Top Fuel Harleys Detonate Norwalk’s Night Under Fire

Although it may be impossible to top the giant, flaming mushroom fireball that rose from Linder’s Lot and dwarfed the Summit Motorsports Park tower in a display that would have made Oppenheimer himself giddy with excitement and shaking with fear, the Top Fuel Harleys did their best. And the giant crowd at the famed Norwalk dragstrip’s annual Night Under Fire heartily approved of the show that the flame-throwing nitro V-Twins put on.

And who could blame them? Side-by-side, wheel-toting, thundering passes drew the fans to the bikes at the end of the night like children to Christmas presents. They sought autographs, a chance to meet and express their awe of these crazed heroes, and even an opportunity to sit on the bikes they just saw in action.

Jay Turner autographing young fans’ t-shirts.

In fact, the very best thing about this incredible night of entertainment is that very moment that the crowd is invited on track for this late night meet and greet. Jay Turner and all the Nitro Harley studs mingled with everybody from John Force to the track’s loyal sportsman points racers. What a great and rare opportunity for someone like the night’s sportsman bike winner Craig Adams to get such star treatment.

Sportsman racers Craig Adams and Ryann Miller in the crowded staging lanes before their final round race during the night show. Craig won.

And there are winners, even though hardly anyone is keeping score and the whole point is a patriotic display of power and pageantry. As for the Top Fuel Harleys, it was Ohio’s own Ryan Peery slapping Louisiana’s Randal Andras .043 to .087 at the tree to take a 6.45 to 6.43 holeshot win.

Ryan Peery at speed

Before the fans rush the track, the final run is the jet track in total darkness, followed by the most impressively choreographed fireworks display of all time. Before all that was a moment of Bill Bader Jr. improvisation that thankfully didn’t go as wrong as it could have—a jet dragster vs. monster truck drag race. The monster truck—which didn’t exactly have an easy time going straight—was given a 10 second head start. Check it all out in this video:

Peery and Andras weren’t the only pair with a great side-by-side pass. This was Chris Smith and Spevco’s Tii Tharpe.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you put the Summit Motorsports Park Night Under Fire on your to-do list.

Everyone loves John Force, especially Summit Motorsports Park owner Bill Bader Jr. Force has been a Night Under Fire star attraction for decades.

Ron Capps and Robert Hight in the Funny Car “final.”
Chris Alwine and Bob Malloy

FuelTech guru David Liguori
It’s Nettie! She and Kurt Johnson kept the track sticky and tight all night long.

Here’s a slideshow of photos and here’s a link to the gallery. If you don’t see yourself, email me and I’ll find you.

story, photos and video by Tim Hailey

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