WELCOME TO "THE ROCK"  ROCKINGHAM DRAGWAY - ROCKINGHAM, N.C.
 
 
SMITH PROOF THAT DINOSAURS STILL REIGN IN RACING
‘Tricky Rickie’ Aims for PDRA Title in September Return to Rockingham
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – The original dinosaurs were the earth’s dominant terrestrial vertebrates for 135 million years. Rickie Smith’s reign has been somewhat shorter, but the man considered drag racing’s last real dinosaur is no less formidable a presence in his realm than T-Rex was in his.

The 61-year-old veteran from King, N.C., is old school in every sense. In an era of specialization, “Tricky Rickie” remains the essential Renaissance Man of the Mechanical Age.

Forty years into one of the most remarkable careers in motor racing, Smith still is the auto racing equivalent of a one-man band.

While rivals fly in for events from California to Carolina, Smith still drives his own truck-and-trailer, handles all the set-up and maintenance work on his nitrous-boosted Pro Modified and, most importantly, on any given weekend, still provides driving lessons to his mostly younger adversaries.

That’s why, when the PDRA tour returns to Rockingham Dragway Sept. 10-12 for Dragstock XII, Smith will be vying for yet another series title. Outside of John Force, no one has won more major drag racing championships than Smith and while Force’s 16 titles all came in the Funny Car class, Smith has reigned over three distinctly different disciplines.

After winning two IHRA Super Modified Championship and five titles in the IHRA’s Mountain Motor Pro Stock class, the former high school football standout and wrestler turned his attention to the NHRA tour where he has won the last two Pro Modified championships.

He can add a PDRA title this week simply by doing what he usually does on the quarter mile track he considers home – and that is simply win.

Smith’s first Rockingham win came in 1977. He most recent was a hole shot victory over reigning PDRA series champion Jason Harris of Pittsboro, N.C., last April.

Although Smith’s mechanical skills, especially in chassis set-up, have kept him at the forefront for more than four decades, it is his driving that is the stuff of legend.

“The first year I went into Pro Stock, we could run pretty fast (but) I was getting kind of wore out,” Smith said. “(The other drivers) knew how to play it. I had run Super Modified and won two championships but when I went into the pros, it was a little bit meaner crowd up there.

“Either I had to get mean or get out,” he said. “I figured with my background of high-school football and everything else, I wasn’t about to lay down. So I just got mean with ‘em.”

Despite his reputation, Smith never has taken success for granted. He knows how much work it requires and he admits that he is kind of surprised himself that he still is willing to make the necessary physical and emotional commitment every year.

“The last race you win could be your last one,” he said. “It’s that tough. Things have got to line up for you. It seems like out of the four rounds, you’ve got to get a lucky round. There’s a lot of good-running cars out there that hardly ever win a race.”

Smith’s IDG Camaro obviously is not one of them.

A Carolina racing Hall of Fame member and a legend among Mountain Motor aficionados, Smith has toyed with retirement the last two seasons, ever since he and son Matt became the first father-and-son world champions after prevailing in 2013 in the NHRA Pro Modified and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes, respectively.

In fact, in an emotional moment after clinching his first NHRA title, Smith officially announced his retirement, eliciting a sigh of relief from within the category that quickly turned to anguish once the Carolinian decided he still had some gas in his tank.

Indeed, since he opted to focus on the NHRA series in 2011, Smith has won eight races, two championships, never finished lower than fourth and posted the quickest and fastest quarter mile numbers in history for a nitrous car – 5.778 and 250.13 miles per hour at Atlanta, Ga., in 2014.

Now, he has applied that laser focus to a PDRA series in which he has gone to the finals in three of the last five events to take over the point lead, a performance that once again his proven that in some arenas, at least, dinosaurs still rule.

Photo: Gary Rowe / RockinghamDragway.com
‘SPIDERMAN,’ WILLIFORD AND TEASLEY AMONG MOTORCYCLE WINNERS
McBride’s Top Fuel Harley Runs 5.823, 234.74 at DME Summer Sizzler

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Heavily-favored Larry “Spiderman” McBride set both ends of the Rockingham Dragway Top Fuel motorcycle record during qualifying before waltzing to a Sunday victory in the DME Summer Sizzler, part of the MOTEC In Control Manufacturers Cup motorcycle series.

McBride, who directed his supercharged Harley-Davidson down the quarter mile course in 5.823 seconds at 234.74 miles per hour, joined a bevy of other familiar names in the Sunday winners’ circle including past MIRock Series champions Rodney Williford, Joey Gladstone, Jeremy Teasley and Ronald Procopio.

Williford, the veteran rider from Rougemont, N.C., set new world records of 6.831 seconds and 214.14 mph and then beat Gladstone in the final round to win the Pro Street title. Gladstone claimed his hardware in the Pro Open class in which he beat Semora’s Keith Browne in the money round.

Procopio won the Pro Modified title and Teasley prevailed in his specialty, Real Street, after making the quickest and fastest run in class history (7.662 seconds, 191.13 mph) to qualify No. 1.

There were no multiple winners on the weekend although Gladstone, the veteran from Lewes, Del., and Boo Brown, the Potomac Falls, Va., rider who is a Rockingham favorite, came close. Brown won Top Gas before losing in the final round of the Worldwide Bearing 8.88 competition to Ben Knight of Beavercreek, Ohio.

