HomeNews / Race Results2024 PlayNHRA Nationals - Top Fuel Motorcycle

2024 PlayNHRA Nationals – Top Fuel Motorcycle

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series
PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals
Virginia Motorsports Park
June 21-23, 2024

Pingel Named Title Sponsor Of Thrilling Nhra Top Fuel Motorcycle Series

Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycle

words and photos by Tom McCarthy

Final Eliminations Report

This race progression was interrupted at about 4:15 PM EST. The track was cleaned up, and racing resumed at 6:54 PM, beginning with Top Fuel. The first two cars down the track recorded 3.80 elapsed times, proving the track was indeed race-ready.

The daily run order was abbreviated and changed, but it included the Pingel Top Fuel motorcycles, which were set to run following the Pro Mod cars.

Larry McBride - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry McBride and brother Steve McBride

The final Top Fuel motorcycle matchup of Mitch Brown vs. Larry McBride rolled into the water at 7:51 PM. This was a great matchup that meant a lot to both teams. The Top Fuel brotherhood is strong, but there are no friends on the starting line in drag racing.

Mitch has been racing Top Fuel motorcycles since 2007. Prior to that, he had pretty much raced anything fast on two wheels. Larry McBride has been racing fuel bikes since 1979. His 45 years of nitro racing experience count for a lot.

Mitch Brown - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown and daughter Addison

The round of racing began with a quick reaction time by Larry of .108. Mitch Brown responded with a .132, and they were off the line quickly. At half-track, Mitch was on one of his best runs, with a 4.047 @ 193.35 MPH. Larry, was ahead of Mitch with a 3.964 @ 202.61 MPH.

Mitch Brown - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown

At the 1,000-foot stripe, it was a victory for team McBride with a 5.003 elapsed time up on the board at a thundering 235.89 MPH. Mitch certainly gave Larry a solid run for his efforts, with a 5.18 @ 207.27, MPH pass.

Larry McBride - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry McBride

The next race in the NHRA Pingel Top Fuel Series will be at Brainerd International Raceway on August 16-18, 2024. This event will be race number three of the four-race series.

Top Fuel Motorcycle


Eliminations Round 2 Report

Just after 3 PM EST, the second round of eliminations for the Pingel Top Fuel motorcycle series came to life. The ambient temperature was 95 degrees, with shifting winds up to 12 MPH and 43% humidity.

Mitch Brown opened up the session with his competition single bye-run, into the final round. Mitch made a full pull, putting on a show for the crowd, posting a 5.215 @ 185.31 MPH. This warmed up the right lane well for Larry McBride, who was cocked and loaded, right behind Mitch.

Mitch Brown - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown

Micah Fenwick took to the left side of the VMP race surface and rolled into the water box, with his team, ready to rock & roll. With a nod from the starting line crew, both bikes fired up together and Micah warmed the tire first.

With higher temperatures facing both teams, the drivers performed conservative burnouts, as both bikes were already well warmed up, just from being in the oven that was Virginia Motorsports Park. Some spotty cloud cover gave some brief relief, but for all three days of this event, the National Weather Service issued a stern “Heat Advisory” between 10AM and 8PM for every day of this race.

Micah Fenwick - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Micah Fenwick

As the bikes staged, Micah was off the line first quickly. Too quickly. Being a veteran motorcycle drag racer, Micah KNEW Larry had him covered in spades. So his only option was to chop the tree and try to get out on Larry. The -.263 red light was the end of Micah’s racing day, but he went down swinging and never relented.

Micah’s early launch distracted Larry, causing him to leave early too, but Larry’s -.076 RT was not as bad as Micah’s, who clearly was first and worst.

Larry McBride - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry McBride

Nevertheless, Team McBride’s tune-up delivered a 4.934 @ 234.45 MPH performance. Micah’s elapsed time of 5.29 @ 196.27 was no match on this day, with or without the red light start.

During Q-2 on the previous day, Larry recorded a 4.92 @ 236 MPH under very similar conditions to, today. So his 4.93 @ 234, was just basically repeating the previous day’s run.

So far, Mitch has full runs of 5.55, 5.14, 5.36, 5.17, and 5.21 on his last pass. But this is drag racing, and it’s anyone’s race to win.

Top Fuel Motorcycle


Eliminations Round 2 Preview

The second round of eliminations, or E-2, if you prefer, will commence at approximately 2 PM EST during the NHRA Virginia Nitro Nationals. The match-ups are as follows: Larry Spiderman McBride will race Micah Fenwick, and Mitch Brown will perform a bye-run while progressing into the final round of competition.

