story by Tim Hailey, photos by Gary Rowe / RaceWorks.com and Tim Hailey
The annual Lee’s Performance Fall Bike Nationals at Rockingham Dragway also serves as the finals for the MIRock Superbike Series, but this year—as always—it was more than just that. A family reunion atmosphere took over in the bright sun at Steve Earwood’s racing facility in North Carolina’s Sand Hills, with dueling cook-offs, hugs, and handclasps all around as the motorcycle drag racing community celebrated the end of another season.
It was also a good time and place to set a national record, and no class saw an all-out assault on the books as did DME Real Street. Jeremy Teasley rolled into Rockingham with his second straight Real Street championship already in hand. But his bike owner/tuner Roger Starrette likes records and the nitrous tanks on the Starrette trailer were extra full for the weekend. And so in Saturday’s second qualifying session, Teasley ran the first Real Street pass quicker than 7.80—a 7.770 at 197.80 mph on Starrette’s nitrous huffing Kawasaki ZX14.
Jeremy Teasley, photo by Gary Rowe / RaceWorks.com
That was a number to celebrate for sure, until the Sunday morning qualifying session when Joey Gladstone unleashed a mind-blowing 7.69 on his little turbocharged Suzuki GSXR1000. But Gladstone failed to back it up and left the bike out of gear when he launched the 1000 in the semi against Super Dave Stewart. Teasley beat Rickey Gadson on a holeshot in the other semi to set up the final with Stewart. Once in the final Jeremy rarely loses, and that was the case this time. Although Ohio racer Teasley lost a couple of Maryland events, he won every round this year at The Rock and took home both ends of the national record this weekend. Gladstone claimed the turbo MPH record.
Teasley wasn’t quite finished with records, recording the first ever 210 mph Orient Express Pro Street pass on Coby Adams’ turbo ’14. But Caleb Holt qualified number 1 with a 7.200 on Trae Heath’s “Wigsplitter,” dominating that team’s ongoing qualifying match-up battle with Eric Hart on the BNL/Chachi Racing Hayabusa. Dimey Eddinger and Greg Wallace packed a mean DME Racing 2-3 punch with 7.204 and 7.28, respectively. HTP Performance builder/tuner Cecil Towner was in Aruba over the weekend, so Ryan Schnitz and the 6 second HTP Hayabusa weren’t at The Rock.
Ken Edwards, photo by Gary Rowe / RaceWorks.com
Holt fought vacuum and boost problems all day, but made his way to the final to face Kenny Edwards, who won last time out in Maryland. Holt’s semifinal pass was riddled with issues, so Edwards had lane choice. That didn’t seem to help at first, as Kenny blew the tire off at the hit. Caleb streaked out to a seemingly uncatchable lead. Edwards ran off in pursuit and, at around 1000 feet, Holt’s plenum popped off. Edwards had a full head of steam up and nipped him by .001 at the finishline.
Rougemont’s Rodney Williford wrapped up his second straight MIRock Pro Street championship (and third MIRock championship overall) at MIR in October, so although he wasn’t pleased when he spun and lost to Edwards in the second round, he was happy with a good year. Edwards, on a roll the second half of the season since abandoning retirement plans, could have used the cancelled August Rockingham race for his own points quest.
Ronnie Procopio, photo by Gary Rowe / RaceWorks.com
Wake Forest homebuilder Ronnie Procopio left nothing on the Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Mod table, qualifying number 1, taking the win and nailing down his record fifth MIRock championship. Ronnie was extremely fortunate this weekend, getting a competition bye in round 1 when Marion Ford couldn’t make the call, then the earned bye to the final against Dave Norris. Dave had lane choice and both bikes were a handful going down the track. Norris let out to keep from crossing the centerline and Procopio collected his fourth win of the year.
Jeremy Teasley on the B-King
We’re not finished with Jeremy Teasley yet. He qualified number 1 in House of Speed Crazy 8s on Wayne Robertson’s B-King, but struggled with the transition to the Crazy 8s .500 tree. Out early in that sportsman class, Teasley was able to focus on the one he entered on a lark—Motorcycletireoutlet.net 5.60. Against all odds, Teasley and the mild streetbike were able to beat the 40 bike field in a class that favors wheelie bar dragbikes or, at the very least, very stretched streetbikes. Teasley beat frequent 5.60 winner Jimmy Shifflett and his Hillbilly Hustler dragbike in the final. Shifflett, however, nailed down his third 5.60 championship.