Other winners were former All-Harley world champion Rocky Jackson of Youngsville, La., who prevailed in Pro Fuel; Bobby Lovingood of Leland, N.C., the winner in Grothus 4.60; Kevin Adams of Brunswick, Ohio, the Super Comp champion; and Wes Brown of Crossville, Tenn., who claimed top honors in the Wiseco Street Fighter class.

Rick Eaton of Venice, Fla., and Scottie Keller of Mooresville were the Pro ET winners; C.J. Fair of Lexington, S.C., and Pablo Gonzalez of Carolina, Puerto Rico, took the Street ET events; and Jonathan Cole of Brandon, Fla., and Robert Salemme of Seffner, Fla., topped all rivals to win in the V-Twin class.

The race attracted an international field with Gonzalez, countryman Ricardo Ularte and Aruba’s Terence Angela representing the Caribbean, Top Fuel rider Chris Hannam of Leeds, England, representing the United Kingdom and Chisa Yokota of Kawasaki, Japan, representing the Far East.

Two feature events remain on The Rock’s 2015 motorcycle calendar. The inaugural Don’t Judge the Grudge Classic is Sept. 4-5 followed on Oct. 16-18 by the 24th annual AMRA Jim McClure Nitro Nationals.

****

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Results from the DME Summer Sizzler at Rockingham Dragway, part of the MOTEC In Control Manufacturers Cup Motorcycle Series (results include reaction time, track time and finish line speed).

TOP FUEL
Qualifying – 1. Larry McBride, Newport News, Va., 5.823, 234.74 mph; 2. Sam Wills, Oklahoma City, Okla., 6.105, 222.91 mph; 3. Chris Hand, Nauvod, Ala., 6.107, 195.17 mph; 4. Sam White, Columbia, S.C., 7.458, 186.30 mph.
Round 1 – Chris Hand, Nauvod, Ala., .146, 6.359, 174.12 mph, def. Sam White, Columbia, S.C., .134, 8.991, 102.42 mph; Sam Wills, Oklahoma City, Okla., .191, 6.195, 219.97 mph, def. Chris Hannam, Leeds, England, .617, 11.524, 80.94 mph; Larry McBride, Newport News, Va., bye.
Semifinals – McBride, .001, 7.183, 124.44 mph, def. Hand, foul; Wills, bye.
FINAL – Larry McBride, Newport News, Va., .057, 6.029, 234.82 mph, def. Sam Wills, Oklahoma City, Okla., .085, 6.12, 222.62 mph.

PRO STREET
Qualifying – 1. Rodney Williford, Rougemont, N.C., 6.831, 214.14 mph; 2. Joey Gladstone, Lewes, Del., 6.866, 212.26 mph; 3. Terence Angela, Aruba, 7.051, 208.39 mph; 4. Mark Paquette, Howell, Mich., 7.055, 165.72 mph; 5. Ryan Hable, Roberts, Wis., 7.346, 200.89 mph; 6. Chris Edwards, Bessemer City, N.C., 7.350, 193.93 mph; 7. Jason Dunigan, Jackson, Mich., 7.436, 194.30 mph; 8. Bud Yoder, Burton, Mich., 7.535, 153.63 mph.
Round 1 – Ehren Litten, Louisburg, N.C., .075, 7.099, 205.38 mph, def. Chris Edwards, Bessemer City, N.C., .150, 13.504, 60.10 mph; Jason Dunigan, Jackson, Mich., .091, 7.116, 204.01 mph, def. Bud Yoder, Burton, Mich., .004, 7.865, 134.18 mph; Ryan Hable, Roberts, Wis., .123, 7.208, 203.28 mph, def. “Super Dave” Steward, Mooresville, N.C., .099, 7.388, 194.52 mph; Mark Paquette, Howell, Mich., .095, 6.950, 179.33 mph, def. Unknown #1688, no time; Terence Angela, Aruba, .079, 7.102, 206.01 mph, def. Rudy Sanzottera, St. Peters, Mo., .134, 14.430, 76.65 mph; Joey Gladstone, Lewes, Del., .019, 6.878, 215.00 mph, def. Rocky Tinker, Harrisburg, N.C., .111, 7.646, 168.77 mph; Rodney Williford, Rougemont, N.C., bye.
Round 2 – Angela, .050, 7.100, 209.14 mph, def. Litten, .060, 8.949, 98.69 mph; Hable, .025, 7.206, 202.18 mph, def. Paquette, .060, 9.029, 132.11 mph; Williford, .070, 6.858, 215.31 mph, def. Dunigan, .067, 7.183, 203.61 mph; Gladstone, bye.
Semifinals – Williford, .100, 6.965, 213.64 mph, def. Hable, .091, 7.511, 202.06 mph; Gladstone, .041, 7.040, 213.50 mph, def. Angela, foul.
FINAL – Rodney Williford, Rougemont, N.C., .054, 6.906, 212.49 mph, def. Joey Gladstone, Lewes, Del., .037, 8.071, 176.88 mph.