Top Fuel Motorcycle
Top Fuel stalwarts, Mitch Brown and Larry McBride are seen in Addison Brown’s glasses, just before E1.

During yesterday’s E-1 match-ups, Micah Fenwick won his first round of competition in the Top Fuel motorcycle class against Bobby Malloy. While Micah is a veteran of decades of drag bike racing, he is a relative newcomer to Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing.

Micah Fenwich - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Micah Fenwick

Micah has raced many, many different drag bikes during his many years, including F/B, TG bikes and is no stranger to high speeds. Since his Top Fuel bike, featuring a Race Visions Reborn chassis and an Alwine Top Fuel power plant, was completed close to 5 years ago, Micah has been testing relentlessly, creeping up incrementally on his tune-up. On multiple occasions, while testing at his home track, New England Dragway, Micah has run 6.0 to five-second, 660-foot, times. To half-track, he’s displayed they have their tune-up in hand.

Micah Fenwich - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Micah Fenwick

His nitro-tutelage has been under the close watchful eye of John Alwine, his engine builder/supplier. Every pass, John can look at the data via computer and make suggestions to Micah and his team. During a recent interview, John said, “Micah is a great student, he does what needs to get done, he’s learning a lot, and he’s one of my best students ever.” This coming from the man who sent Korry Hogan down the 1320 at over 250 MPH multiple times. Micah will face his toughest test in E-2 today when he matches up against the toughest Top Fuel team in Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing: Team McBride.

Mitch Brown - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown

In drag racing as in many motorsports, there is a saying that is inescapable, “There’s no substitute for seat time.” Few, if any, can match the seat time in the Top Fuel motorcycle that Larry McBride brings with him every time he sits in the hot seat. Larry began racing nitro bikes in the mid-1970s. He began racing Top Fuel motorcycles on asphalt in 1980 at the NHRA, US Nationals.

Mitch Brown - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown

Going into this match-up, Larry is the number one qualifier at this event with a 4.92 @ 236.67 MPH. Micah Fenwick is the #4 qualifier with a 5.55 elapsed time. His quickest pass ever on his bike ever was his defeat of Bobby Malloy, on his last pass, 5.265 @ 189.50 MPH. If ever there was a David and Goliath match up in Top Fuel motorcycle history, this is it.

Larry McBride - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry McBride

But this is drag racing and in this sport, anything can happen. Realistically, it’s anyone’s drag race to win.

Larry McBride
Larry McBride – Top Fuel Motorcycle

This, of course, includes Mitch Brown, who will make a competition solo pass during E-2 and face the winner of the McBride vs. Fenwick contest later today. Mitch has been quietly going quicker and faster when needed. His team has been honing their skills, and as Mitch said earlier today, we are ready. It really doesn’t matter to us who wins the E-2 pairing because we are ready, no matter what. We are going to the final round, and we are READY!


Eliminations Round 1 Report

AT 7:23 PM, EST, the first round of eliminations unfolded for the Pingel Top Fuel motorcycle series. Larry McBride, had the bye-run for the five bike-qualified field.

Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycle
By virtue of his #1 qualifying position, Larry McBride chose to run at the end of the session, not at the lead. This set the stage for the first pairing of veteran Bobby Malloy and Micah Fenwick. Micah’s team has been making consistent, competitive runs and looking stronger every outing.

Bob Malloy - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Bob Malloy

With the first hint of yellow, Micah snapped the throttle open first and recorded an .035 RT to Bobby’s .100 RT. At half-track, Micah’s 4.068 wads a tick quicker that Bobby’s 4.169. At the 1,000’ stripe, Micah’s win light came on with a 5.265 elapsed time to Bobby’s 5.289. This is Micah Fenwick’s first round win in Top Fuel motorcycle racing, and it could not have come at a better time for the team.

Micah Fenwich - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Micah Fenwick – Top Fuel Motorcycle

The final pair of the round turned out to be Dave Vantine vs. Mitch Brown. Dave Vantine was first off the starting line, with a .091 RT and Mitch Brown was right on him like a shadow with his .097 RT to the tree. At the 660’ mark, they were still side-by-side, with eighth mile times of 4.073 for Dave, and 4.045 for Mitch. But Dave began drifting to the center of the track and he clipped a timing block.

