Pro Fuel Bike Rider Chasing Dream of Competing Next Year in Top Fuel Class
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – (Oct. 9, 2019) Janette Thornley’s focus this week is on guiding her Circle 1 Solar-sponsored Harley-Davidson into the winners’ circle at Rockingham Dragway’s 28th annual Jim McClure Memorial Nitro World Finals and, in the process, chasing down Maryland’s Dennis Waldron for the AMRA Pro Fuel point championship.

However, the Statesville resident can be forgiven if she casts a glance or two in the direction of defending champion Doug Vancil of Cedar Crest, N.M., reigning NHRA champion Tii Tharpe of East Bend, 2017 McClure champion Armon Furr of Orangeburg, S.C., and all the others competing at 230 miles per hour in the featured Ray Price Top Fuel Challenge.
That’s because a year from now, Thornley hopes to join that battle instead of merely watching it from the sidelines.
Already one of the fastest women on two wheels at 185 mph and a three-time series champion, the 52-year-old Thornley is poised to become the first woman to compete in Top Fuel astride a highly modified Harley even more powerful than the one she rode to a Pro Fuel victory earlier this year at Bowling Green, Ky.

The goal-driven grandma, founder of Dream Chaser Racing, is anxious to take the next step in achieving her goal of competing, a la Shirley Muldowney, at motorcycle drag racing’s top level.

“After eight years of riding a nitro-powered motorcycle, nothing can prepare you for a Top Fuel Harley except seat time,” she said. “I have nothing but respect for these machines and those who ride them.”

The American Motorcycle Racing Association’s “Lady Racer of the Year” in 2017, Thornley was working as a systems analyst at T. Rowe Price with only a recreational interest in motorcycles when she met the late Ray Price and his wife Jean.

It was through the encouragement of the Raleigh motorcycle dealer and Harley Hall of Fame racer that she took a job in H-D’s rider safety program, traveling to dealerships around the country to conduct safety seminars.

Ultimately, she became a district representative for Harley-Davidson in California before relocating to North Carolina in 2015 where she has used her passion for racing as a platform through which she encourages others to chase their own dreams in her job as life coach and motivational speaker.
It was with Price’s assistance that Thornley began a racing career that already has paid big dividends. Her “I can do that” attitude has produced three series championships including NHRA Harley Pro Fuel titles in 2016 and 2017. She’ll try to add a second AMRA title this week before taking that next big step.

“It’s not about being the first,” she said of her Top Fuel quest. “It’s about continuing to chase my dreams, partnering with some great brands and inspiring others to be all they can be.”
In addition to Top Fuel and Pro Fuel, McClure champions will be crowned in a host of other Harley categories including Pro Gas, Nitro Funny Bike and Outlaw Street.

Adult tickets are $20 a day although discounts are available for two or three-day combo tickets -- $45 for all three days, $35 for two days. In addition, there is a $5 discount on tickets purchased in advance at Children under six are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Campsites and RV hookups are available for overnighters.
Saturday’s pro qualifying will be followed by a free concert featuring the classic rock, blues, country rock, soul, R&B and original music of Straightwire.

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Most recent winners of the Ray Price Top Fuel Challenge contested at Rockingham Dragway as part of the Jim McClure Memorial All-Harley Nitro World Finals.

2018 – Doug Vancil, Cedar Crest, N.M., def. Tracy Kile, Ashville.
2017 – Armon Furr, Orangeburg, S.C., def. Jay Turner, Julian.
2016 – Peter Geiss, Huntington, N.Y., def. Tii Tharpe, East Bend.
2015 – Tommy Grimes, Pfafftown, def. Jay Turner, Julian.
2014 – Event rained out.
2013 – Tommy Grimes, Pfafftown, def. Mike Cott, Bling Bay, B.C., Canada.
2012 – Douglas Horne, Aberdeen, Md., def. Larry Brancaccio, Nutley, N.J.
2011 – Douglas Horne, Aberdeen, Md., def. Tommy Grimes, Pfafftown.
2010 – Jay Turner, Julian, def. Douglas Horne, Aberdeen, Md.

Results from the 2018 Jim McClure Memorial All-Harley Nitro World Finals at Rockingham Dragway:

TOP FUEL – Doug Vancil, Cedar Crest, N.M., .034, 6.251, 225.48 mph, def. Tracy Kile, Ashville, .051, 6.614, 201.04 mph.
PRO FUEL – Sam White, Chapin, S.C., .075, 7.226, 174.14 mph, def. Tyler Wilson, Walnut Cove, .065, 8.342, 112.04 mph.
NITRO FUNNY BIKE – Shane Pendergrast, Murfreesboro, Tenn., .099, 8.398, 157.34 mph, def. Billy Doherty, Lake Charles, La., no time.
OUTLAW STREET – Stephane Crete, Victoriaville, Quebec, .065, 8.160, 166.91 mph, def. Dan Dennis, Barron, Wis., .213, 8.667, 162.59 mph.
PRO GAS – Greg Frost, Omaha, Neb., .084, 8.646, 156.10 mph, def. Don Ratliff, Syracuse, Ind., .052, 8.831, 148.79 mph.
HOT STREET – Dave “Paco” Cartwright, Evansville, Ind., .125, 9.055, 147.83 mph, def. John Toth, Twilight, Pa., foul.
MODIFIED – Gary Douglass, Staunton, Va., .287, 9.088, 146.23 mph, def. Troy Young, Writz, Va., .032, 9.430, 139.69 mph.
SUPER STREET – Charley Douglass, Staunton, Va., .061, 9.423, 138.53 mph, def. Troy Young, Writz, Va., .148, 9.351, 139.79 mph.
DRESSERS – Paul Vicory, New Carlisle, Ohio, .146, 9.580, 142.22 mph, def. David Dennick, Eighty-Four, Pa., .116, 10.123, 140.24 mph
ELIMINATOR – Joe Peterson, Wilmington, .045, 9.826 on a 9.900, 131.19 mph, def. Ryan Thibant, foul
SUPER COMP (8.90 target) – Don Ratliff, Syracuse, Ind., .083, 8.844, 142.64 mph, def. Freddy Frazier, Sanford, foul.
9.30 – Ken Strauss, Thompson, Ohio, .025, 9.368, 141.98 mph, def. David Doremus, Loveland, Ohio, .082, 9.288 breakout, 137.85 mph.
SUPER GAS (9.90 target) – Chris Hoppe, Pennington, N.J., .035, 9.920, 110.09 mph, def. Bob Maier, Windermere, Fla., .085, 9.916, 133.99 mph.1030 – Nate Carnahan, Powhatan, Va., .043, 10.529, 119.84 mph, def. Butch Lowe, Rutledge, Ga., .195, 10.413, 127.05 mph
1090 – Rick Miller, Pensacola, Fla., .090, 10.904, 116.85 mph, def. Brian Conley, Country Club Hills, Ill., .128, 10.893 breakout, 118.01 mph.
1150 – Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., .005, 11.589, 106.97 mph, def. Darrell Smith, Indianapolis, Ind., .232, 11.315 breakout, 100.28 mph.