REAL STREET
Qualifying – 1. Jeremy Teasley, Orient, Ohio, 7.662, 191.13 mph; 2. Chris Moore, Greer, S.C., 7.746, 189.18 mph; 3. Joey Gladstone, Lewes, Del., 7.805, 173.07 mph; 4. Anibal Merced, Harrisburg, N.C., 7.849, 184.12 mph.
Round 1 – Jeremy Teasley, Orient, Oho, bye; Chris Moore, Greer, S.C., .146, 7.774, 189.31 mph, def. Jason Herron, Lexington, S.C., .114, 9.784, 129.37 mph; Troy D. Jackson, League City, Texas, .210, 8.235, 182.75 mph, def. Roger Starrette, North Augusta, S.C., .347, 13.308, 58.08 mph; Anibal Merced, Harrisburg, N.C., .143, 7.895, 180.21 mph, def. Richard Diggs, Frederick, Md., .054, 8.100, 179.49 mph; Joey Gladstone, Lewes, Del., .059, 7.818, 168.70 mph, def. Marcus Hylton, Eden, N.C., .073, 8.664, 148.20 mph.
Round 2 – Moore, bye; Teasley, .010, 7.764, 186.56 mph, def. Jackson, .096, 8.131, 176.63 mph; Merced, .103, 7.732, 178.90 mph, def. Gladstone, .044, 7.830, 168.43 mph.
Semifinals – Teasley, .059, 7.769, 186.12 mph, def. Moore, foul; Merced, bye.
FINAL – Jeremy Teasley, Orient, Ohio, .029, 7.896, 184.35 mph, def. Anibal Merced, Harrisburg, N.C., .146, 8.231, 167.86 mph.

PRO MODIFIED
Qualifying – 1. Ronald Procopio, Raleigh, N.C., 4.116, 170.90 mph; 2. Paul Gast, Grand Island, N.Y., 4.124, 173.27 mph; 3. Richard Gadson, Kathleen, Ga., 4.125, 180.67 mph; 4. Brunson Grothus, Bettendorf, Iowa, 4.206, 170.97 mph.
Round 1 – Ronald Procopio, Raleigh, N.C, bye; Brunson Grothus, Bettendorf, Iowa, .092, 4.148, 171.36 mph, def. Leshon Norman, Cleveland, Ohio, no time; Connell Smith, Lenox, Ga., .400, 4.390, 139.46 mph, def. Gerald Smith, Port Wentworth, Ga., foul; Paul Gast, Grand Island, N.Y., .049, 4.174, 171.12 mph, def. Mike Thyen, Sherrills Ford, N.C., .085, 5.195, 121.69 mph; Richard Gadson, Kathleen, Ga., .028, 4.146, 173.52 mph, def. Terry Wynn, Jacksonville, Fla., .057, 5.411, 87.01 mph.
Round 2 – Procopio, .114, 4.628, 116.58 mph, def. Connell Smith, .056, 4.961, 104.70 mph; Grothus, .033, 4.144, 169.89 mph, def. Gadson, .011, 4.239, 167.45 mph; Gast, bye.
Semifinals – Grothus, bye; Procopio, .006, 4.091, 169.10 mph, def. Gast, .046, 4.142, 173.43 mph.
FINAL – Ronald Procopio, Raleigh, N.C., .037, 4.074, 172.21 mph, def. Brunson Grothus, Bettendorf, Iowa, .012, 4.168, 170.69 mph.

PRO FUEL
Qualifying – 1. Randy Jackson, Youngsville, La., 7.263, 173.54 mph; 2. Jay Beasley, Winston-Salem, N.C., 7.477, 164.79 mph; 3. Kirby Apathy, Deland, Fla., 7.497, 174.98 mph; 4. Tyler Wilson, Walnut Grove, N.C., 7.883, 137.11 mph.
Semifinals – Jay Beasley, Winston-Salem, N.C., .096, 7.499, 149.98 mph, def. Kirby Apathy, Deland, Fla., .206, 7.882, 123.60 mph; Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., .135, 7.331, 165.11 mph, def. Tyler Wilson, Walnut Cove, N.C., .084, 7.811, 133.49 mph.
FINAL – Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., .117, 7.426, 168.16 mph, def. Jay Beasley, Winston-Salem, N.C., .093, 7.689, 157.23 mph.

PRO OPEN
Qualifying – 1. Mark Rendeluk, Oklahoma City, Okla., 6.641, 196.36 mph; 2. Keith Browne, Semora, N.C., 6.951, 191.78 mph; 3. John Chant, St. Charles, Mo., 7.275, 185.74 mph; 4. Joey Gladstone, Lewes, Del., 7.377, 145.28 mph.
Round 1 – Joey Gladstone, Lewes, Del., .014, 6.601, 217.04 mph, def. Rob Girard, Ware, Mass., .047, 8.125, 195.76 mph; Mark Rendeluk, Oklahoma City, Okla., .087, 7.309, 191.76 mph, def. Unknown #1435, .100, 9.422, 120.29 mph; John Chant, St. Charles, Mo., .566, 7.374, 184.5 mph, def. Charlies Theiss, Malvern, Ohio, broke; Keith Browne, Semora, N.C., .083, 7.026, 181.84 mph, def. Dennis Powell, Auburndale, Fla., .186, 7.731, 169.68 mph.
Semifinals – Browne, .082, 7.221, 175.11 mph, def. Chant, .183, 7.415, 181.23 mph; Gladstone, .026, 6.607, 215.13 mph, def. Rendeluk, .025, 6.658, 195.87 mph.
FINAL – Joey Gladstone, Lewes, Del., .035, 6.656, 210.87 mph, def. Keith Browne, Semora, N.C., .078, 7.273, 164.95 mph.