5.60 champion Jimmy Shifflett
Jevarra “Birdman” Martin was nearly the story of the event. His old school Kawasaki dragbike slipped out from under him as he came out of the waterbox. The Birdman calmly got up, picked up his motorcycle, won the round, and went all the way to the 5.60 semis.
Kyron Drake, photo by Gary Rowe / RaceWorks.com
The Crazy 8s 8.88 index class was won by teenager Kyron Drake, who won when former Real Street champ Keith Thompson stayed glued to the tree. Thompson fried the clutches out in his GSXR getting that far and couldn’t go any further. “Fearsome” Andy Baumbach won both the Crazy 8s and Top Sportsman championships, only the second racer to win two championships in one season after Ronnie Procopio pulled off the double in 2008.
Crazy 8s and Top Sportsman champion “Fearsome” Andy Baumbach
In addition to Teasley, two other guys won two classes at the event—Dale Hamilton in FBR Shop Top Sportsman and Sunday’s Nitrous Express Pro ET and Derek Christensen in Saturday’s Pro ET and the newly added Pro ET Tournament of Champions. The TOC was possibly the best racing of the event. Stacked with every winner from the year, each pairing was like a final round between Big Ballers.
Pennsylvanian Christensen also doubled up at The Rock in last month’s AHDRA race, so his name is practically on the property’s deed. He beat Gerrell Clemons in the TOC and won Saturday’s Pro ET final over Ronnie Reese at the stroke of midnight. Mike Herman Jr won the Street ET Tournament of Champions final round over his father, who redlit.
Mike Herman Jr
Hamilton took Sunday’s Pro ET final over fellow Marylander Kip Green, and won Top Sportsman over Kevin Clarke. “We arrived Thursday night to be ready to make some time shots Friday during the day to try and get a good handle on reaction times and track conditionsm because we were working with alot of changes on both bikes,” said Hamilton. “Instead we ended up guessing on a couple of clutch adjustments on the streetbike’s slider and 2-step that we had been working on through out the week.
Dale Hamilton, photo by Gary Rowe / RaceWorks.com
“Saturday started out great on the dragbike. We qualified 15th with the bike turned down a bit so we wouldn’t have to worry about track conditions later that night when it got real cold and slippery! Turning the bike down was a great idea but we didn’t quite turn it down enough. Saturday night we learned that not only did we need to turn the bike down a bit but also lower the wheelie bars so the front end wasn’t washing out so bad when it set the tire down mid-track!
“With the adjustments we made from Saturday, Sunday was nothing except to concentrate on fundamentals. Sunday morning we made the decision to pull the streetbike that was almost guranteed to spin the tire 3rd or 4th round and double enter the dragbike!” That turned out to be the right decision.
“To win Pro ET and Top Sportsman at the same time on the same bike was a great way to finish off the season!” continued Hamilton. “Thanks to Bonnie Pelphrey, Larry Wilt, Rob Veronie with Thurmont Auto Sales, FBR shop, Shawn Sweeney with CycleConnections, Bates Leathers, and as always Tim Hailey of EatMyInk with the best coverage of the MIRock series!”
Boo Brown beat redlighting Leon Carley in Saturday night’s Schnitz Racing Street ET, with Sunday’s race going to Bristol track manager Ben Knight over two-time-runner-up-on-the-weekend Ronnie Reece.
Boo Brown, photo by Gary Rowe / RaceWorks.com
Ben Knight, photo by Gary Rowe / RaceWorks.com
With so many ET bikes entered in the event, Afterdark Underground started pretty late at midnight Saturday. With several money races, it wasn’t exactly slow but much of the spectator crowd had gone home and folks were too damn cold to get overly excited. Or they left to digest the mid-evening cook-off between grudge racing impresarios Chachi and Possum. Lobster tails, crab legs, marinated and BBQ chicken, steaks, kebobs—all very tasty.
The MIRock Superbike Series family will reconvene at Rockingham Dragway in March for their annual spring reunion and racing festival.
Lee’s Performance Fall Nationals race results
Jeremy Teasley ran 7.770 in Q2 of DME Real Street
As the track came around in Rockingham, so did the oildowns, delaying the program enough to prompt track owner Steve Earwood to postpone the third round of pro class qualifying to Sunday morning. He’s obviously remembering last year when the temperature dropped enough at night to cause him to cancel the profitable Afterdark Underground. But that won’t happen this year. Right now at 9:41pm the third round of Street ET is on track and Underground is waiting in the wings.
