In the minds or racers and spectators alike, Maryland’s Cecil County Dragway is establishing itself as THE premier stop on the AHDRA All-American motorcycle drag racing circuit. Its smooth and expertly glued and rotated track holds Top Fuel torque and power. Its rural setting on curvy rolling roads is a perfect ride for motorcyclists from the Northeast urban centers. Add in three days of beautiful weather and you have a perfect event.
Last year’s Cecil County Top Fuel winner Tracy Kile faced his Bad Apple Racing teammate “Jimmy Mac” McMillan (featured photo above) in this year’s final, Number one qualifier Kile was slow off the starting line with a .192 to McMillan’s sharp .028 but was catching up quickly before the bike threw a rod right through a piston at about 1000 feet. His 6.488 at only 176 mph shows how much momentum he lost versus McMillan’s winning 6.485 at 219.
“What an incredible weekend,” said McMillin. “Started at the bottom of the list with everything upside down to taking the win. We got to have an all-Bad Apple final, back-to-back wins, and maintained our points lead. Finally got to meet face to face with all of our Bad Apple friends and family that we spend so much time with on social. It was a perfect storm and we were lucky enough to ride it.”
Interesting that Floridian McMilllan should use the “Perfect Storm” analogy so shortly after Hurricane Ian swept through his state. “After a week of clearing fallen trees and resurrecting fencing from hurricane Ian, we were flat out exhausted and decided to skip Fridays test session—a decision that would bite us during qualifying.
“Saturday during warm-up, we see the rear tire is spinning hard—a sign that there’s too much clutch. No problem, couple of turns should fix it—or so we thought.
“Q1 has me looking over at none other than Jason Pridemore. His one of a kind roots supercharged, homemade masterpiece is as awesome to look at as it is to watch run. He also has a little longer routine during the moments before we stage—normally not a problem, but upon start-up, that clutch issue we had was still there. That means, the moment my bike fires, and I pull the brake to stop that tire, it’s getting hot, which can have a range of different unwanted results—everything from simply being pushed through the light to something serious like torching a head. So staging was going to get things hot, and the slightly longer routine just added to it. On the hit, bike was moving towards the wall, and I clicked it off. We found nothing obvious, just a spacer that was not perfectly flat. The clutch cannon was tight so we figured it was a stack issue.
“Q2 and we’re looking over at Jason again. No problem, we’ve got this clutch thing figured out, right? It was a perfect stack, flat spacer, cannon was holding proper during warm up—yeah, no. Fired up and the tire was running again. Here we go again. At the hit, on the bar, nice and straight—drops a hole about half track.
“When I killed the engine the bike stopped—like the bike stopped itself. The clutch was so hot it ground the bike to a stop. It also turned my belt into a melted mess. Yeah, the clutch cooked the primary belt to the basket. Everything had to come off and the basket had to have the melted belt cleaned out of the teeth. Every. Single. Tooth.
“We get the bike serviced and back together only to find a missing head bolt and another head bolt so stretched it could be turned with a finger. So that stopped our Q3 attempt and we were sitting in the last spot, but we’re in the show. The high we were all riding from our win in Sturgis was suddenly gone as we found ourselves on the completely opposite side of everything. It was perfect weather conditions. There was a slight tail wind all day. It was one of the best prepped track surfaces I’ve ever been on. It was a sleepless night.
“Sunday, raceday. Started over. Went over the entire clutch system nice and slow and found the cannon had a small leak and was out of brake fluid. Simple fix. We put a Hail Mary tune in it and headed to the lanes.
“E1 and we’re looking over at number 2 qualifier Billy Jackson, the guy that ran a 6.36 at 223 out of the trailer in Friday testing. Up to this point, my quickest and fastest has been 6.71 at 211, so we knew we had to lean on it if we were to have a chance. An .098 light got us up front early and stayed there long enough to get the win with a 6.46 at 217—my new personal best and enough to take us to the next round.
“E2 and Jason Pridemore and I get after it. Hit the throttle and make a move towards the wall but got it corrected, resulting in an .033 light and a 6.47 at 217. Was good enough to get the win and send us to the finals against my teammate.
“I’ve been waiting to race Tracy in a final since I made my first lap on a Top Fuel Harley. But he’s won this event the last three years in a row and he was on a roll this weekend too, running a 6.27 and several 6.30’s. I was so pumped I didn’t care who won—that is until I put my helmet on. My .028 light got about a bike and a half out on him, but I could feel his bike coming around me. Then his bike expired and I took the stripe!
“Thanks to my crew chief Michael Hopkins, Tracy Kile, Bad Apple Mary, Erin and Frank Capone, Mark, Billie, Jim Garrahan, Frankie, Chopper, Chrissy, Armon Furr, Roger, Jon Wayne, Kirby, Josh Miller, PJOD, Wade, all our support crew, fans and most of all my wife, Stacey Mac. Gotta give a big shout out to the team over at Performance Data Systems for getting us fixed in record time—thank you Todd! Special thanks to the media guys and gals that cover our sport. Thank you for what you do.”
Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel
Kile had a pretty good excuse for his bad light, and we’ll get to that. His Bad Apple Racing teammate (and girlfriend) “Bad Ass Mary” Dangrow made a fantastic nitro debut, finding herself only getting bested by veteran racer Sam White—who came within a hair’s breadth of claiming last year’s Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel championship.
White qualified number one and ended up winning, but Dangrow was right there. In fact, in her first final at her first nitro race, Mary outran White 7.32 at 169 to Sam’s 7.40 at 165. But that .219 light, though, as White’s .112 was his winning moment.
“I haven’t been concentrating on my reaction times yet,” said Mary. “I was happy to be out of the 0.3’s!
“Tracy said that after he saw that I was beat on a holeshot, he didn’t want me to feel bad so he did it too. Apparently he yelled across to Jimmy just before they started up ‘Man, I’m gonna have to let you beat me on a holeshot so my girl doesn’t feel bad.’ I couldn’t believe he actually said that!” That Tracy Kile is a keeper.
“So is Walter Halonski!” finished Dangrow. “He did all my tuning this weekend with no data, my bike doesn’t have a computer.”
White had all kinds of troubles, starting with his primary bike not being ready to race and a whole litany of issues with his old one that had him thinking that the thing wasn’t even going to make it down the track. Instead, the bike made White’s quickest pass ever—a 7.17 at 172 for number one qualifier—then promptly dumped it’s remaining fuel on the ground. The bike then held together beautifully for the win.
Hawaya Racing Nitro Funnybike
Hawaya Racing Nitro Funnybike champion Michael Balch came up on the losing end this time around. Armon Furr started the final round with a .102 to .125 advantage against Balch, and stayed out front for a 7.09 at 173 to 7.11 at 191 win.
“It just goes to show you, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” said Furr. “Michael clearly had the better machine this weekend, we just happened to be in the right place at the right time to get the win.”
Furr claims that any lack of performance from his bike is due to his neglect. “I think she’s mad at me from sitting on stands in the race shop since early April.”
“I made some small changes to my tune-up in between last qualifier and the final round, and I went the wrong way,” said Balch. “That’s drag racing.
“The final was an extremely close race with me and Armon. I absolutely hate to lose, but Armon is such a great racer, his family has such a legacy with drag racing, and I have so much respect for him. It’s not as hard taking a loss from Armon as it is from anyone else, but I’ll get him next time.”
GMS Racing Engines Xtreme Outlaw
Milan Dragway GMS Racing Engines Xtreme Outlaw winner Chargin’ Charley Douglass struggled all weekend with his turbo bike. Nitrous badass Mike Motto showed no mercy on Douglass’ plight, laying down a blistering 7.829 at 175 in the final that bumped him up to third on the all-time gasoline V-Twin, street tire ET list.
“It turned out to be a great weekend for Team GMS Racing,” said Motto, although the broken crankshaft of GMS boss Gregg Dahl may differ.
“It’s been a long year with waiting on specialty parts and testing that didn’t always go well. We have been making a lot of changes and doing a lot of off-the grid testing this past year and it is starting to pay off.
“We have had the bike out twice and we took the ‘W’ twice, so that’s a good start. We have been working hard on the getting our 60 foot down and our mile per hour up, and It’s working! We took the win with a monster run of 7.82 at 175!! Track prep is everything for these monsters, so we hope to have a track as good as Cecil County in Rockingham so we can put the power down and improve on these numbers in a couple weeks.
“I’d like to thank all the guys at GMS Racing. We have an unstoppable team lead by Greg Dahl and his relentless quest for power and speed! Thank you for all the weekends and late nights you dedicated to stay at the shop and work with me on this machine. Thank you Damon Kuskie for always picking up the phone to answer my questions and for your in incredible tuning skills and pursuit of speed! Thank you Michael Balch and all the guys at the shop for all the support and help on and off the track. The entire team at GMS is an unstoppable group of people who all have the same need—SPEED!
“Special thanks to Energy One Clutches, Renegade Fuels, FuelTech, R&D Transmissions, Bandit Super Clutch, and NX Nitrous Express Systems. I think we are the only Harle-Davidson based no-bar bike running those numbers on their nitrous system.”
Zippers Performance Pro Modified
While Charley Douglass’ bike was under-performing in Xtreme Outlaw, it was his dad Gary’s reactions that were underperforming in Zippers Performance Pro Modified. His .182 wasn’t cutting the mustard against John Price’s .028. Price then ran 8.49 at 154 to Douglass’ 8.68 at 139 for the win.