GROTHUS DRAGBIKE 4.60 (4.600 target)
Round 2 – Les Stimac, Mt. Morris, Mich., .061, 4.858, 136.15 mph, def. Barry Harvey, Winston-Salem, N.C., .146, 5.404, 124.36 mph; Cameron Shelton, Hardy, Va., .124, 4.716, 127.69 mph, def. Joey Gladstone, Lewes, Del., .179, 4.759, 147.68 mph; Bobby Lovingood, Leland, N.C., bye.
Semifinals – Lovingood, .021, 4.644, 139.00 mph, def. Shelton, .074, 4.784, 123.91 mph; Stimac, bye.
FINAL – Bobby Lovingood, Leland, N.C., .185, 4.795, 117.72 mph, def. Les Stimac, Mt. Morris, Mich., .367, 4.847, 150.50 mph.

TOP GAS (8.200 target)
Qualifying – 1. Ronald Dernigan, Milton, Fla., 8.210; 2. Don Rogers, Asheville, N.C., 8.228; 3. Joe Lemons, Stedman, N.C., 8.230; 4. Scott Saemisile, Dacula, Ga., 8.233; 5. Ricardo Ularte, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 8.256; 6. Alan Fields, Climax, N.C., 8.257; 7. Ron Morris, Madison, Tenn., 8.260; 8. Dalton Perry, Dublin, Ga., 8.268.
Round 3 – Boo Brown, Potomac Falls, Va., .048, 8.295. 141.83 mph, def. Ricardo Ularte, San Juan, Puerto Rico, .033, 8.387, 145.88 mph; Ron Morris, Madison, Tenn., .022, 8.266, 151.44 mph, def. Dalton Perry, Dublin, Ga., .042, 8.269, 149.73 mph; Ronald Jernigan, Milton, Fla., bye.
Semifinals – Morris, .011, 8.223, 147.88 mph, def. Jernigan, .057, 8.290, 149.50 mph; Brown, bye.
FINAL – Boo Brown, Potomac Falls, Va., .009, 8.281, 139.86 mph, def. Ron Morris, Madison, Tenn., .017, 8.302, 149.73 mph.

WORLDWIDE BEARING 8.88 (8.880 target)
Round 3 – Wes Brown, Crossville, Tenn., .046, 8.899, 137.98 mph, def. Jeremy Teasley, Orient, Ohio, 8.960, 139.53 mph; Ben Knight, Beavercreek, Ohio, .076, 8.883, 147.63 mph, def. Larry Zientek, Abilene, Texas, .073, 8.866 breakout, 147.65 mph; Wade Smith, Dublin, Ga., .072, 8.918, 142.48 mph, def. Angelo Pettiford, Philadelphia, Pa., .098, 8.978, 152.24 mph; Boo Brown, Potomac Falls, Va., .034, 8.940, 148.62 mph, def. Michael Daddio, Chicago, Ill., .032, 8.973, 150.25 mph.
Semifinals – Knight, .015, 8.890, 150.66 mph, def. Brown, .034, 8.914, 137.92 mph; Brown, no time, def. Smith, no time.
FINAL – Ben Knight, Beavercreek, Ohio, .044, 9.226, 123.58 mph, def. Boo Brown, Potomac Falls, Va., .016, 9.439, 148.01 mph.

SUPER COMP (8.900 target)
Round 4 – Richard Gadson, Kathleen, Ga., .038, 8.889, 152.16 mph, def. Ron Arnold, Bowling Green, Ky., .066, 8.867 breakout, 149.51 mph; Kevin Adams, Brunswick, Ohio, .066, 9.025, 147.07 mph, def. Curtis Griggs Jr., Monroe, N.C., .057, 9.056, 144.75 mph; Ben Knight, Beavercreek, Ohio, bye.
Semifinals – Gadson, .034, 8.910, 148.51 mph, def. Knight, .050, 8.924, 137.71 mph; Adams, bye.
FINAL – Kevin Adams, Brunswick, Ohio, .030, 9.086, 144.16 mph, def. Richard Gadson, Kathleen, Ga., .044, 9.132, 151.85 mph.

WISECO STREET FIGHTER (9.500 target)
Round 4 – Wes Brown, Crossville, Tenn., bye; Wade Smith, Dublin, Ga., .029, 9.606, 128.08 mph, def. Jerry Turner, Bluff City, Tenn., .083, 9.705, 112.56 mph; Ron Arnold, Bowling Green, Ky., .068, 9.468, 140.77 mph, def. Pablo Gonzalez, Carolina, Puerto Rico, .044, 9.467 breakout, 139.30 mph.
Semifinals – Brown, .067, 9.521, 124.93 mph, def. Smith, .090, 9.514, 131.00 mph; Arnold, bye.
FINAL – Wes Brown, Crossville, Tenn., NA, 9.428, 142.75 mph, def. Ron Arnold, Bowling Green, Ky., foul.

SUNDAY PRO ET
Round 4 – Rick Eaton, Venice, Fla., .022, 9.372 on a 9.270, 123.32 mph, def. Scott Delong, Citra, Fla., .060, 9.006 on an 8.890, 141.49 mph; Shawn Welch, Waynesboro, Ga., .084, 8.874 on an 8.750, 137.65 mph, def. Randy Day, Anderson, S.C., .123, 8.978 on an 8.860, 147.88 mph; John Marlham, Bowling Green, Ky., .047, 8.951 on an 8.910, 135.25 mph, def. Terry Troyer, Sarasota, Fla., .026, 9.094 on a 9.010, 135.02 mph; Scottie Keller, Mooresville, N.C., bye.
Semifinals – Welch, .001, 8.800 on an 8.770, 133.62 mph, def. Marlham, .028, 8.915 breakout on an 8.920, 141.18 mph; Eaton, .037, 9.306 on a 9.270, 126.40 mph, def. Keller, .075, 8.875 breakout on an 8.890, 147.55 mph.
FINAL – Rick Eaton, Venice, Fla., .038, 9.230 on a 9.270, 139.07 mph, def. Shawn Welch, Waynesboro, Ga., .017, 8.737 breakout on an 8.790, 135.78 mph.

