Man Cup presented by Vance & Hines
29th Annual Retail Fixture Blues City Bash
presented by B&C Trailer Service
Memphis International Raceway
June 3-4, 2017
Memphis Blues City Bash
Written by Tom McCarthy
Man Cup racers to the lanes for the 29th Annual Retail Fixture LLC Blues City Bash, presented by B&C Trailer Service, at Memphis International Raceway
On the weekend of June 3-4, 2017, the Man Cup racing sanction will be rolling into Memphis International Raceway for race number two of its five-race season. This will be a two-day event with Sportsman qualifying and eliminations on both days. Professional classes will have qualifying (3) on Saturday at 11:30AM, 3PM and 7PM. Racers must be on high alert, listening in on the PA and pit broadcast for actual race day adaptations to the racing schedule. Eliminations on Sunday, for all classes are set to begin at 9AM, with Professional classes slated for 11AM, 1:30, 3:30 and a 5PM wrap up.
Memphis International Raceway has a regular Thursday night racing program. Any racers who wish to arrive early on Thursday evening, may purchase a Man Cup wrist band and will also need to buy into the Thursday night MIR event, to enter on Thursday evening. On Friday, gates will open at 9AM and there will be a Man Cup tune & test from 2 to 8 PM. Gates will close and the track will secure by 10PM Friday night.
Sportsman racers will do well to note that Man Cup is offering a new incentive to it’s much-valued sportsman racers at this race (Click here for details). Beginning with the Memphis event, all eight of Man Cup’s sportsman racing classes will have a chance to race for double-points, with an extra cash bonus also tacked on. This will also be in effect for the Galot and the Rockingham events in 2017. The goal of the new bonus points program is to spice up the racing season for the hard working sportsman racers, which are the backbone of Man Cup motorcycle drag racing.
In the Pingel Top Fuel series, Larry McBride will be looking to extend his points lead over Sam Wills. They raced all the way to the wire in 2016 and didn’t decide the class champion till the final event of the year. Larry and his team will be looking for some breathing room if things go their way in Memphis.
In the Hawaya Racing Pro Fuel class all eyes will be on Michael Ray with his every pass, looking for the first ever sub-seven-second elapsed time number to pop up on the scoreboard. Michael’s string of 7-0’s at the season-opening Spring Cup event captured everyone’s attention as he won the season-opening event handily. Can Preston Bartlett, Rocky Jackson, or any of the current Pro Fuel teams stop the freight train team of Johnny Vickers and Michael Ray? In Memphis, clues will surface.
In the Falicon Performance Pro Mod Series, Travis Davis came out swinging hard and won the season-opening event, while also going the distance in P/O. Travis is really ready to rock in 2017. Jeff House is right there with him and Brunson Grothus, Brad McCoy and Paul Gast are right there as well in the rough and tumble Pro Mod class. Any one of over a half-dozen racers can step up and change the equation here so the Memphis race, as race two, of a five race series, will be very important come November. There will be great racing in this class at Memphis.
In Nitrous Express Pro Open class racing, Mark Rendeluk, AKA Mr. Paint, won the opening event at SGMP, but with serious contention from Travis Davis and Jean Gosselin of Canada. The 6.50’s to win of the previous season’s are about to fall in this class. Soon it will take lower ET’s to win in Pro Open. As performance ramps up, reliability will be the key to wins in Pro Open. The Wedman/Rendeluk team has to pick up the pace to stay ahead and they know it. Ambient air temps will not be the only thing rising in Memphis at the Man Cup race. Watch for the MPH marks over 200 and the ET’s to drop at this event.
The APE Pro Street class, going into the Memphis event, has Justin Doucet out front in points after his season-opening win at the Spring Cup. His hard working team felt very validated with that win, for all their seasons of hard work finally paying off. Jeremy Teasley, currently second in points, will really be pressing to gain points on Justin at this event. Their efforts may well be hampered by Williford Racing as both Ehren Litten and Rodney Williford are running record numbers in 2017. Winning Pro Street at Memphis will likely take both record-setting performance and no mistakes to ace this one. While any of the top-ten teams in Pro Street are likely to win the event, it’s the top five who are at the top of the food chain. But one mistake and they are dessert.
In the Shinko/WPS Real Street racing class, Johnny Dobrin won the Spring Cup event with Joey Gladstone showing a strong performance as the runner-up. These two power hitters will face tough competition from Marcus Hylton, Luis Hornedo, Anibal Mercede, Quinn Orand, Wes Brown, and others at Memphis. Real Street is really tough so it’s anyone’s ballgame so far in 2017.