Today saw Jeremy Teasley run the first DME Real Street pass quicker than 7.80. Teasley ran a 7.770 at 197.80 mph! Teasley also ran 207 mph on the Adams Performance turbo ZX14, but only managed 7.56. So Caleb Holt is qualified #1 so far with a 7.200 in Orient Express Pro Street on Trae Heath’s “Wigsplitter,” dominating that team’s ongoing battle with Eric Hart on the BNL/Chachi Racing Hayabusa. Dimey Eddinger and Greg Wallace packed a mean DME 2-3 punch with 7.204 and 7.28, respectively. Cecil Towner is in Aruba this weekend, so Ryan Schnitz and the 6 second HTP Performance Hayabusa aren’t here. And Ronnie Procopio sits #1 in the small Mickey Thompson Pro Mod field with a 4.13.
Boo Brown beat redlighting Leon Carley in Saturday night’s Schnitz Racing Street ET, and Derek Christensen—who doubled up at The Rock in last month’s AHDRA race—won Nitrous Express Pro ET over Ronnie Reese at the stroke of midnight.
So Afterdark Underground started pretty damn late. It wasn’t exactly slow, but folks were too damn cold to get too excited. Video later.
And then there was the cook-off between Chachi and Possum. Lobster tails, crab legs, marinated and BBQ chicken, steaks, kebobs—all damn good. I do miss Popapi’s venison though.
We’ll keep experimenting with the live stream and—who knows—it may actually work!
To celebrate this weekend’s MIRock Superbike Series World Finals at Rockingham, EatmyinkTV is running a MIRock marathon, so watch for highlights from this year and the landmark “Rockingham 11/2004” video. In addition, EatmyinkTV will try live streaming of all the action from The Rock! This is just a test, so don’t expect perfection and be sure to refresh your screen often. Eatmyink will be providing full coverage of this huge event with Breaking News updates and everything you expect. If you can’t be at The Rock, be HERE!
Don’t forget, BIGGER purses this weekend at The Rock!
Hot chocolate! November at The Rock can’t come soon enough for these fine ladies
Jeremy Teasley not only will be seeking his third DME Real Street win in as many races this season at Steve Earwood’s Rockingham Dragway, he’ll be trying this weekend at the Lee’s Performance Fall Bike Nationals to win for the eighth time in the last nine events at The Rock. If successful, the Orient, Ohio rider would become the winningest rider in MIRock history in a single class with 12 Real Street victories.
In addition to Real Street, the class Teasley has dominated the last three seasons, the final race in this year’s Mickey Thompson Performance Tires MIRock Superbike Series also will crown champions in Orient Express Pro Street, Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Modified, MotorcycleTireOutlet.net Pro Comp, FBR Shop Top Sportsman, House of Speed Crazy 8s, Nitrous Express Pro ET and Cycle Connection Street ET classes.
Although Rodney Williford of Rougemont, N.C., just wrapped up his second straight MIRock championship in Pro Street, his accomplishment has been largely overshadowed by the singular performance of Ryan Schnitz of Decatur, Ind. Riding Cecil Towner’s nitrous-injected Suzuki Hayabusa, Schnitz was clocked in 6.907 seconds at 203.06 miles per hour on Oct. 2 in a MIRock event at Maryland International Raceway, becoming the first rider to break the 7.00 second barrier on street legal tires. Ironically, just five years ago, it was Williford who was getting the headlines for the first 6 second no-bar bike in Outlaw Pro Street. Despite Schnitz’s heroics, he’s won just one time this season while Williford has ridden his way to the winners’ circle on three occasions to secure his third overall MIRock title.
While Williford, Winston-Salem’s Dimey Eddinger, Kenneth Edwards of Sebring, Fla., and Spring Open winner Bud Yoder of Flint, Mich., duke it out in Pro Street, Teasley is heavily favored in Real Street and Ronnie Procopio of Raleigh is a prohibitive choice in Pro Mod.
