky” Markham in round two.

John “Spooky” Markham

Markham spun a rod bearing in his own championship-winning Street Fighter bike, so he borrowed a bike from Stanley Russell—a man whose heart is as big as his appetite. But in Millennium Trailers Super Comp, Markham was on his own tried and true dragbike and took the double breakout final over Dustin Lee. Number one qualifier Ron “Ju-Jitsu” Arnold lost to Rachel Wagner in round two.

Dustin Lee won M2.Shocks Crazy 8s

Don’t feel too bad about Lee losing the Top Gas and Super Comp finals, as he took the win in M2.Shocks Crazy 8s. Lee beat Stephen “The Right” Knight with an .013 light to Knight’s .077. Ron Arnold also qualified number one in Crazy 8s, and also lost in round two—this time to Travis Klotz.

Stephen “The Right” Knight

Don’t grieve too hard for Knight either, as he won Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET. He won the final despite leaving .036 later than Lee—Dustin’s third runner-up of the night.

Garreth Sheppeard

Garreth Sheppeard won MPS Pro ET, beating veteran racer Doug Fisher—who redlit—in the final.

Dorian ‘Doe Doe’ Wallace won NHDRO ’s first Grom race, sponsored by Total Racing Motorsports, and Anthony “Bishop” Randle won the Heavy Hitters race.

The most exciting event on Friday night was a stock ‘Busa challenge—riders making one test pass and one pass on the clock aboard a new, stock Hayabusa to determine the quickest. Richard Gadson took the honors with a 9.77 at 147 mph.

No, these aren’t turkeys, but grillmaster Sherman Matthews seems to be able to cook anything

And because NHDRO events satisfy all your senses, grillmaster Sherman Matthews won the turkey smoking contest.

Brian and Niki Welch want to thank all the racers and sponsors who made this weather-challenged event come off without a hitch, especially Rob Bush Motorsports and 190hookup.com.

The next reunion of the NHDRO family is back in the Midwest at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio for the Liguori Drag Racing May Bike Fest on May 4-6.

Veteran MSP fan Lloyd Patterson making a point trackside
NHDRO superfans Jamie Yockey and Lo Down made the trip to Atlanta Dragway
Maegan “Bikerchicc” Bowers and her man

Spotty live stream replay below:

BREAKING NEWS: For those who haven’t heard, Rodney Williford’s “Uncle Sam” is OUT of tonight’s Last Man Standing Grudge Spectacular. Uncle Sam’s transmission cases shredded yesterday in testing and Rodney’s been spread too thin to have a spare ready.

Friday night replay below:

PRE-RACE: NHDRO kicks of BIG in Atlanta

America’s fastest growing motorcycle drag racing series—NHDRO—launches its 2018 season in enormous fashion with the 190hookup.com NHDRO Season Opener/Last Man Standing Grudge Spectacular. And it all happens at one of the most legendary and popular motorcycle drag venues of all time— Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.

But few in the days when AMA/Dragbike and Prostar packed the stands in Atlanta could have imagined anything as audacious as the Last Man Standing Grudge Spectacular. Sixteen of the nation’s gnarliest Performance Racing Products grudge bikes square off Saturday night in a blind draw, winner take all, $13,000 battle to the end.

This event is so monumental that rider Keith “Shine” Dennis and builder/tuner Joe Marasco of MSP—perhaps the most legendary duo in the history of motorcycle grudge racing—have put their feud aside and will compete as a team for the first time in over a decade.

It will be Keith “Shine” Dennis in the seat of “Venom” at Atlanta, not Jeremy Teasley

Dennis will be riding the “Venom” Suzuki GSXR1000 vs. LA on 8th Wonder in round one. MSP also fields Derrick “Squeak” Edwards’ “Clean Getaway,” which will have Thien Le aboard vs. Desmond “Kill Bill” Spaulding on Roger Starrette’s  “Heartless.” You might remember Bill and “Heartless” from a vicious crash last November at the NHDRO World Finals.

“Kill Bill” on Roger Starrette’s “Heartless”

“Kill Bill” will also be riding “CT Fletcher” vs. Chris Moore on “Cash is King” in E1, and wouldn’t have to worry about meeting up with his “Heartless” until the final.  Another two-bike rider is Lavar “Lil’ Charlie” DeLee on HTP Performance’s “Airwolf” and “Jizzle,” who race each other first round. Somebody’s got some decision makin’ to do!

