Annual MTC ELMER TRETT NATIONALS
April 5-6, 2008 - Atlanta Dragway
Due to weather and track Conditions this event
was run as an 1/8 mile race. We were only able to get through two rounds of
eliminationas and the remainder of this event will be finished in June at our
Bristol event on Friday. AMA Dragbike would like to thank the racers that came
out to support the organization and hung in with us all weekend without complaint!
Words and photos by Matt Polito, www.dragbikephotos.com
Racers and race officials faced a double whammy
when they arrived at Atlanta Dragway for the AMA Dragbike MTC Elmer Trett Nationals:
A persistent rain that looked like it was days from ending and a newly resurfaced
race track that had no rubber on it from 150 feet out.
The Internet was all abuzz with predictions of gloom. The forecast was calling
forhigh winds, hail and tornados.
To AMA Dragbike officials, failure was not an option. They sat tight throughout
all on Friday and Saturday without a bike going down the track. On Sunday the
skies would clear, the only question was when and would there be enough time
to get a freshly laid track up to speed.
The rain quit late Saturday night. At 5:00 AM on Sunday the track crew arrived
and started the tedious task of dragging used racing slicks over and over the
racing surface. The decision was made to run the race 1/8 mile: this would cut
in half the work needed. Under the watchful eye of AMA Chief Starter Tony Williams
the track started to come around and just after noon on Sunday the first tire
A total of 329 race entries made the first and only qualifying session and eliminations
started at nearly 5:00 PM. Only two rounds could be run before the dew came
in at close to 10:00 at night. Top Fuel and Pro Stock, running on only a four-bike
ladder, were run to completion while the remainder of the classes will be run
out at the Bristol event on Friday.
Seven-time Top Fuel champion Larry McBride pulled out of the
event citing team concerns about the track conditions. He later stated that
his decision might have been premature, as he didn’t feel the track would
have come around like it did. Chris Hand was also in attendance but chose not
to run as well. That left three nitro Harleys to battle it out.
Armon Furr was the best of the class, qualifying number one at 5.16 and taking
out AMA Dragbike regular Ray Cason in the final.
Keith Lynn showed he has no intention of giving up his Funnybike
number one plate anytime soon, qualifying number one and setting low e.t. of
the meet at 4.17 in his opening round bye. Lynn got revenge over Valdosta winner
Perry Hollie in round two and will face Mark Paquette in the final.
The Mickey Thompson Pro Mod dream hasn’t ended for Dan
Vasalik. After his rider Michael Phillips scored low e.t. of the meet in Valdosta,
Phillips came back and qualified on the pole at Atlanta with a 4.30. Champ Jack
Young held low e.t of the meet with a 4.27 in round one and Phillips fired back
with a 4.29 in round two. Joining Young and Phillips in the semifinals is number
3 qualifier Shane Eperjesi, son of long-time motorcycle drag racing family member
Donna and Larry Eperjesi. Shane got a holeshot win over Ashley Owens in round
two as mom went crazy.
In the Suzuki Pro Stock class Ryan Schnitz wheeled the next-generation
ZX-14 Pro Stocker of Rob Muzzy to the top qualifying spot with a 4.61 edging
out perennial powerhouse Paul Gast at 4.62. The two met in the final where Gast
took a holeshot and ran a low e.t. of 4.49 for the win.
Orient Express Pro Street has never been better as the Velocity
Racing and NLR camps dig in for a long war. Velocity’s Barry Henson grabbed
the top spot with a run of 4.89 seconds covering the field by a tenth with Valdosta
finalist Walter Sprout securing the second spot running 4.99 seconds at a booming
158 mph on his newly painted (and good-looking) NLR-equipped Hayabusa. 17 bikes
were on the final entry sheet.
While Henson and Sprout where the only racers with 4-second runs in qualifying,
they came up regularly in eliminations. Curtis McDougald re-set the performance
marks to 4.87/159 in the first round as NLR’s Sebastian Domingo threw
away a 4.96 with an asleep-at-the-switch .653 reaction time against Todd Schnitz.