Due to weather that forced the cancellation of last Augusts’ Schnitz Summer Sizzler at The Rock, Earwood has enhanced the winners’ shares of the weekend purse with $3,000 earmarked for the champions in Pro Street and Pro Mod, $1,500 for the Real Street winner and $1,750 for the rider who prevails in Top Sportsman. Furthermore, the Crazy 8’s winner will earn $1,250 with $1,000 to the Pro Comp winner, $1,750 to the Pro ET winner and $750 to the Street ET champion.
As a special bonus, the Tournament of Champions, a field made up of winners from all Pro ET and Street ET races this season, will be contested on Saturday evening. Each champion in the Pro ET and Street ET Tournament of Champions will collect a $500 bonus, a champion’s “tree” trophy, champion’s jacket and gold card good for free entry during the 2012 Mickey Thompson MIRock Super Series events.
Saturday’s program will conclude with the Coopers Performance “Afterdark Underground” event featuring no-holds-barred grudge racing until midnight.
August Cancellation Means Bigger November Purses at The Rock
That’s right, before you know it we’ll all be beggin’ to stay warm like Nanu and Cranky
story and photos by Tim Hailey
After originally rescheduling the rained-out Schnitz Summer Sizzler for Labor Day weekend, Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood has thought better about that decision and cancelled the event altogether. “With any re-scheduled event, you have to consider the track schedule and the convenience of the racer,” said Earwood. “In this case, rescheduling for the holiday weekend just didn’t fit for most of those vying for MIRock championships. So after consulting with my partners in the series, Jason and Royce Miller, it was decided that it was in the best interest of the racer and the series to focus on our two remaining events, the Fast by Gast Fall Nationals at Maryland International Raceway, Oct. 1-2, and the Lee’s Performance Fall Bike Nationals, at The Rock, Nov. 5-6.”
Considered but discarded was to rerun the rained out event on the weekend of the November race, but time constraints, especially with the addition of the Tournament of Champions for Pro ET and ET racers, would not have allowed the completion of two full events in one weekend. “We looked at every option out there, including running three MIRock events in a six-week span, and that just wasn’t feasible for our racers,” Earwood said. “As far as running a ‘double’ in November, the Lee’s race has historically been one of the largest in the series and there just isn’t time to stuff four days of racing into two or three days. But recognizing the dedication of our MIRock racers, I am adding to the winner’s share of the purse in all categories at the Lee’s Fall Bike Nationals.”
Earwood announced that the winner’s shares in the Mickey Thompson Pro Mod and Orient Express Pro Street classes would be bumped to $3,000 while DME Real Street will pay $1,500, Top Sportsman $1,750 and Motorcycle Tire Outlet 5.60 to $1,000. Furthermore, the House of Speed Crazy 8’s winner will earn $1,250 (minimum of 40 bikes) with $1,750 to the Nitrous Express Pro ET winner (minimum of 60 bikes) and the Cycle Connection Street ET winner $750.
These ballers plan on takin’ home all the winnings in November
The Tournament of Champions, a field made up of winners from all Pro ET and Street ET races this season, will be contested on Saturday evening after the completion of Saturday’s Pro ET and Street ET races. Each champion in the Pro ET and Street ET Tournament of Champions will collect a $500 bonus, a champions “tree” trophy, champion’s jacket and gold card good for free entry during the 2012 Mickey Thompson MIRock Super Series events!
Rain Postpones The Rock!
Savvy Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood called the 16th annual Schnitz Summer Sizzler early, postponing the event to Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3-4. “We had our crew attempting to dry the track early Saturday,” said Earwood. “But a band of showers from South Carolina kept coming. With a forecast of 70% chance of rain on Sunday, we felt it was in the best interest of our competitors to go ahead and postpone the event to get them on the road early rather than have them hang around all day and simply disregard the inevitable.”
Is Teasley still King of The Rock?
Sure, Jeremy Teasley’s lost the last two DME Real Street races, one to Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin (ultimate winner of both events) and one to Rickey “Superstar” Gadson. But both of those Teasley losses occurred at Maryland International Raceway. Can Dobrin, Gadson, or anybody else beat the Kawasaki rider on the high traction quarter mile at Rockingham Dragway, site of this weekend’s (August 12-14) 16th annual Schnitz Racing Summer Sizzler? Ohio 20-year old Teasley will be bidding for his eighth win in the last nine MIRock events contested at The Rock, a streak that began with his victory in the 2009 Summer Sizzler. His record over the last eight Rockingham events is 28-1 for an unconscious winning percentage of 96.5! In addition to Dobrin and Gadson, expect Joey “Wrestler” Gladstone, Mark “Punch Your Ticket” Billiter, Coby “Big Boy Can Ride” Adams and others to take their shots at Teasley in Real Street.
