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2022 NHRA LODRS Pacific Division Motorcycle Review

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Sportsman Motorcycle Bracket Series
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Pacific Division 7

2022 NHRA LODRS Pacific Division Motorcycle Review

by Kirk Walton / Photos by Bob Johnson Photography

The 2022 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Pacific Division 7 championship came down to the final race of the season at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the first weekend of November. Jeremy Bates from Vineyard, UT was crowned the champion before eliminations were over and ended up winning the race for good measure.

Bates wasn’t even sure he was going to run a full schedule but to decided to after a good start to the season. Here’s how the points work within in your own division and those outside the division from the NHRA.com website. “Each driver in the remaining NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series categories may compete for home-division NHRA Lucas Oil series points at up to eight divisional events and will be credited with the points earned for their best five finishes including up to two out-of-division races. A driver may earn points at -outside events even after a driver’s home-division schedule is -completed. To be eligible for official NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series regional and division points and subsequent -postseason awards, a contestant must -claim a minimum of three races within his or her home region or division.”

The NHRA LODRS D7 season started in March with a doubleheader at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, AZ with 10 entries. The 2021 NHRA D7 champion, Kahea Woods, North Las Vegas, NV, got off to a great start getting both the #1 qualifying reaction time at .011 and winning the race over Matt Bluett on his home racetrack. Bluett had the starting line advantage but couldn’t run close to his number and Woods took the win.
In race #2, Eric Jaquith, Queen Creek, AZ had the #1 qualifying spot with a .003 reaction in the 11 bike field. Jeremy Bates ended up coasting to a win over Kahea Woods when Woods bike died on the starting line.

Defending D7 champion Kahea Woods finished the season second in 2022.
Defending D7 champion Kahea Woods finished the season second in 2022.

Races #3 & #4 was a doubleheader at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in April. Jeremy Bates was the #1 qualifier with a .001 reaction. It was an all Utah rider final with Jeremy Bates the winner over Dave “Wheels” Wheeler, Murray, UT with Bates getting a big starting line advantage to take his second win in a row.

Race #4 saw Bates with another #1 qualifier with an .002 this time in the 13 bike field. Tom Medlin, La Mirada, CA defeated Rick Newport, Bluffdale, UT in the final by a slight reaction time and a bit closer to the dial in time.

The next races were also another doubleheader in Bakersfield, CA at the historic Famoso Dragstrip in October. 14 entries were there for both races. Race #5 saw Clayton Howey, Hanford, CA, taking both the #1 qualifier (.005) and the race win. He met Lonnie Woodruff, Pahrump, NV in the final. Woodruff had the reaction time advantage (.001 vs .015) but couldn’t run the number and Howey took the win.

Race #6 had Rick Newport taking the #1 qualifying spot with a .003. Tom Medlin won his second race of the year by beating Kahea Woods in the final. Both were off the dials by .003 but Medlin had the starting line advantage with a .002 vs. .020 to take the win.

In between the Pacific Division races, several racers tried their hand in the out of division races to gain some points. Jeremy Bates went to three NHRA D6 races, one in Boise and two in Acton, MT. He won one of the races in Montana in August.

Jeremy Bates (center) in the winners circle after the win in the final race in Las Vegas.
Jeremy Bates (center) in the winners circle after the win in the final race in Las Vegas.

Kahea Woods went to Boise, ID in May and won the race when he beat Steve Harrison, Lehi, UT when Harrison’s bike slowed.

This all set up the final Lucas Oil Drag Racing series race in Las Vegas for race #7 in its traditional time spot between the two national events of Las Vegas and Pomona in November. We had a low bike count for this race at 20. It’s usually the biggest of the year for all divisional races. Mike Pinkston, Magna, UT got a perfect light (.000) in qualifying for the #1 spot.

In the first round Kahea Woods went out against Jesse May, Homedale, ID, so he would have to wait to see how the others did. Jeremy Bates won over Tom Patterson, Tucson, AZ. Tom Medlin won over Donald Lamott, Boise, ID.

In the second round, Medlin beat Roy Berrera, Boise, ID and Bates beat Kirk Walton, Salt Lake City, UT.

Tom Medlin (near lane) finished third for the season.
Tom Medlin (near lane) finished third for the season.

The third round was the deciding round for the championship. Medlin lost in a double breakout to Justin Woolison, Tucson, AZ. Bates won against Marlee Woolison, Tucson, AZ running dead on his 9.47 dial (9.478) breaking Marlee out. This gave Bates a bye to the final and enough points to win the 2022 NHRA LODRS D7 title.

Just to cap the weekend, Bates beat Justin in the final on the reaction time. Congratulations to Jeremy Bates on his first Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series divisional championship! He took 3 wins in division and one out of division (D6).