SUNDAY STREET ET
Round 5 – Barry Pryer, Chesapeake, Va., bye; Spencer Claycomb, Maryville, Tenn., .044, 8.949 on an 8.910, 134.59 mph, def. Roy Johnson, Keystone Heights, Fla., .078, 9.507 breakout on a 9.530, 142.43 mph; Pablo Gonzalez, Carolina, Puerto Rico, .031, 9.553 on a 9.500, 133.88 mph, def. John Marlham, Bowling Green, Ky., .064, 9.855 on a 9.750, 120.67 mph; Dusty Brazel, Norman Park, Ga., .057, 8.960 on an 8.820, 149.18 mph, def. Boo Brown, Potomac Falls, Va., foul.
Semifinals – Brazel, .153, 8.847 on an 8.820, 150.85 mph, def. Claycomb, foul; Gonzalez, .006, 9.510 on a 9.500, 136.08 mph, def. Pryer, .014, 9.046 on a 9.000, 144.63 mph.
FINAL – Pablo Gonzalez, Carolina, Puerto Rico, .035, 9.475 on a 9.450, 135.21 mph, def. Dusty Brazel, Norman Park, Ga., .101, 8.823 on an 8.800, 144.94 mph.

SUNDAY V-TWIN
Round 4 – Jonathan Cole, Brandon, Fla., .051, 11.011 on a 10.990, 112.50 mph, def. Steve Brumfield, Stantonsburg, N.C., .078, 10.928 on a 10.900, 118.62 mph; Larry Guy, Sarasota, Fla., .032, 11.002 on a 10.980, 115.57 mph, def. Clint Riley, Greenville, Fla., .074, 11.073 on an 11.040, 117.01 mph; Bill Collier, Orlando, Fla., bye.
Semifinals – Cole, .049, 11.643 on a 10.990, 95.42 mph, def. Collier, .602, 11.477 on an 11.150, 117.47 mph; Guy, bye.
FINAL – Jonathan Cole, Brandon, Fla., .008, 11.121 on a 10.990, 111.97 mph, def. Larry Guy, Sarasota, Fla., .106, 11.015 on a 10.950, 116.99 mph.

SATURDAY PRO ET
Round 4 – Brunson Glothus, Bettendorf, Iowa, .038, 8.553 on an 8.530, 142.24 mph, def. Boo Brown, Potomac Falls, Va., .001, 8.977 on an 8.900, 151.70 mph; John Marlham, Bowling Green, Ky., .076, 8.875 on an 8.830, 137.92 mph, def. Lou David, Sarasota, Fla., .062, 9.375 breakout on a 9.390, 135.24 mph; Terry Troyer, Sarasota, Fla., .034, 9.015 on an 8.980, 137.23 mph, def. Shawn Welch, Waynesboro, Ga., .046, 8.785 on an 8.720, 138.10 mph; Scottie Keller, Mooresville, N.C., bye.
Semifinals – Keller, .028, 8.810 on an 8.810, 150.06 mph, def. Glothus, .042, 8.543 on an 8.510, 135.77 mph; Marlham, .010, 8.850 on an 8.840, 139.93 mph, def. Troyer, .029, 9.004 on an 8.980, 132.75 mph.
FINAL – Scottie Keller, Mooresville, N.C., .102, 8.833 on an 8.810, 143.40 mph, def. John Marlham, Bowling Green, Ky., .047, 8.939 on an 8.840, 136.21 mph.

SATURDAY STREET ET
Round 5 – C.J. Fair, Lexington, S.C., .007, 8.871 on an 8.800, 152.47 mph, def. Luke Selmker, Dayton, Ohio, foul; Chisa Yokota, Kawasaki, Japan, .180, 9.525 on a 9.000, 144.15 mph, def. Jimmy “Cha” Heisler, Woodstock, Ga., .060, 11.225 on a 10.560, 123.89 mph; Scottie Keller, Mooresville, N.C., .093, 9.493 on a 9.510, 135.97 mph, def. Ron Arnold, NA, .141, 9.344 breakout on a 9.370, 141.22 mph; West Brown, Crossville, Tenn., bye.
Semifinals – Fair, .105, 8.766 on an 8.800, 151.81 mph, def. Brown, foul; Yokota, .007, 9.087 on a 9.100, 150.20 mph, def. Keller, .059, 9.470 breakout on a 9.510, 139.54 mph.
FINAL – C.J. Fair, Lexington, S.C., .031, 8.886 on an 8.800, 146.72 mph, def. Chisa Yokota, Kawasaki, Japan, .056, 9.115 on a 9.050, 151.76 mph.

