MTC Nationals Wrap-up
The Inaugural MTC Nationals at GALOT Motorsports Park in Dunn, NC was by all accounts a hot one for the books. It took place July 15/16, 2017 and was a good first event at GALOT for Man Cup. This was the first time in the six-plus years of Man Cup racing that the sanction, chose to run an event at a 1/8th mile race track. No one was sure how the racers would take to it, but the gamble was worth it at such a beautiful, brand new, facility.
The racers who attended all gave the track and staff high marks and they certainly earned it. But with blistering hot weather in the high 90’s, combined with high humidity for the Friday test session and on Saturday throughout the day, this kept the spectator count low.
On Sunday, with the hot weather front moving away, yielding slightly cooler temps, the Inaugural Man Cup MTC Nationals began in fine form as another successful event. It was a hot one for sure, but great racing prevailed for most of the day.
Racing began on time just after 9AM, EST and at 11AM, the Pingle Top Fuel bikes fired up on cue. The first pair out was Ian King of the UK, vs Mitch Brown piloting the Denis Bradley Top Fuel motorcycle. Rivals to be sure, it was all business when they did their burnouts together in crowd pleasing fashion.
They staged as professional drag racers and went at it fast and furious. The first away was Ian King with a .146 reaction time to the tree and Mitch responded with a .223 to put him behind the curve out of the gate. More importantly at the finish line on the big end where it counts most, it was Ian King taking out Mitch Brown with a 4.15elapsed time for Ian King Vs the 4.50 for Mitch Brown.
The next pair out, Sam Wills Vs Chris Hand, was a match-up between two veteran Top Fuel racers who’ve been looking across the handle bars at one another since the 1970’s. Sam qualified third (3.97) ahead of Chris who qualified 6th with a 4.24 elapsed time. On the starting line, when the lights turned green, Sam was as away first with a .162 RT to Chris’s .189 reaction to the tree. On the big end where it counts most, Sam crossed the finish line first with a 3.93 elapsed time to Chris Hand’s 4.16 effort.
Then Dean Comunal, driving for DJ faced off against #2 qualifier Dave Vantine. The racers had a bit of confusion during the staging process and Dean left the line with a .201 reaction to the tree while Dave Vantine, who was sure he red-lighted from an un-intended movement, sat stunned to see he did not light the red-eye. The result was the same though, a win for Comunal for the round and end of the race day for Dave Vantine.
Larry McBride earned the bye-run and soloed on his pass and it was a good thing. He lit the tire on the launch and had to get out of the throttle right away.
During E-2, Larry and his team were ready for Ian King and they had a great drag race with Larry getting off the line first with a stellar .073 RT to Ian’s excellent .100 RT. They stayed a bike length apart for the 660’ of race track and Larry crossed the finish line stripe first 4.48 to Ian’s 4.50.
The next pair up, Dean Comunal and Sam Wills was a situation where Dean knew he had to tree Sam badly, if he was to have a chance of winning. Dean did his job well, posting a .092 RT to Sam’s .204, but Sam just ran him down, 4.25 to Dean’s 5.72 elapsed time. Dean was forced to lift early when the bike spit off the exhaust system for the second time in as many runs.
In the final round, Sam and Larry lined up as they’ve done so many times before. They’re great friends off the track and respect each other immensely, but they give no quarter once they suit-up. They both went for the jugular on the flicker of green, Larry with a .050 RT to Sam’s .051. Once the bikes took off, it was the Sam Wills show. Sam pulled away from Larry by half-track and stayed a bike length ahead of him all the way to the finish line. Larry has won the first two races of 2017 but the Nitro Conspiracy Team is out to remind him: he’s not alone out there.
In the Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel class, four drag bikes entered the class with Johnny Vickers driving his Terminator bike. Michael Ray chose to sit this one out, so Johnny decided to get in some much needed seat time. He qualified #1 with a 4.71 elapsed time, which for the conditions, with high heat and high humidity, was not a bad number. Preston Bartlett’s 4.92 was next best followed by Mike Trull who posted a 5.68 and Tyler Wilson’s 6.57.
When eliminations began, Johnny Vickers had unexpected Gremlins take over his bike and it sputtered as Tyler Wilson thundered on by for a win in E-1. Preston Bartlett then dispatched Mike Trull with a fine 4.69 to Mike’s 5.59 to set up a great match up for the final. Preston then eliminated Tyler Wilson 4.78 to 5.98 for his first win of 2017.
Preston commented after the race, “We were very pleased with the performance of the bike under the prevailing conditions. This is makes for two R/U’s for us and a win, in three races. We will work hard to keep the momentum going. Walter and I would like to thank Johnny, Steve and Leanne at Hawaya Racing for all their help and support.”
In the Nitrous Express Pro Open class, three racers entered the class. Brunson Grothus was the #1 qualifier with a stout 4.18 at 165 MPH and with an unbalanced ladder, this assured Brunson with an opening round bye run into the finals on Sunday. Other entries Keith Browne (4.64) and George Whitaker (4.43) paired up for Sunday.
Keith Browne on the gorgeous Browne Racing turbocharged, Pro Open Harley posted a 4.82 at 150mph for the round win as George Whitaker was not able to complete his pass in the opening round. In the final match-up between Keith Browne and Brunson Grothus, Keith got Bunson’s attention early as he gated him badly with e .035 RT to Brunson’s .067. The starting line victory for Keith was short lived as Grothus Dragbikes HP just ran down the Harley quickly: 4.19 to 5.48 and Brunson collected the first of his two victories on Sunday.
