Wild Day of McClure Nationals at The Rock

I took Saturday to skip NHRA qualifying and go to Rockingham Dragway for the AMRA Jim McClure Memorial All-Harley Nitro World Finals. My camera found some grinding crashes, nitro explosions, and sweet new bikes—including Jay Turner’s new ProCharged Top Fuel Harley.

NHRA Top Fuel Harley championship runner-up Doug Vancil, making his first appearance at Rockingham Dragway in almost 20 years, beat the man to whom he lost the championship—Spevco’s Tii Tharpe—en route to an impressive victory in the Ray Price Top Fuel Challenge.

Doug Vancil found 6.20 performance and stayed there

Riding a new bike (owned by Steve Horne and apparently built for Doug Horne) tuned by Mike Romine—the man he beat to win the IHRA Autumn Nationals at Rockingham in 2000—Vancil took out defending event champion Armon Furr of Orangeburg, S.C., in the opening round before stopping newly-crowned NHRA champ Tharpe in the semifinals and Ashville’s Tracy Kile in the final.

Tii Tharpe rode Turner’s injected bike “Lagartha,” noting a different seating position and overall different feel. “The rider needs to learn how to do his job and stop screwing up,” the Spevco president said about his 7th place, 6.90 qualifying effort. Tharpe’s championship-winning “Maddy” has been retired, it’s 14 year old chassis enjoying a well-earned retirement out to stud.

It was the first Rockingham win for the two-time IHRA Nitro Harley World Champion since he prevailed in the 2001 Autumn Nationals.  Although he qualified only third, Vancil posted the quickest time in each round of eliminations – 6.226 in the first, a best-of-the-race 6.216 against Tharpe in the semis and 6.251 to cover Kile in the money round.

While he didn’t advance beyond the second round, Jay “Bulldog” Turner debuted his new supercharged nitro Harley in spectacular fashion by qualifying No. 1 at 6.407 seconds but a broken transmission proved to be unrepairable before second round which gave Kile a bye to the final.

Jay Turner’s new ProCharged bike is off to a good start. A whiner while idling and a piece of art sitting still, the bike is qualified #1 it’s first time out at #AMRA in Rockingham with a 6.407 at 204 mph. “I clicked it off 5 seconds into the run,” said Jay, who sat third round out.

RAY PRICE TOP FUEL CHALLENGE

Qualifying – 1. Jay Turner, Julian, 6.407, 204.63 mph; 2. Chris Smith, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 6.414, 217.32 mph; 3. Doug Vancil, Cedar Crest, N.M., 6.433, 216.83 mph; 4. Tracy Kile, Ashville, 6.624, 216.55 mph; 5. Bill “Billy Jack” Jackson, Honey Brook, Pa., 6.778, 212.66 mph; 6. Armon Furr, Orangeburg, S.C., 6.826, 169.64 mph; 7. Tii Tharpe, East Bend, 6.901, 188.52 mph; 8. Jim  Doyle, Chicopee, Mass., 9.804, 125.02 mph

Chris Smith

Round 1 – Tracy Kile, Ashville, .053, 6.674, 217.56 mph, def. Bill “Billy Jack” Jackson, Honey Brook, Pa., .036, 24.567, 28.60 mph; Tii Tharpe, East Bend, .044, 6.446, 210.41 mph, def. Chris Smith, Murfreesboro, Tenn., .055, 6.526, 22008 mph; Doug Vancil, Cedar Crest, N.M., .011, 6.226, 228.69 mph, def. Armon Furr, Orangeburg, S.C., .022, 11.711, 76.27 mph; Jay Turner, Julian, .140, 6.356, 223.10 mph, def. Jim Doyle, Chicopee, Mass., .119, 13.417, 62.40 mph.

Semifinals – Kile, .491, 6.523, 209.79 mph, def. Turner, no time; Vancil, .021, 6.216, 230.41 mph, def. Tharpe, .036, 6.562, 218.02 mph.

FINAL – Doug Vancil, Cedar Crest, N.M., .034, 6.251, 225.48 mph, def. Tracy Kile, Ashville, .051, 6.614, 201.04 mph.

Other winners included Sam White of Chapin, S.C., in Pro Fuel. The South Carolina rider ultimately beat Walnut Cove’s Tyler Wilson in the final round.  In addition to his Pro Fuel victory, White took a Nitro Funny Bike to the semifinals before losing to No. 1 qualifier Ryan Perry of Milford, Ohio.

Tyler Wilson

PRO FUEL

Qualifying – 1. Sam White, Chapin, S.C., 7.242, 174.19 mph; 2. Jim Martin, Palestine, Ill., 7.349, 171.38 mph; 3. Janette Thornley, Statesville, 7.352, 170.00 mph; 4. Gary Stroud, Valparaiso, Ind., 7.426, 169.02 mph; 5. Tyler Wilson, Walnut Cove, 7.434, 172.30 mph; 6. Kirby Apathy, Deland, Fla., 7.535, 175.27 mph; 7. Jay Beasley, Winston-Salem, 7.589, 166.83 mph; 8. Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., 7.696, 166.95 mph