SATURDAY V-TWIN
Round 3 – Clint Riley, Greenville, Fla., .223, 10.844 on a 10.940, 122.79 mph, def. Mark Crockett, Moneta, Va., foul; Robert Salemme, Seffner, Fla., .116, 11.006 on a 10.970, 118.59 mph, def. Scot Wood, Goldsboro, N.C., foul; Michael McManus, Cape Coral, Fla., .085, 10.218 on a 9.990, 127.64 mph, def. Manny Carrsquillo, Clearwater, Fla., .328, 9.829 breakout on a 9.840, 130.29 mph; Mike Trull, Griffin, Ga., .146, 10.376 on a 10.500, 128.69 mph, def. Vance Houdyshezl, Vero Beach, Fla., foul.
Semifinals – McManus, .087, 10.184 on a 10.030, 127.21 mph, def. Trull, no time; Salemme, .013, 11.135 on a 10.970, 116.87 mph, def. Riley, .216, 10.889 breakout on a 10.900, 121.18 mph.
FINAL – Robert Salemme, Seffner, Fla., .005, 11.058 on a 10.970, 117.10 mph, def. Michael McManus, Cape Coral, Fla., foul.
McCORMICK, HUCKS, SMITH AND DRIGGERS WIN TRUE STREET RACE AT THE ROCK

ROCKINGHAM – Chris McCormack of Laurinburg took top honors Saturday at Rockingham Dragway winning the Power Adder Class in the True Street Drag program. Other winners were Ron Hucks in the Non-power Adder Class, Holly Smith in the Ladies Class and Gene Driggers in the Truck Class.

McCormack, driving a 2014 Mustang GT, defeated Frank Estro of Charlotte in the final round. McCormack had the fastest time of the night for the True Street cars, turning the quarter-mile in 11.115 seconds at 126.32 mph. Elapsed times are not shown during street drags and usually not announced.

Ron Hucks of Laurinburg beat Trey Sikes of Rockingham in the Non-power adder class in his 2004 Pontiac GTO, Holley Smith of Rockingham won the Ladies Class in a Pontiac G-8 and Gene Driggers, also of Rockingham, won the all-truck class in a 2006 Jeep Commander.

The next True Street Drag event is scheduled for Saturday, September 19.
DESPITE RUMORS, JIM MCCLURE NITRO NATIONALS ALIVE AND WELL

All-Harley Motorcycle Classic Set for 24th Rockingham Renewal

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – What does Mark Twain, author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, share with Rockingham Dragway’s biggest motorcycle race? Both were reported to be deceased at a time when they were very much alive.

After his obituary prematurely was posted in his hometown newspaper, Twain, one of America’s greatest authors and humorists, is alleged to have quipped that “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

It’s a line that Rockingham owner Steve Earwood temporarily has adopted as his own after erroneous internet reports that the 24th annual Jim McClure Nitro Nationals, a staple of the fall racing schedule, had been canceled.

In fact, the American Motorcycle Racing Association event is very much alive and well and, as it has for the last 23 years, again will feature the world’s quickest and fastest Harley Davidson motorcycles including the 240 mile an hour Top Fuel Harleys on which the late Jim McClure was a many-time champion.

“The big problem with the internet is that people seem to think that anything that gets on there is accurate,” Earwood said. “Unfortunately, that isn’t true. While we all depend on the web for information, unscrupulous types can, have and will use it to further their own agendas.”

The bottom line, Earwood said, is that the Jim McClure Nitro Nationals, victimized by rain a year ago after veteran Tommy Grimes of Clemmons, N.C., had taken Harley Hall of Famer Ray Price’s hybrid to the No. 1 qualifying position, is expected this year to be especially significant as it is the last point race in the AMRA series.

“There’s always been a big interest in drag racing motorcycles here in the Carolinas,” Earwood said. “So we’ve tried to work closely with the motorcycle community to make Rockingham a destination track for two-wheel competition and for someone to try and undermine those efforts quite frankly ticks me off.

“Hopefully, we can get the word out that the race is on,” Earwood said, “but you know there are going to be people who saw the first item about the cancelation who won’t see this one. That means that we’re probably going to be answering questions about it right up to the time we fire the first Top Fuel bike.”

The race, to be contested Oct. 16-18, is one of the anchors of a busy fall schedule that also includes the Dieffenbach Classic Rock Super Chevy Show presented by Richmond County Tourism and the Roush-Yates Fall Civil Wars.

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Qualifying results from last fall’s 23rd annual Jim McClure All-Harley Nitro Nationals at Rockingham Dragway:

TOP FUEL – 1. Tommy Grimes, Clemmons, N.C., 6.330, 223.21 mph; 2. Ricky “Sharkey” House, Humble, Texas, 6.691, 198.99 mph; 3. Joey Sternotti, Blackwood, N.J., 6.766, 194.16 mph; 4. Robert Stewart, Grovester, Va., 6.973, 161.69 mph; 5. Peter Geiss, Huntington, N.J., 7.252, 157.61 mph; 6. Takeshi Shigematsu, Ehime, Japan, 7.438, 191.21 mph; 7. Jim Doyle, Springfield, Mass., 8.071, 141.52 mph; 8. Larry Stanley, Norton, Ohio, 12.249, 70.74 mph.

NITRO FUNNY BIKE – 1. Jim Doyle, Springfield, Mass, 6.746, 182.53 mph; 2. Rich Vreeland, Humble, Texas, 6.887, 195.73 mph; 3. Jake Stordeur, Loveland, Ohio, 6.921, 192.71 mph; 4. Armon Furr, Orangeburg, S.C., 7.050, 192.66 mph; 5. Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., 8.729, 116.16 mph; 6. Ben Fukushima, Harrisonburg, Va., 12.596, 104.57 mph.

