American Motorcycle Racing Association national record holder Tommy Grimes grabbed the No. 1 qualifying position as was expected, but that was as far as he got Sunday in his pursuit of another Top Fuel championship in the 23rd annual Jim McClure All-Harley Nitro Nationals at Rockingham Dragway.

Rain washed out the entire Sunday racing program at The Rock, leaving two-wheel fans to wonder what could have been and leaving track owner Steve Earwood even more perplexed after a season marked by weather delays and cancellations.

“I know there’s nothing we can do about the weather,” Earwood said, “but, man, this season has been brutal on the racing community. It’s been tough to get through a whole weekend without problems and that’s an enormous frustration when you’re all amped up to race.”

Before the weather took center stage, Grimes coaxed Ray Price’s Raleigh-based Harley through the quarter mile in 6.330 seconds at 223.21 miles per hour, a little off his national record numbers (6.197, 227.27 mph) but good enough to outpace Texan Ricky “Sharkey” House and several others including Japanese national Takeshi Shigematsu.

In Pro Fuel, Philadelphia’s Kevin Garrow was the surprise No. 1 qualifier, edging reigning series champion Dale Nilles of Wilkesboro for the top spot. In Funny Bike, Jim Doyle of Springfield, Mass., outran Rich Vreeland of Humble, Texas, Dale Stordeur of Loveland, Ohio, and veteran Armon Furr of Orangeburg, S.C.

Qualifying results from the 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.
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