Indy Drag Racing
Million dollar racecars circle the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at speeds in excess of 220 miles per hour, their turbocharged, seven hundred horsepower motors propelling drivers encased in amazingly protective carbon fiber capsules in cars weighing 1580 pounds.
Six miles to the west at Lucas Oil Raceway, NHDRO’s McIntosh Machine & Fabrication Pro Street bikes also make seven hundred horsepower, weighing in at 650 pounds with riders, protected only by their helmets and leathers, slingshotting street legal, no-bar, wild-wheelieing missiles to speeds over 220 mph.
No one did that better this past weekend than three-time MIRock Pro Street champion Rodney Williford, setting low elapsed time of 6.726 and record-shattering mph of 224.21 at NHDRO’s May Bike Fest—the second race of 2017 for America’s fastest growing motorcycle drag racing series.
Perfect spring weather and a quarter mile prepped by Kyle Lang set the stage for Williford’s blistering performance. The North Carolina rider qualified number one and raced past Jake Henderson, Ryan Hable, and Gabe Frederick before the final with Brownsburg’s Justin Doucet.
“I can easily say we have less than 10% of the cost of an Indy Car in our bike, ” Williford wryly noted. “But maybe more if I count the hours and hours of testing and R&D.”
Quicktime Motorsports’ Rudy Sanzottera took out Muncie winner Doug Gall in round one before falling to Doucet in two.
Sanzottera went to the final of HMH Motorsports Pro Open on the beautiful no-bar Suzuki Hayabusa campaigned last year by his late father Marty, AKA Pops. Rudy put a .006 light on champion Chris Cutsinger in round one, then outlasted Cutsinger’s big tire ‘Busa Funnybike to the stripe. “It blew the intake boots off the head and lost all its boost, ” Cutsinger said about his bike’s mechanical failure. “Rudy and I said Pops did it for Rudy.”
But when it comes to big tires, Manufacturers Cup Pro Open champion Mark Rendeluk has his nitrous-huffing PXM bike thoroughly dialed in. Rendeluk ceded the tree to Sanzottera in the final but powered by for the win.
All of the Quicktime Motorsports/Lindeman Performance Pro Ultra 4.60 semifinalists were from Tennessee, with Clarksville’s Smokin’ Joe Rodney taking the final round win over champion Chase Morris. The champ took the tree with an .008 light but gave it up with a 4.66 to Rodney’s 4.62.
Number one qualifier Jeff Jones lost to Fast Times teammate Morris in the semis. Muncie winner Dan McCarten struggled with a hot weather tune-up and lost to fellow Illini Bob Foster in E1.
Iowa’s Bruce Damewood scored the G&G Metal Spinners Top Gas win in only the second race on his brand new ‘Busa dragbike. Damewood faced Jeremy Teasley on a ‘Busa streetbike in the final, where Teasley blundered with an uncharacteristic -.055 redlight. “I have no idea why that happened, ” said Jeremy, who uses a two-step at the tree. “It did that to me on Saturday too—a -.045 out of nowhere. I don’t have it 100% right and need a few more test sessions with this new set-up.”
Top Gas number one qualifier John “Spooky” Markham lost to Teasley in the quarterfinals—the same round that saw Muncie winner Heather Baldi fall to Damewood.
Markham took his second straight Route 21 Street Fighter win when Kenny Smith redlit in the final. Number one qualifier Tyler Beckelheimer lost early.
Wes Brown—yet another racer from the Volunteer State—slapped a .009 light on dragbike.com BAMF Dustin “Biscuits” Lee and won a double breakout M2.Shocks Crazy 8s final. Number one qualifier Tom Cooper went out early.
Lee—also from Tennessee—came back around and won Millennium Trailers Super Comp, beating Ben “Expanding My Resume” Knight by nailing his own .009 light in another double breakout final. Number one qualifier Ron “Jiu-Jitsu” Arnold was trailered by Lee in the Quarterfinals.
The Super Comp win was payback for Lee after Knight beat him in Saturday’s Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET final. Lee also won Friday night’s impromptu “Running of the Bulls” heavy hitters race.
Ben’s brother Stephen Knight won Street ET on Sunday, beating Spencer Claycomb despite Spencer’s better light.
Perennial Top Gas champion Greg Mallett beat his old buddy Scott Kauffman in Sunday’s MPS Pro ET final. Both had -.009 redlights, but Kauffman’s came first (and losing) via the slower dial-in on his beautiful bike, formerly run by Craig Treble. Adding salt to the wound, Kauffman ran dead-on his dial.
Bradley Shellhaas won Saturday’s Pro ET race, beating Spooky’s son Dalton Markham in the final.
APE/Trac King Grudge saw Teasley hot-lapping DME’s brand-new-and-beautiful “Kool Aid” bike. But Teasley also lost the night’s biggest money race, riding Ben Knight’s Top Gas bike against grudge specialist Money Mike Studebaker on his white OSR ‘Busa. Flint, Michigan’s Matthew “SlimP” Paris took a big win over St’ Louis’ Johnny Jackson.
Brian and Niki Welch are looking forward to seeing the NHDRO family back in action at Gateway Motorsports Park just east of St. Louis for June 9-11’s Motorcycle Madness.