Grothus Ultra 4.60 class racing should be a very lively class. Brunson Grothus won the season opener and his shadow is a win looking to happen. George Babor, currently #2 in points has been rock solid since his emergence in 2016 back into motorcycle drag racing competition. He’s cutting the good lights going rounds and while George has yet to light the win lamp – that has eluded him so far. Brunson is driving great and for George to get past him he’s going to have to step up his game. Other heavies like Joey Gladstone, Bernard Cannon, Mike Chongris, and veteran Tony Mullen will be at Memphis to remind the front runners they are not alone. This is a very fun class to watch as the side-by-side racing can be very impressive!
Star Power Top Gas will be well attended in Memphis. The 8.20 Index class always attracts great racers and great racing. The top ten going into Memphis are Craig Adams, Pete Chongris, Dustin Lee, Scott Saemisch, Sam Hurwitz, Ben Knight, Billy Burkhart Quinn Brumfield, Scott Pitas, and Darryl Perkins. With a large number of entries in Top Gas, this order will change by the end of this event, so it’s anyone’s dash to the championship here. With four races ahead, consistency and no mistakes will be the path to the championship in November. But no-one can afford to miss a race and still be in points contention come November.
In the MTC Engineering Super Comp class, Matt Smith may have won the championship in 2016 over John “Spooky” Markham, but the Canadian Assassin, Mike Konopacki won the season opener to kick off 2017. Mike is about the toughest sportsman racer alive today. If Konopacki chooses to show up at Memphis, and he may, or may not, this class points championship can stay in flux for all five events. SO many tough racers here; Ed Hughes from New England is number two in points with Spencer Claycomb in third place. The top-ten contenders will likely change quite a bit after the Memphis race, so stand by for a game of who’s on first in the points race here.
The World Wide Bearings Crazy 8’s class for 2017 is starting off pretty much where it left off in 2016. Wade Smith won the class last year and he’s leading the pack early on here this season. Clark Proctor is just 18 points behind him in second place and with Memphis being a double points event, Proctor will need to be in the lanes at the next event or Wade will run away with this. Not that anyone could run off with a points championship in two events of a five-race season, but with double points awarded for the next three events – contenders must show up to stay in contention. Wade Smith is always tough and with a points lead, he can run away fast if left unchecked. Round for round, Crazy 8’s is one tough ass class.
In Wiseco Street Fighter racing, Chris Roelse won the season-opening event, with Jerry Rios as the runner-up. Dustin Lee and Ben Knight follow the leaders and they may not follow for long. Both Lee and Knight are out for blood in 2017 and they will be racing the full tilt boogie each time they suit up. In Wiseco Street Fighter class, no one can get comfortable early in the season. Look for the lead to change hands more than once in 2017 – so many power hitters in this class.
In the Vance & Hines V-Twin class, Duane Schmidt edged out Barry Pryer, Sr. by one point to win the 2016 Championship. Starting off 2017, Duane won the season opener, but it’s now Vance Houdyshell, currently in second place with Barry Pryer, Sr. in third place. This is exactly the kind of scenario that makes a double points race event so important for the top five in every sportsman class. Whoever the front runners are after Memphis, they will be in the driver’s seat heading into event three of this five-race season. No one can afford to fall behind this early on.
In the MPS Pro ET class, going into the Memphis race, Rick Eaton is number one with 128 points after winning the season opener, and Dustin Lee with 118 points is right there in his shadow. Dustin Lee, a 2x BAMF winner, is hungry for points in 2017, so no one in any Sportsman class is safe with this shark in the water. Traditionally, with so MANY racers entering Pro ET, it’s anyone’s game until the last race of the season: but beware of sharks.
In the C&S Custom Street ET class; in 2016, 167 ET racers vied for the title. Starting off 2017, It’s easy to see we will likely see that many entries to the class again this season. Early on, after the first race, Pablo Gonzalez is leading the way with William Cruz, Joel Stephens, Clark Proctor, Chad Aquino, Danny Ingram, Brian Dale, Jimmy Heisler, Scott Pitas, and Randy Day, making up the top ten. The Memphis race will juggle these players positions around a bit, so be ready for that. There are a lot of heavyweights not in the top ten just yet, so let the beatings begin and the best racers will always rise to the top.
See you in Memphis.