Caleb McDougald on “Bad News”

Rodney Williford will be fresh off his PDRA Pro Extreme Motorcycle win this past weekend to return to more familiar territory—balls-out banzai passes on no-bar, turbo Hayabusas! He’ll race his “Uncle Sam” vs. Lil’ Richard Gadson on “Super Freak”—a brutal first round draw! Williford will also field the “Bad News” bike with Caleb McDougald on board vs. Shun Maxwell on “Black Panther.”

Vince Hileman on “Family Man”

Rounding out the ladder are Ryan Hable on Lee Tomlinson’s “Suicide Squad” vs. Brycen Bender on “Kamikaze,” and the Midwestern pairing of Vince Hileman on “Family Man” vs. Frankie Stotz on “Biff.”

Grudge Madness!

Even the fans have a dog in this fight as NHDRO is having a bracketology contest a la March Madness, so get yours and get in the game!

Eight bikes that didn’t get their entry into NHDRO in time to make the draw of 16 will race their own mini bracket as well—”8 the Hard Way”—It’s a hustler’s paradise!

Rudy Sanzottera

The world’s quickest street-legal bikes of McIntosh/Grayson Machine & Fabrication Pro Street kick off their season with their own $1000-to-win ND1 Prospect shootout on Saturday night.

Gabe Frederick

None other than legendary Rickey Gadson will be back chasing Pro Street glory, racing the same bike that Mark Paquette rode to the championship two years ago. He’ll be dealing with the likes of Quicktime Motorsports’ Rudy Sanzottera, Frankie Stotz and his little 1000cc Honda, former champ Doug Gall, Gabe Frederick, Jamie Lopes, Jeremy St. Julien, Brad Christian, James Herbert, Chris Klassen, and more as these 700 horsepower, turbocharged or nitrous-huffing street bikes unleash their fury.


NHDRO will also be debuting their new class, which replicates the one that started the Pro Street revolution—Street Bike Shootout! Street tire, hand clutch, stock ECU and a weight-to-wheelbase ratio are what defines this otherwise unlimited class—and a road course test that ensures these beasts remain roadworthy.

Chris Cutsinger

There’s nothing roadworthy about the big-tire, wheelie bar monsters of Pro Open. Champion Chris Cutsinger will start his defense against the likes of Ron Maddox, Leshon Norman, Charlie Theiss and more. Will NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racers enter Pro Open in Atlanta? With their national event only three weeks later on this same surface, it only makes sense.

Jeff Lindeman

Scale down the brutish power of Pro Open, run them to the eighth mile, and set an index of 4.60 and you’ve got Quicktime Motorsports/Lindeman Performance Pro Ultra. Class sponsor Jeff Lindeman, Dan McCarten and others will be vying to see who gets there the quickest—but not too quick.

Kounselor Kenny Schwartz

Top Gas 8.20 index class competitors carry it out to the full quarter mile. Last year, Jeremy Teasley became the first-ever Top Gas champion anywhere in the world who accomplished the feat on a street bike. He’ll have to defend against Kounselor Kenny Schwartz, Bradley Shellhaas, Greg Mallett, Joe “Big” Deck, Jeremy England, Heather Baldi, Mike Wagner and more.

Dustin “Biscuits” Lee

Multi-time dragbike.com BAMF Dustin “Biscuits” Lee has three(!) NHDRO championships to defend—M2.Shocks Crazy 8s, Millennium Trailers Super Comp, and Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET. He’ll be battling against Ron “Ju-Jitsu” Arnold, Ken Selner, Cameron Teasley, Spencer Claycomb, Wes Brown, Stephen Knight and more.

John “Spooky” Markham

Penske Racing Shocks Street Fighter champion John “Spooky” Markham will face many of the same adversaries, and you’ll see Spooky run all those other Sportsman classes as well.

Eric Cooper

Eric Cooper is the MPS Pro ET champ—a class raced by nearly everyone. Garreth Sheppeard, Darrell Carmichael, Jeremy England and Chad Isley are all regular players in Pro ET.

Atlanta will also see NHDRO’s first Grom race, sponsored by Total Racing Motorsports.

Schnitz Racing jumps on board as the Number One Qualifier sponsor, and of course NHDRO wants to thank Rob Bush Motorsports and 190hookup.com for their sponsorship of the event.

Brian and Niki Welch look forward to welcoming all of the NHDRO family members—old and new—to this classic addition to the NHDRO schedule.

NHDRO thanks 190hookup.com , McIntosh/Grayson Machine and FabricationQuicktime Motorsports , M2.Shocks  , Millennium Trailers , Kevin Dennis Insurance , MPS , Penske Racing Shocks , Performance Racing Products , Total Racing Motorsports, Liguori Drag Racing , Kenneth R. Schwartz, attorney at law , CC Powersports , and APE

story and photos by Tim Hailey

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