“My glove got caught on the lever and I kinda double clutched when I let the lever go,” said Gary, claiming total responsibility for rider error.
“It has been seven years since Gary and I have run in a final together. He won then, so I owed him one,” said Price, who then echoed the sentiments of many.
“I cannot say enough good things about the Cecil County crew. I don’t think I have ever run on a track this good in air this good. I had a tough time on Saturday trying to figure out a tune-up, but it came around on Sunday when it counted.
“I would like to thank Zippers Performance for sponsoring the race and Pro Mod class. I would also like to thank Harley-Davidson of Frederick Racing and GMS for their help over the years. I dedicate this win to the memory of Steve Allstaedt—a great man, engine builder, and friend.
Pingel Enterprise Modified
Gary Douglass had his complete act together in Pingel Enterprise Modified, taking the tree with an .058 to Kimberly DeShields’ .275. Douglass then ran a 9.11 at 146 to her 9.16 at 144.
“It was a great weekend of racing, hats off to Cecil County Dragway for all the hard work put into the track prep,” said Gary. “The crew did a great job.
“I was number one qualifier in Pro Mod and Mod, won Mod and runner-upped in Pro Mod. The highlight of the weekend was my record pass of 8.86 at 148.87. That may have been one of the quickest and fastest passes on a normally aspirated, 88 inch, Sportster-based Harley. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to back it up to become official. The motor was built by me, tuned by me, and ridden by me—one happy guy. In the Pro Mod final, I had a launch issue and lost to my friend John Price.
“None of what I do could be done without the help of my family. My son Charley is my crew chief, my daughter Jody Simpson makes sure I have my leathers and helmet on at the line. This may seem to be automatic to racers, but us racers with a little age sometimes it’s not. My grandson Jacob Bush, a huge help, getting bikes to the line and back to the pits, also refueling, charging batteries and airing up between rounds. My sister Cindy Folks and brother Lee for all their support.
“Thanks to the AHDRA for having the race and Zippers Performance for sponsoring the race and the Pro Mod class. A special thank you goes out to Energy One Clutches, a Douglass Racing long time sponsor. Thanks to H-D of Lynchburg and Vreelands H-D. SA Racing, which will always be a part of Douglass Racing success. And thanks to Tim Hailey for giving us a platform to show the world what Harley drag racing is all about.
Vreeland’s Harley-Davidson Super Gas
John Terry posted a spectacular .001 light in the Vreeland’s Harley-Davidson Super Gas 9.90 final, but failed himself at the stripe as he ran a breakout .9.81. Winner John McMillin also broke out, but by a considerably less margin with a 9.87 after a .055 reaction time.
Super Pro 10.30
Nate Carnahan had an .070 that was far behind his Super Pro 10.30 final round opponent Cody Hayworth’s sharp .017. But Hayworth was .23 off the number while Carnahan kept it real with a winning 10.38.
“The race at Cecil was awesome, with fantastic weather conditions for fast runs,” said Carnahan. “The Super Pro bike was having some challenging issues due to a weak battery and breaking an exhaust pipe during qualifying. Thanks to Brad Reiss for welding it all back together Saturday night.
“Sunday the bike did very good even with having to keep my little jump box in my jacket to get it started, and was able to pull off a win. We will be ready for Rockingham with both Super Pro and Modified.”
Universal Fleet & Tire 10.90
It was deja vu all over again for Hayworth in Universal Fleet & Tire 10.90. His .015 took the tree slightly against J.P. Hendrzak’s .019, but J.P.’s 11.05 stayed truer to the number than Cody’s 11.12.
Chris Ussery left Loren Potter uncharacteristically stunned at the tree with a .052 advantage, paving the way for his 11.50 index win in a double breakout final that saw both riders obliterating the index.
“This is Bulldog Racing’s third official race with the AHDRA,” said Ussery. “We are excited and hope to finish strong the last three races of the season and make a push on the points as a rookie.
“I would like to thank the Man upstairs, Twitch’s Stitches, Fast Action Racing Team and Lumbee Racing for their part. Thanks to my very good friend Chris Phipps for his help. As always, thanks to Eatmyink for the photos and publicity.”
Pro Outlaw and MTC Pro Comp Outlaw
Pro Outlaw and MTC Pro Comp Outlaw wins both went to Julius DeManss. Julius had enough bike under him in the Pro Comp Outlaw final to ease away from the starting line with a .300 to Dave Miller’s .105, winning with a 9.71 at 135 to Miller’s 11.11 at 104.
“I had fun,” said DeManss. “Met some awesome people and got the bike going in the right direction, running with my fastest pass yet—9.59 at 136 mph.