PRO FUEL – 1. Kevin Garrow, Philadelphia, Pa., 7.374, 165.50 mph; 2. Dale Nilles, Wilkesboro, N.C., 7.417, 163.37 mph; 3. Rebel Glover, Holly Hill,Fla., 7.478, 164.01 mph; 4. Billy Jackson, Honeybrook, Pa., 7.491, 162.41 mph; 5. Janette Thornley, Mocksville, N.C., 7.514, 161.57 mph; 6. Frank Capone, Wakefield, Md., 7.570, 161.98 mph; 7. Mike Beland, West Palm Beach, Fla., 7.589, 165.29 mph; 8. Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., 7.723, 167.66 mph.
DESIST, AMAN, JOHNSON CLAIM 2015 TITLES AT THE ROCK
Repeat Championships for All Three in Season Shortened by Weather

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Newly-crowned Rockingham Dragway track champions Lee Desist, Eric Aman and Noah Johnson will get early starts on their title defenses Nov. 7-8 when The Rock plays host to the final event in the 2015 Hoosier Tires Carolina Coalition bracket series.

The race not only will crown Coalition champions, it will give Rockingham regulars a chance to get a head start on next season since it will award points applying toward 2016 track titles.

Because of rainouts and scheduling conflicts, the 2015 championship season was cut short with those leading the points at mid-season declared champions.

Desist, the veteran from Fayetteville, ran away with the 2015 track title in Top ET, outdistancing Charles Doss of Statesville and Dana Goins of Red Springs ;to claim his second straight championship.

Aman, too, won a second track championship although it was the Clinton driver’s first since claiming Footbrake honors in 2006. He beat Fayetteville’s Andrew Davis, Riegelwood’s Mark Soles and Clinton’s Wayne Leary for the title.

It also was a second straight title for Johnson. The Fayetteville resident beat a quartet of girls for the Jr. Dragster championship: Youngsville’s Kaylee Love, Kernersville’s Ashleigh Stafford, Kimberly Dawn Messer of Four Oaks and Brittney Dial of Maxton.

Final 2015 Rockingham Dragway track championship points:

TOP ET – 1. Lee Desist, Fayetteville, 30; 2. Charles Doss, Statesville, 24; 3. Dana Goins, Red Springs, 1972 Chevy Nova, 22; 4. Jake Woodrins, Lenoir, 19; 5. Mike Woodrins, Lenoir, 9.

FOOTBRAKE – 1. Eric Aman, Clinton, 35; 2. Andrew Davis, Fayetteville, 26; 3. Mark Soles, Riegelwood, 1988 Ford Mustang, 24; 4. Wayne Leary, Clinton, 1993 Ford Mustang, 22; 5. Tie, Korey Alexander, Jacksonville, and Stanley Chavis, Red Springs, 1980 Ford Mustang, 18 each.

JR. DRAGSTER – 1. Noah Johnson, Fayetteville, 32; 2. Kaylee Love, Youngsville, 27; 3. Ashleigh Stafford, Kernersville, 25; 4. Kimberly Dawn Messer, Four Oaks, 23; 5 Brittney Dial, Maxton, 21.





BLINSON LEADS HOOSIER COALITION POINTS ENTERING FINALE
Four-Race Series That Began at Rockingham Ends There Nov. 7-8

ROCKINGHAM – Everyone will be chasing Clayton’s Randall Blinson Nov. 7-8 when the 2015 Hoosier Tires Carolina Coalition Series races to a conclusion on the same Rockingham Dragway track on which it began eight months earlier.

After three of four races, Blinson leads Wilmington’s Chad Duke and Pleasant Garden’s T.G. Paschal by a scant four points in the battle for the Top ET title. Stanfield’s Joseph Hartsell, former Coalition champion Tommy Plott of Winston-Salem and Raleigh’s Gary Ingold are just one point further back.

Carolina Coalition points are awarded for both participation and success. Three points are awarded for each first round appearance with a one point bonus for each round won.

Other current point leaders include Dunn’s Justin West in Footbrake and Ryan Howard of Pelzer, S.C., in Jr. Dragster.

As a bonus, the race also will count toward 2016 Rockingham Dragway track championship. The 2015 champions already have been crowned and are expected to be in the field for the Coalition finale. Fayetteville standouts Lee Desist and Noah Johnson won their second consecutive track titles in Pro ET and Jr. Dragster, respectively. Clayton’s Eric Aman prevailed in Footbrake.

ROCKINGHAM – Hoosier Tires Carolina Coalition point standings after the first three of four events in the series (all hometowns, North Carolina unless otherwise indicated):

TOP ET – 1. Randall Blinson, Clayton, 36; 2. Tie, Chad Duke, Wilmington, and T.G. Paschal, Pleasant Garden, 32 each; 4. Tie, Joseph Hartsell, Stanfield, 1971 Dodge Dart, Tommy Plott, Winston-Salem, and Gary Ingold, Raleigh, 31 each; 7. Tie, Gary Ingold, Raleigh, second entry, Tommy Plott, Winston-Salem, second entry, and Michael Paschal, Pleasant Garden, 29 each; 10. Todd Baker, Greensboro, 28; 11. Charles Doss, Statesville, 27; 12. Jordan Wike, Farmington, 26; 13, Tie, T.G. Paschal Pleasant Garden, second entry, and John Bridges, Shelby, 24 each; 15. Tie, Chris Carpenter, Russ Whitlock, Mocksville, and Lee Desist, Fayetteville, 23 each.