His second win came in Falicon Pro Mod by running through the field, cutting lights and out running the opposition. Brunson qualified 4th behind Brad McCoy (4.05) Paul Gast (4.06), and Ronnie Smith (4.10). Nine drag bikes entered the competition of Falicon Pro Mod.
In round one, Brunson defeated the always tough Jeff House, 4.13 to 4.18. In round two, Brunson trailered Bad Brad McCoy who had a quicker 4.11 to Brunson’s 4.12 but Brad’s .204 RT was his undoing as Brunson posted a .039 light.
In the final round match up, Grothus Vs Gast, everyone knew it would be close and they were right. Paul Gast put up a good light with a .036 reaction time, but Brunson crushed that with a .014 RT. Once Brunson got out on Paul, there was no catching him. Paul’s 4.09 ET was an excellent run to Brunson’s 4.10, but that RT decided the race, right on the starting line, as Grothus Dragbikes picked up its second win of the weekend.
In APE sponsored Pro Street class of racing, nine motorcycles entered the competition on the weekend. Rodney Williford was the quickest of them all in qualifying with a 4.51 elapsed time, just ahead of Jeremy Teasley’s 4.55 and Jordan Haase’s 4.58. I asked Rodney before the race what he expected from these conditions; “Four fifties for sure, but 40’s are not out of the question.” He was right on the mark.
During E-1 he delivered a 4.45 against Justin Doucet who struggled all weekend. Justin’s 4.67 was just no match for Rodney. In E-2, Rodney had an easy mark against Mark Gargiulo, who broke, but Rodney delivered a jaw dropping 4.47 elapsed time anyway. In the mean time; Jordan Haase and Jeremy Teasley battled it out, toe-to-toe. Jordan’s .088 RT was bettered by JT who responded first with a .065 light. When they were off to the races down track, Teasley’s 4.61 was just what he needed to better Jordan’s 4.62 and it was Teasley Vs Williford for the match up of the day in APE Pro Street.
Jeremy knew he needed to tree Rodney badly to have a chance and the DME sponsored rider produced in Spades. Jeremy dropped a .017 light on Rodney who responded with a .071 RT. As they stormed down the 660’ of GALOT race track, the Williford Racing monster produced a 4.46 elapsed time to the DME 4.64 which was just not enough to overcome Rodney Williford. This win was vital to Rodney’s championship points total with this being race 3 of 5 for the 2017 season. If he can do this again for the next two races, he’s championship bound. But not if JT or a host of other Pro Street racers have their way! In September, the Man Cup event at Rockingham will better define who has the best shot at the championship come November.
In the Shinko/WPS Real Street class, seven motorcycles entered the competition for qualifying. David Stewart was the number one qualifier with a 5.19 elapsed time to lead the way. Spencer Claycomb (5.24), Marcus Hylton (5.27), Johnny Dobrin (5.30), Jason Herron (5.38), Brian Guarino (5.42), and Luis Hornedo (5.73) rounded out the remaining qualifiers.
Dave “Super Dave” Stewart was the man to beat all weekend – and no one did, he cleaned the table. By virtue of his number one qualifier position, Dave earned a single in E-1 and matched up with the very dangerous Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin for E-2. Johnny was off the line first with a .081 RT, to Dave’s .113, but Super Dave was quicker to the stripe; 5.19 to a 5.33 ET. This sent him to the final where Marcus Hylton was waiting for him after he dispatched Brian Guarino in E-1 and Spencer Claycomb in E-2.
The final round in Shinko/WPS Real Street was a nail biter. At the tree only .026 separated them. Dave’s .147 RT struck first followed closely by Hylton’s .173 reaction to the tree. At the finish line where it counts most, Dave’s 5.15 elapsed time was just enough to edge out Marcus Hylton’s 5.19 for Dave to win it all. This is Dave Stewart’s first win in Real Street during the 2017 season and it lands him squarely in the top-ten, in championship points with two races remaining in the season.
In the Sportsman racing classes at the MTC Nationals, on Saturday, Robin Procopio won the MPS Pro ET class on Saturday. In the C&S Custom Street ET class, Spencer Claycomb won it all on Saturday. However, Mother Nature was the spoiler for the Sportsman racers on Sunday.
Late in the afternoon on Sunday of the two day race, a lightening-storm developed and headed within striking distance of GALOT Motorsports Park. The storm was accompanied by heavy rain clouds and the weather radar was just ugly. There was a delay after one rain storm passed, the track was cleared, and the professional classes were completed, but as the lightning strikes approached the track, the call was made to quickly un-plug everything to save the electronics systems. The metal bleachers were vacated as well and the wait began.
As time wore on, the call was made to end the event and address the Sportsman classes relative to payouts and points. It was disappointing for all to be sure, but drag racing, as a sport, is arduous by its very nature: no one ever said it was easy.
The Sportsman #1 Qualifiers – In Grothus Ultra 4.60, Boo Brown, in Star Top Gas Racing, Ted Harvey, in MTC Super Comp, Dustin Lee, in World Wide Bearings Crazy 8’s, Dustin Lee, in Wiseco Street Fighter, DJ Miller. In Vance & Hines T-Twin racing, on Saturday and on Sunday, Vance Houdyshell won it all both days.
The next race for the Man Cup series will be September 23/24 at Rockingham, North Carolina, we here at DRAGBIKE.Com hope to see you there!