STATESVILLE’S THORNLEY EYES AN EVEN BIGGER PRIZE
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
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
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
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 www.rockinghamdragway.com.
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
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
2017 – Armon Furr, Orangeburg, S.C., def. Jay
2016 – Peter Geiss, Huntington, N.Y., def. Tii
Tharpe, East Bend.
2015 – Tommy Grimes, Pfafftown, def. Jay Turner,
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
2010 – Jay Turner, Julian, def. Douglas Horne,
Results from the 2018 Jim McClure Memorial
All-Harley Nitro World Finals at Rockingham
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,
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