Round 1 – Jay Beasley, Winston-Salem, .113, 7.642, 167.53 mph, def. Kirby Apathy, Deland, Fla., .195, 21.844, no speed; Jim Martin, Palestine, Ill., .213, 7.565, 166.79 mph, def. Waalter Halonski, High Springs, Fla., .121, 7.884, 170.49 mph; Janette Thornley, Statesville, .154, 7.519, 166.50 mph, def. John McConnell, Darlington, Md., .131, 7.749, 146.11 mph; Gary Stroud, Valparaiso, Ind., .221, 7.256, 173.16 mph, def. Dennis Waldron, .200, 7.603, 167.26 mph; Tyler Wilson, Walnut Cove, .122, 7.481, 171.60 mph, def. Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., .144, 7.608, 167.16 mph; Sam White, Chapin, S.C., .054, 7.197, 174.91 mph, def. David Larson, Topeka, Kan., no time.

Round 2 – Wilson, .126, 7.392, 173.41 mph, def. Martin, .191, 7.782, 162.20 mph; Stroud, .201, 7.346, 172.28 mph, def. Thornley, .478, 12.427, 67.89 mph;  White, .111, 7.228, 174.62 mph, def. Beasley, .102, 7.580, 168.09 mph

Semifinals – Wilson, .102, 7.409, 174.10 mph, def. Stroud, .153, 7.367, 172.74 mph; White, bye.

FINAL – Sam White, Chapin, S.C., .075, 7.226, 174.14 mph, def. Tyler Wilson, Walnut Cove, .065, 8.342, 112.04 mph.

Rich Vreeland of Bloomsburg, Pa., won Nitro Funny Bike, Shane Pendergrast of Murfreesboro, Tenn., won Pro Mod, Stephane Crete of Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada won Outlaw Street and Greg Frost of Omaha, Nev., won Pro Gas.

Rich Vreeland

PRO MOD

Round 1 – John Price, Emmitsburg, Md., .023, 8.466, 155.90 mph, def. Gary Douglass, Staunton, Va., .013, 8.587, 154.40 mph; Shane Pendergrast, Murfreesboro, Tenn., .070, 8.586, 152.49 mph, def. Richard Boone, Mint Hill, .359, 8.881, 148.87 mph; Billy Doherty, Lake Charles, La., bye.

Semifinals – Doherty, .035, 8.457, 155.15 mph, def. Price, .090, 8.498, 155.06 mph; Pendergrast, bye.

FINAL – Shane Pendergrast, Murfreesboro, Tenn., .099, 8.398, 157.34 mph, def. Billy Doherty, Lake Charles, La., no time.

Pro Fuel racer David Larson barrel-rolling down the Rockingham tarmac. Larson got up and seemed to be mostly OK. Click on the pic for an animated GIF
Russ Sowers sprayed some serious fire and sparks. “That’s the engine builder’s (Sowers) fault, not the tuner’s,” said tuner Don “DJ” Johnson

OUTLAW STREET – Stephane Crete, Victoriaville, Quebec, .065, 8.160, 166.91 mph, def. Dan Dennis, Barron, Wis., .213, 8.667, 162.59 mph.

PRO GAS – Greg Frost, Omaha, Neb., .084, 8.646, 156.10 mph, def. Don Ratliff, Syracuse, Ind., .052, 8.831, 148.79 mph.

HOT STREET – Dave “Paco” Cartwright, Evansville, Ind., .125, 9.055, 147.83 mph, def. John Toth, Twilight, Pa., foul.

MODIFIED – Gary Douglass, Staunton, Va., .287, 9.088, 146.23 mph, def. Troy Young, Writz, Va., .032, 9.430, 139.69 mph.

SUPER STREET – Charley Douglass, Staunton, Va., .061, 9.423, 138.53 mph, def. Troy Young, Writz, Va., .148, 9.351, 139.79 mph.

DRESSERS – Paul Vicory, New Carlisle, Ohio, .146, 9.580, 142.22 mph, def. David Dennick, Eighty-Four, Pa., .116, 10.123, 140.24 mph

ELIMINATOR – Joe Peterson, Wilmington, .045, 9.826 on a 9.900, 131.19 mph, def. Ryan Thibant, foul

SUPER COMP (8.90 target) – Don Ratliff, Syracuse, Ind., .083, 8.844, 142.64 mph, def. Freddy Frazier, Sanford, foul.

9.30 – Ken Strauss, Thompson, Ohio, .025, 9.368, 141.98 mph, def. David Doremus, Loveland, Ohio, .082, 9.288 breakout, 137.85 mph.

SUPER GAS (9.90 target) – Chris Hoppe, Pennington, N.J., .035, 9.920, 110.09 mph, def. Bob Maier, Windermere, Fla., .085, 9.916, 133.99 mph.1030 – Nate Carnahan, Powhatan, Va., .043, 10.529, 119.84 mph, def. Butch Lowe, Rutledge, Ga., .195, 10.413, 127.05 mph

1090 – Rick Miller, Pensacola, Fla., .090, 10.904, 116.85 mph, def. Brian Conley, Country Club Hills, Ill., .128, 10.893 breakout, 118.01 mph.1150 – Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., .005, 11.589, 106.97 mph, def. Darrell Smith, Indianapolis, Ind., .232, 11.315 breakout, 100.28 mph.

Bryan Croteu

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