Dragway 42 was able to show itself better during July’s Man Cup race than their first race of the year—the NHDRO opener on a very green, freshly ground track.
I went to the Man Cup race mainly to shoot Top Fuel. My NHDRO pics at 42 turned out pretty good, so I wanted some more of that action.
Top Fuel started out pretty tentative, with Larry McBride especially concerned about the track’s relatively short shutdown. Friday’s tests and Saturday’s first round showed no 5s on 42’s scoreboards.
David Vantine led Q2 with a 6.07—using every inch of the shutdown to do so.
But Larry came around in Q3 after watching Vantine run a 6.04 at 238 miles per hour. With Steve McBride and the team setting the bike up, Larry ran a stirring 5.88 at 241.
McBride had the first round bye on raceday. Dragway 42’s earthen amphitheater setting really showed off the raspy, lopey sound of McBride’s Fuel car style fuel system. “It sounds raggedy, doesn’t it?” said Steve McBride.
Vantine faced the beautiful blown Harley of Jason Pridemore. Pridemore’s one-off piece is a work-in-progress, and his best pass of the weekend was against Vantine. Jason hung right with Dave ‘til half track before letting off, dropping a cylinder, or something and Vantine advanced with a 5.99.
I will have a feature on Pridemore’s bike soon.
Chris Hand rode the Redneck Express past Mitch Brown on Dennis Bradley’s bike in round 1, but Hand couldn’t put up a winning fight against McBride in the semi.
On the other side of the ladder, Vantine had a bye to the final—a final with McBride that will be run in Galot after a late-day rainout.
The NHDRO May race also rained out at Dragway 42, but that was due to a massive oildown. Brian Welch’s “Let’s get this race done and get on the road” attitude would have completed this event.
Pro Mod will also finish in Galot, with Dragway 42 event sponsor Paul Gast racing Ashley Owens in the final. Gast advanced past number one qualifier Eric McKinney on a holeshot.
Pro Open will finish in Valdosta, as Arizonan Vince Testa won’t be traveling East until then. He’ll race Mike Chongris in the final.
Pro Fuel saw many great side-by-side qualifying passes between entrants Sam White and Preston Bartlett. White—on the yellow Hawaya bike made famous by Michael Ray—took the win in a great round 1 final.
In addition to shooting Top Fuel, I was looking forward to shooting the DME bikes, except DME skipped the race. “We didn’t want to end up racing ourselves again,” said Dimey Eddinger, who faced that exact same scenario at the last Man Cup race in Rockingham.
So only Brant Rossi showed up with the old green RCC Turbo bike. Jeremy Teasley seized the opportunity and entered his Kawasaki ZX14 grudge bike. While Rossi never succeeded in dialing his turbo Suzuki Hayabusa down to suit the track (definitely NOT wearing Pro Street style prep), Teasley handily won with his ’14.
Teasley had done a great job of cutting gas throughout qualifying in order to not reveal what his grudge bike runs. But he ran it out pretty close in the final, perhaps not realizing that Rossi was about 1000 feet behind at the stripe.
Spencer Claycomb had it even easier. He was the ONLY Real Street entrant.
It was great seeing Ohio sportsman racers from the old days, especially Bruce Sauer and his family, Mark Coulson, Roger Burt, the Adams Family, and others. Coulson won Super Comp, and any sportsman classes that didn’t finish just split purse and points.
story and photos by Tim Hailey