The First ever U.S. Pro Stock Motorcycle Open

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The New Capitol Raceway
June 3, 2017

The First ever U.S. Pro Stock Motorcycle Open

Have you ever heard the one, “There are these two guys?” Seems like that’s how most racing stories start. Well this one goes on to say these two guys were on a road-trip headed to the NHRA Summernationals drag race in New Jersey. “How do we put a bigger spotlight on drag racing and pro stock bikes,” said Tony Tull, a plumbing contractor, and longtime drag racer. “We need to have a special race that’s like a test session before the Summernationals. Heck the Pro Stock cars use to do it.

While others head to a race talking about piston speed, cutting lights, or where to eat, Tull went on talking about how to build on the idea. “Let me reach out to my buddy Jimmy Bradshaw (Track Manager) at The New Capitol Raceway and see if he will help. Our goal will be to give the bikes an extra stage to promote themselves and the entire Mello Yello NHRA series.” Jimmy was all in. “Let’s do it here in Maryland at the New Capitol Raceway,” said Bradshaw, “The bikes can take over what the Pro Stock cars use to do.” It was at that moment the race was named the U.S. Pro Stock Motorcycle Open.

So by now you get the gist of this. It’s been talked about since June of 2016. So after some tweaking the only hiccup was, “This isn’t a build it and they will come event,” said Tull. “If you (Steve Johnson) can’t get at least nine or ten to commit we just can’t do it.” So as the famous announcer Ralph Sheheen says, “He’s like the energizer bunny,” talking about Steve Johnson, long-time NHRA supporter, and racer. Johnson helped with some of the concept but he was tasked to bring them and we will build it. “I was on the moon from the start,” said Johnson. “Of course, promotionally, all my ideas were the best and made the most sense,” as Johnson rolls his eyes. “Seriously, getting nine or ten teams to commit to a first ever kind of deal like this was a pretty big task. Relentless begging was my strategy to all the potential racers that the U.S. Open could be really cool. Self-promotion is a great angle.

“I really have to thank all the first comers like Chip Ellis and the Arana’s, they saw what this could be. We have tried for years to get booked into match races,” said Johnson. “These kinds of events help grow the racer and the category’s brand. At the end of the day, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycles are just one of four stores in NHRA’s Mello Yello mall. We need to engage motorcycle fans in the excitement, technology, and personality of the bikes’ drivers, crew, and owners. This U.S. Open (or warm-up) will let us be the headline to showcase our stuff and show the “mall” that we are doing our part to grow the NHRA. Oh, and any haters out there, that isn’t kissing up, that is really how I feel … in fact, it’s almost our responsibility. This is just an exercise in self-promotion and preservation.”

The first ever U.S. Pro Stock Motorcycle Open is June 3rd (rain date 4th) and has a guaranteed purse of $20,000. That, however, is the only thing set in stone. For the Pros, there will be very little that is traditional about running this race. For example, the pairings of competitors, eliminations, purse structure, fan engagement, and if you have a pro stocker, you can show up that day and race … it’s an all run field.

“Promoting races is easier to talk about during a motorhome ride than it is to actually do it,” agreed Tull and Johnson. “It’s so much more than dreaming or complaining. Having a sound business model that includes passionate racers, good sponsors like Capitol Custom Trailers & Coaches and Battley Cycle (to name the first two) is really the perfect package. However, the other side of the racing fence is tough.” That’s where Bradshaw and his team at the New Capitol Raceway took over to make the process much smoother. In fact Bradshaw said, “Let’s add two more classes to the U.S. Open with a class of bracket motorcycles and dragsters.”

ET bikes, 9.00 and quicker (with no delay boxes) racing on a five tenths tree for a quarter mile and dragsters, specifically added to help maximize traction for the bikes throughout the event racing the eighth mile were added to the U.S. Open. Both classes have guaranteed purses of $5,000 to win, $1500 runner-up, $500 semi-finalist and 75.00 round money starting with 3rd round winners. Additionally, buybacks after first round only of $75 will be offered.

A 4.60 Class has also been added after interest form local racers. The entry will be $200.00 with payout
75% to the racers and 25% to the track.

In closing, fans will also have an opportunity to win special tickets to the following weekend’s NHRA Summernationals in New Jersey.

We hope you’ll plan on coming, can’t wait for you to see all the crazy turns … at our drag race!

The New Capitol Raceway
1451 Capitol Raceway Road
Gambrills, MD 21054

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