FOOTBRAKE – 1. Tie, Justin West, Dunn, 1969 Chevy Camaro, and Kelly Stevens, Sawmills, 38 each; 3. Kelly Stevens, Sawmills, second entry, 37; 4. Ross Freeman, Westerville, S.C., 1979 Chevy Camaro, 35; 5. Jeff Flood, Mocksville, 32; 6. Ernie Humes, Troutman, 31; 7. Tie, Edward Freeman, Kershaw, S.C., and Edward Freeman, Kershaw, S.C., second entry, 30 each; 9. Tesz Powell, Morganton, 28; 10. Tie, Derek Harris, McLeansville, and Jeff Flood, Mocksville, second entry, 27 each.

JR. DRAGSTER – 1. Ryan Howard, Pelzer, S.C., 38; 2. Ashleigh Stafford, Kernersville, 34; 3. Dillon Goodnight, NA, 32; 4. Tie, Jacob Baker, Yorktown, Va., and Isaac Bridges, Shelby, 31 each; 6. Kaylee Love, Youngsville, 29; 7. Tie, Gavin Whisnant, Dallas, and Dylan Branscome, Hillsville, Va., 25 each; 9. Branson Hutchens, Hamptonville, 24; 10. Saylar Bustle, Sherrills Ford, 17.

CNN’S ‘SOMEBODY’S GOTTA DO IT’ FILMS SEGMENT AT ROCKINGHAM
Roy Hill Teaches Host Mike Rowe How to Drive a Super Comp Dragster

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Mike Rowe gets around and the TV host, writer, actor, pitchman, spokesperson and star of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” this week wound up at Rockingham Dragway where he hooked up with drag racing legend Roy Hill for a segment on his latest show, CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It.”

Hill, the former IHRA Pro Stock champion and proprietor of Roy Hill’s Drag Racing School, taught Rowe the ins and outs of driving the straight-line quarter mile in one of the school’s Super Comp dragsters.

That instruction, coupled with the collateral interaction between the two larger-than-life personalities, was documented by a crew from Pilgrim Productions in North Hollywood, Calif., for later telecast.

At the end of the day, Rowe’s best time down the Rockingham quarter mile was 8.49 seconds at 144 miles per hour.

“That was a good day; most fun I’ve had in a while,” Hill barked. “Mike’d make a great racer. He picked it up real quick.”

Rowe reportedly chose Rockingham because of its history and tradition. The track was built in 1968 and is one of only a handful of facilities to have hosted major events produced by the National Hot Rod Association, the International Hot Rod Association and the now defunct American Hot Rod Association.

“Mike Rowe is one of the most Identifiable faces on TV,” said track owner Steve Earwood, “so this segment which will air on a popular network show won’t just be good for the track, it’ll be good for the school and for Rockingham and the surrounding area.

“We were contacted by the show and they wanted to know if there was anything we could do with Mike at the track,” Earwood said. “My first thought was Roy’s school and it came together pretty quickly after that.”




Sitting on the guardwall at Rockingham Dragway, Pro Stock legend Roy Hill, left, explains the drag racing basics to Mike Rowe, host of CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It.”



Mike Rowe drenches himself with a celebratory beverage after accelerating to 144 miles per hour at Rockingham Dragway.



TV personality Mike Rowe, left, share a golf cart with Pro Stock legend and driving school owner Roy Hill during the shooting of a segment of CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” at Rockingham Dragway.
SPERLE’S EL CAMINO KEEPS PINKS’ MONEY IN CAROLINAS
Kernersville Driver Overcomes 12-Car Head Start to win at Rockingham Dragway

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – With racers from 10 states looking for a windfall Saturday, Josh Sperle of Kernersville kept the big money in the Carolinas by driving his Chevy El Camino to victory over Thursday winner Sarah Boyce of New Derry, Pa., on the final day of the PINKS All Out Festival at Rockingham Dragway.

Sperle earned a shot at the biggest share of the $30,000 purse by first winning group one of two in the 9-10 second class. He then got a free ride to the overall final when Mike Mackey of Algonquin, Ill., was unable to make repairs to the brakes on his 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass after they failed on his winning run in group two.

Boyce, who won Thursday’s 11-12 second bracket in her yellow 1989 Ford Mustang, got a 12-carlength head start for the money, but couldn’t hold off the black El Camino.

Other winners on the final day were Doug Kistler of Emmaus, Pa., in the 10-11 second class; Logan “L’il Ruthless” Poppel of Odum, Ga., in PINKS Cycle; Terry Chavis of Maxton, N.C., in PINKS ATV; and Kevin Carpenter of Monroe, N.C., in PINKS Quick 16.


Final round results from Saturday’s PINKS All Out Festival at Rockingham Dragway:

10-11 Second Bracket –
Doug Kistler, Emmaus, Pa., 1984 Pontiac Trans Am, def. Chris Newman, Floyd, Va., 1976 Chevy Corvette.
9 Second Bracket (group one) –
Josh Sperle, Kernersville, N.C., 1970 Chevy El Camino, def. Terry Marshpond, Amelia, Va., 1970 Ford Mustang.
9-Second Bracket (group 2) –
Mike Mackey, Algonquin, Ill., 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass, def. John Justice, Huntsville, N.C., 1967 Ford Falcon.
Quick 16 –
Kevin Carpenter, Monroe, N.C., 1968 Chevy Camaro, def. Dale McSwain, Norwood, N.C., 2015 Chevy Camaro.
Cycle – Logan Poppel, Odum, Ga., Suzuki, def. Andrew Ritchey, Claysburg, Pa., Kawasaki.
ATV – Terry Chavis, Maxton, N.C., 2015 Banshee, def. James McCallum, Rowland, N.C., 2000 Raptor.
 
 
 
 
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