Teasley is also back in the Orient Express Pro Street game, now aboard the stealthy black Adams Performance turbo ZX14 instead of the lime nitrous bike the team has been racing the last two years. But reigning champ Rodney Williford ain’t scared. Rodney’s won three races already this year and excels in the August heat in this, the hottest class in the series.
JT making a lap on the badass Adams Performance/RS Motorsports ZX14 grudge bike
Teasley, Teasley, Teasley…if you’re tired of reading his name then do something about it and beat him! Has Jeremy ever lost a grudge race? Seriously, when was the last grudge loss for JT? I’m sure he’ll be taking on all comers in Afterdark Underground this weekend at The Rock, so dust off your Bates, put the motor back in your 12 foot long ‘Busa and come down out of those Sand Hills to take Jeremy’s money!
can this high roller beat JT?
One place the kid has been beatable is House of Speed Crazy 8s, but Wiley Wayne Robertson has his B-King all set up for Jeremy to take home that hardware this weekend too. Will it happen?
“Jeremy’s back theya in the lanes on muh B-King and he’s ready to kick yuh ass!” says HTP loyalist Wayne Robertson
And why hasn’t someone put the lightweight jockey on their Mickey Thompson Pro Mod yet? This may be the weekend for that too, as all the Pro Mods come straight down from the Richmond ADRL race for a special Sunday qualifying session. FBR Shop Top Sportsman, Motorcycleoutlet.net 5.60, Nitrous Express Pro ET and Schnitz Racing Street ET
The Summer Sizzler begins Friday with a private test session at 10 am followed by open testing at 6 pm. Pro qualifying will be the Saturday feature with sessions at 1, 4 and 7 pm followed by Afterdark Underground and eliminations and final Pro Mod qualifying on Sunday. Adult admission is $20 per day although a Saturday-Sunday combo ticket will be offered for $35. An all-inclusive three-day ticket is $45. VIP parking inside the track is $10 although free parking is available in the track’s main lot.
Sunday Pro Mod Qualifying at The Rock
MIRock Pro Mod points leader Ronnie Procopio
Rockingham Dragway has added a special qualifying session for Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Mod motorcycles during the sixteenth annual Schnitz Racing Summer Sizzler, Aug. 12-14. In addition to pro qualifying sessions at 1 pm, 4 pm and 7 pm on Saturday, Pro Mods will have a “last chance” to qualify for the MIRock Superbike Series event at noon on Sunday. This extra session gives racers competing in the ADRL event at nearby Virginia Motorsports Park on Saturday a chance to double-up on the weekend and take home the MIRock purse on Sunday.
Furthermore, qualified riders in Orient Express Pro Street and DME Real Street will get one Sunday shakedown run at 9:30 am, along with a shakedown run for the Pro Mods. Eliminations begin at 12 noon on Sunday for Pro Street and Real Street, with first round of Pro Mod run in conjunction with round 2 of the Pro’s at approximately 2 pm.
Ronnie Procopio of Wake Forest is the MIRock Pro Mod points leader with Hughesville, Maryland’s Robbie Hunnicutt in second place. Three-time winner Procopio was runner-up to Hunnicutt at the most recent MIRock Rockingham event, the FBR Shop Bike Week Nationals held in May. Procopio won the Honda-Suzuki of Sanford Spring Bike Open and two events at Maryland International Raceway.
Robbie Hunnicutt, above, beat longtime Legion of Doom compadre Ronnie Procopio in the Pro Mod final last May
The Schnitz Summer Sizzler is the sixth event in the eight race, $400,000 Mickey Thompson MIRock Super Bike Series. In addition to a full day of practice on Friday and two days of some of the most intense motorcycle drag racing on the planet, the event also features Rockingham Dragway’s popular Afterdark Underground with DJ music and run-what-you-brung grudge racing under the lights.
Saturday’s 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. pro qualifying sessions will set the stage for two hours of Afterdark Underground. Pro eliminations will begin at 12 noon Sunday.
Adult tickets are $10 Friday, $20 Saturday and Sunday although two-and-three-day tickets are available at a discount. Children 6-11 are $5 daily; under six free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Parking is free in Rockingham’s main lot although VIP parking is $10 each day.