“But that didn’t happen without its problems. First pass attempt Saturday morning, I broke my wheel, sprocket carrier and axle. Pushed it back to the trailer. Luckily, I had a spare wheel carrier and borrowed an axle from Richard Stamey‘s bike.
“After that, my tuner John Gover was remote tuning the bike and getting it dialed in. I had to put a smaller sprocket on the back to try and control the wheelies from the added power of my new 2.5” exhaust system built by Christopher Bull.
“Sunday right before the Pro Comp outlaw final between me and Dave Miller, my fuel pump quit working. I asked Dave if he would wait, and he said he was there to race and waited for me to swap it out. In the final I came away with the win.
“I want to thank Kerry Lee, Karlee, Jason Davis, Branson May, Geronimo Pratt, and John Hendrzak for all their help throughout the weekend. Wouldn’t have been able to get through the weekend without you guys.
“Also what to thank Wess Brown for a bad ass Motor, John Gover For tuning my MaxxECU all weekend, Michael Beland for awesome parts, tuning and advice. Last but not least, Christopher Bull for making me a bad ass exhaust system and fabricating everything else on the bike.”
V-Twin Powersports Hot Rod Bagger and Super Stock
Geronimo Pratt swept both V-Twin Powersports Hot Rod Bagger and Super Stock. “It was nice to be able to get back on the track,” said Pratt. “Not being able to do any real racing, let alone testing. I really enjoyed myself with a great group of guys.
“Struggled to get down the track Saturday, but once I had my pit crew Sunday, I was able to make a few good passes. The track was great, it seemed that everyone was fighting the track as it got better every pass.”
Jeff Jambo loved the Cecil County starting line so much that he didn’t want to leave, starting Sunday’s Eliminator final round with a .220 light. Opponent Chris Hoppe’s .051 practically assured him a victory in the double breakout race, with Jambo breaking out by a substantial .18. Rhode Island’s Donald Herbert won Eliminator on Saturday.
Hoppe had a good day, also runner-upping in 9.30 index. Winner Richard Hillegrass took the tree in that final by a slim .007, but kept his cool while Hoppe broke out by .035. But then again, sawing the motor in half might also have kept Hillegrass from breaking out.
“I ran a 9:306 for number one qualifier on my bike ‘So Long’,” noted Hillegrass. “Saturday evening I ran the Japanese motorcycle that was testing. At that time my fastest run was a 9:26 and his was a 9:20, so I thought it would be a good race. I never saw him after I left the starting line. I left hard on him and he blew the tire away trying to get moving. I ran my personal best—9.08 at 145 mph.
“Sunday I had a bye run first pass. The other guys I ran I left with them. They were running slick and wheelie bars. When I get to the 60 foot mark and I’m running a slick and bar bike, and if I’m with them, I know I cut a good light so I push them out at the big end. They ran under 9.30, giving me the win.
“The last pass it blew the motor. I pulled the clutch when I felt it locking up at about 140 mph. I’ve been racing this motor for five years, it don’t owe me nothing!”
Junior Dragbikes were split into two categories—Junior and Senior—and the Hines boys won both. Nine year-old Jaden Hines cut a .157 light and ran 10.67 on his 10.40 dial-in to beat Matthew Pier in Junior.
Jaden’s 11 year-old brother Michael Hines Jr. had a close race at the tree with opponent Bradley Cronenberger Jr., with Hines having a .189 to .200 advantage. Michael ran 10.08 on his 9.99 dial for the win.
“Both started out racing at four and a half years old,” said their dad, Michael Hines Sr. “They love it, I can’t kept them off the bikes even in the off-season
“They had a great time at Cecil, with Jaden cutting a few .05 lights Saturday and an .03 on Sunday. Michael had his best-ever ET in the eighth at 10.01 on Saturday. We wanted to break into the 9s but ran a 10.07, 10.0 and a 10.08. We are looking to do better next race.
“Jaden just won Junior Youth class and Junior ET class at the Reading Motorcycle Club Raceway for the 2022 points season, and Michael just won the Senior Youth class. Now both trying are to win the AHDRA points season if they can.”
Next stop on the AHDRA tour is a special increased purse race at North Florida Motorplex in Fountain, Florida. The first eight confirmed Top Fuel riders for this event will have free class entry. Contact Bill or Chrissy Rowe at email@example.com to confirm.
The Rowes can’t wait to welcome the AHDRA family to this new addition to the tour!
AHDRA thanks Cox Double Eagle Harley-Davidson, Vreeland’s Harley-Davidson, Gainesville Harley-Davidson , MTC Engineering , Hawaya Racing, Pingel Enterprise, GMS Racing Engines, Zippers Performance, Horsepower Inc., Vanson Leathers , Universal Fleet & Tire, IHDRA, V-Twin Powersports, Daryl Coffin Motorsports, All-Harley World Shootout, and Racers For Christ.
story and photos by Tim Hailey