Things got interesting in the second round. In the first pair Steve Jester runs
down Trevor Altman 4.95 to 4.99. Sprout then slaps a telepathic .006 reaction
time on multi-time champ Mike Slowe, avenging the Valdosta final round loss
with a 4.92 winner to Slowe’s quicker 4.89. Bud Yoder, riding the brand-new
ZX-14 built by Velocity Racing for Bear Racing, sends Schnitz packing with a
4.90. The final pair was worth the price of admission. Henson grabbed a holeshot
over Lil Curtis and the pair charged through the traps with the two quickest
passes of the event, with Henson’s 4.85 staying ahead of McDougald’s
quicker 4.82. It doesn’t get any better.
When Nick Mazeika dominated the Valdosta Help Me Ride Super Street
racing on the lightweight Playthings/Exoticycle GSXR 1000, his combination was
immediately slapped with 25 extra pounds. After the one qualifying session it
didn’t look like it did any good as Mazeika again led the field by a tenth,
running a 5.30 to stand above Chris Cason (on the ex-Rickey Gadson nitrous ZX-14)
at 5.40 and Rickey and Richard Gadson, both with 5.41s.
But things changed in eliminations. Coby Adams turned the right screws on Rickey’s
turbo Kawasaki and Gadson unleash a pair of identical 5.297s to stop everyone
in their tracks. Mazieka and Darren Burnett advanced with runs in the 5.30s
as did Ryan Schnitz in the debut of the Muzzy turbo ZX-14. Lil Butch Thompson
is also still in it, representing the old school with a 5.48 on his 1990 GSXR1100.
Jeremy Teasley and Kenny Poppell step aside, please, Farlie Hall got around
the potent duo in the Dragbike.com SuperSport class wheeling
his ZX-14 to the top qualifying position at 5.99 seconds – the only five
second run recorded during the event.
Hall kept up the pressure in eliminations running a pair of 6.06s, which was
the best two-lap combination of anyone in the field. Both Poppell (who was riding
another borrowed GSXR 1000) and Teasley advanced with numbers in the 6.10s.
Danny Payton rounds out the final four with a 6.09 over Brad Abele.
In the APE Real Street Class “Johnny Turbo” Dobrin
led qualifying of 20 entries at 5.66 seconds on the Exoticycle Hayabusa followed
by the ZX14 of Chris Cason and Doug Witt on the Vance & Hines Hayabusa.
“Johnny Turbo” Dobrin
Dobrin and Witt advanced but Chip Hunter put Cason on the trailer. Also still
in it are John Fernandez and Eddie Chapman.
John Schwartz led qualifying in the Fast
by Gast Top Gas series. Schwartz, the #2 plateholder in the class,
ran a 5.206 on the 5.20 index to lead the 30 bike field. Chad Otts was number
two at 5.210. Both Schwartz and Otts are still in competition.
Harvey Hubbard grabbed the top spot in MTC Super Comp. His
5.716 on the 5.70 dial was a tenth better than number 2 qualifier David Fletcher.
21 bikes make qualifying laps.
Jennifer Robertson led a strong field of 36 bikes in the new Power Sports
Factory Street Fighter class with a 6.113 on the 6.10 index. Wayne
Robertson, no relation (I think), was number two at 6.122. Brandon Teasley missed
the top qualifying spot but 7 thousandths of a second, running under at 6.093.
Jennifer Robertson was taken out by Dave Page in round two.
Additional Coverage form Wally Wersching: AMA
Dragbike vs. Mother Nature
AMA Dragbike Announces
Live Timing. Live Timing is a real-time, web-based view into
the live AMA Dragbike timing system.
AMA Dragbike Live Timing gives complete, up-to-the-second results. You can now
view reaction time, all incremental times and speeds and complete results of
every pass of every class as they happen. You can also view complete up-to-the-minute
AMA Dragbike Live
Timing is free to all fans of the AMA Dragbike Championship Drag Racing Series.
Simply log onto http://www.amadragbikelive.com/ for complete instructions
on how to view AMA Dragbike Live Timing.
AMA Dragbike is based Cincinnati,
Ohio and is the Drag Racing division of the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association).
AMA Dragbike has evolved of the past 17 years to become the largest motorcycle
drag racing sanction in the world. The organization holds records and hosts
riders for the fastest (243 mph) and quickest (5.86sec) motorcycles on asphalt.
The 2008, eight-race tour will bring thousands of bikes in 13 different classes
down the finest race tracks in the world all to compete for purses in excess
of $450,000 with contingency postings of over $1.5M.