Jeremy wanted to add some thanks.

“I go into a race weekend thinking there’s 50 ways to lose a race and only 1 way to win. I often find there’s 51 or more ways, but who’s counting? This year has been one of those that it’s hard to really explain. Last year, I ended the season 1 round short and took the second place title, first loser as I joke with myself. This year, I came in with some momentum from last year and scored some early wins giving me the confidence to think I really could make a go at it this year. Who would have thought 4 wins and a semi-final later, I would have been able to clinch my first championship? It’s a dream come true.
Thanks first goes to my wife, Laura. Without her support, her co-pilot status, her managing my cell phone traffic as we drive down the highway, I would not have been able to navigate the miles or the time. She’s been my support and encouraged me to chase this dream. As I told her just the other day, thank you! I could not have done this without you.

Of course, can’t forget my crew chief, Catherine. She’s still trying to figure out my emotion swings during an event and this last one, she kept encouraging me with a reminder, “You got this!” She doesn’t fully understand it yet, but even us parents need some encouragement sometimes. Eliza, you are the comedic genius our family needs. You make every trip enjoyable and the photo’s I have of you passed out on the drive home will be cherished forever. She’s all in, all the time, or passed out from exhaustion. We love you!
Kahea, my brother and friend. These last 2 years, we’ve been in heated battles for the title. You won it last year and made me earn it this year, never letting up all the way until the end. You kept me honest, kept me humble and even at the risk of me winning a round, you were always willing to help me and give me advice. I am humbled to be your friend and thank you for all you have done for me. I wish you so much luck on your Pro Stock endeavors and look forward to seeing the success of that program. Eddie, you were always there and even though we were competitors on the track, we were friends otherwise. Thank you for your advice and being there too. Kahea is very lucky to have you as his PB.
Doug, I need to call out your contribution to the Div 7 purse. I know the situation was not something anyone wanted, but thank you for your support. We will all forever remember and miss Sara. Thank you to you and your family.

There are so many people that have given me advice and help this year, it’s hard to name them all. Sean, your clutch advice was always helpful. I have learned a ton from your help. Rick, Larry, Cragun, Tom, Jim, Miles, Thomas, the Barrera’s, you’ve all given me key pointers or flat out told me to relax. Watching your competitiveness and examples have made me what I am today.

Want to make sure I call out my good friend, Dave Wheels Wheeler! He met me in a final earlier this year in Vegas and then took that momentum to Firebird in Idaho and took that track to school. Well done on your Championship and it’s always a pleasure to share a racetrack with you. You’re committed to your success and I love to see your passion for life. Never loose that!

Bob, you capture the memories and long after the excitement fades, we’ll have the images you capture to remind us of our glory days. The one you captured with me and my daughter this year is one of my favorites of all time.

Finally, I need to thank Charles. I know you’re not on Facebook, but you were often times my secret weapon. You know the game, you know me and you know how to win and be prepared and you were always willing to talk to me a thousand miles away and remind me to look at the big picture. I was always grateful for your advice and sharing the last Vegas ET event with you and the Sturdevant family will be something I will never forget. Thank you and Jamie for being there until the end.”

Jeremy Bates in the winners circle after the win in the final race in Las Vegas.
Jeremy Bates in the winners circle after the win in the final race in Las Vegas.

Final Point Standings (Top Ten)

01 Jeremy Bates 403 / 8
02 Kahea Woods Jr 361 / 8
03 Thomas Medlin 306 / 7
04 Rick Newport 275 / 7
05 Lonnie Woodruff 198 / 7
06 Larry Mota 187 / 5
07 David Wheeler 177 / 4
08 Reggie Mackay 176 / 5
09 Michael Pinkston 155 / 4
10 Gary Oaks 103 / 3

Final points for all riders are available at the NHRA website, click here.

A very special thanks go out to the Doug & Jaimie Schumann family for adding $1000 to the purse for each D7 race in memory of Sara Schumann. Each race the winner received $500, runner-up $250, and each semifinalist got $125.

Thanks to all the NHRA D7 crew and we want to wish Mike Rice well in his new position at the NHRA and thank him for all his help running the Pacific Division all these years! Also thanks to all the work done by the local crews at all the D7 racetracks.

Thanks as always to Bob Johnson Photography for all the great pictures. They are available at: https://bobjohnson.zenfolio.com/f68353805

Thanks to Dragbike.com for all the coverage they give us and all the racers worldwide.

The 2023 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Schedule is out. First D7 races are in February. https://www.nhra.com/2023-lucas-oil-divisional-series-schedule

See you all this upcoming season!

Kirk Walton

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