While the time slip showed a 5.157 for Dave and a 5.178, for Mitch, Dave’s contact with the centerline negated his run and come tomorrow, Mitch will be in the semi-finals.

Mitch Brown - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown

Team McBride closed out the session with another four-second pass, 4.975 to be exact, at 233.52 MPH. Eliminations will continue on Sunday, 23 June 24. The Top Fuel motorcycle E2 session is tentatively slated for close to 2PM tomorrow.

Larry McBride - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry McBride

Round 1

WIN – Larry McBride / 0.317 / 4.975 / 233.52
Earned Bye

WIN – Micah Fenwick / 0.035 / 5.265 / 189.5
L – Bob Malloy / 0.100 / 5.289 / 214.45

WIN – Mitch Brown / 0.097 / 5.178 / 220.58
DQ – David Vantine / 0.091 / 5.157 / 224.43

David Vantine - Top Fuel Motorcycle
David Vantine – Top Fuel Motorcycle

Qualifying Round 3 Report

Top Fuel Motorcycle

At 4:30 PM EST, the final qualifying round for the Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycle series concluded at Virginia Motorsports Park during the NHRA Virginia Nationals.

Larry McBride - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry McBride

Leading the charge, Larry “Spiderman” McBride from Newport News, VA, secured the number one qualifier spot with an impressive 4.92 elapsed time at a blazing speed of 236.67 MPH.

Bob Malloy - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Bob Malloy

This outstanding performance has earned Larry and his team the coveted bye-run in the five-bike Top Fuel motorcycle qualified field.

Micah Fenwich - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Micah Fenwick

Round 2 Qualifying (1000′ Times)
Larry McBride / 5.006 / 218.65
Bob Malloy / 5.206 / 204.88
Mitch Brown / 5.364 / 194.27
David Vantine / 7.714 / 80.97
Micah Fenwick / 12.742 / 48.32

As we gear up for E1, set to take place tonight at approximately 7 PM EST, the competition ladder has been established.

Mitch Brown - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown

Mitch BrownThe exciting matchups will feature Bobby Malloy facing off against Mica Fenwick, followed by a thrilling duel between Mitch Brown and Dave Vantine.

David Vantine - Top Fuel Motorcycle
David Vantine

Qualifying Round 2 Report

At the PalyNHRA Virginia Nationals, the Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycles were called to the lanes at 12:40 PM. The current air ambient temperature is 92 F, 42% humidity, pressure is 30.09, and the track surface temperature is 136.70 degrees. They were scheduled to run at 1:03 PM and, in fact, completed their session at 1:10 PM.

Micah Fenwick - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Micah Fenwick

Larry McBride opened this round of qualifying in the right lane and announced his team is ready to race anyone, anytime, by laying down a straight-as-a-string, 4.92 elapsed time @ 236.52 MPH!

Larry McBride - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry McBride

The next pair was Mitch Brown and Dave Vantine. Mitch Brown vaulted ahead quickly with a 5.14 @ 209.52 MPH. At the launch, Dave Vantine’s bike made a progressive move from R to L, and he adjusted immediately, but the motorcycle continued to drift to the left, forcing Dave to lift to avoid centerline complications. Dave was off the throttle well before mid-track and coasted the remainder of his pass.

Mitch Brown and Dave Vantine - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown and Dave Vantine – Top Fuel Motorcycle

In the final pair out Bobby Malloy recorded a 5.293 ET @ 209.36 MPH. Micah Fenwick lit the tire when his Top Fuel motorcycle was equal to the starting line tree, and he coasted at idle to complete his run.

Round 2 Qualifying (1000′ Times)

Larry McBride / 4.929 / 236.67
Mitch Brown / 5.145 / 209.52
Bob Malloy / 5.293 / 209.36
David Vantine / 11.704 / 68.5
Micah Fenwick / 12.259 / 50.35

Q3 is currently scheduled to be on track at 4:08 PM.

Bob Malloy - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Bob Malloy

Saturday Morning Report

The Friday evening Q1 session for the Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycles was challenging for the five Top Fuel Motorcycles who entered into this event.

Ambient air temps hovered around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and with bright sunshine all day, the race track surface temperatures were in the 140-degree range. It was a challenging day for the tune-up artists.

Wayne and Donna Pingel
Wayne and Donna Pingel

Bobby Malloy, was the provisional number one qualifier, with a 5.20 elapsed time at 209 MPH, over the 1,000 foot race course. His team reported this morning they were happy with yesterday’s performance. They had a basic “A to B” tune-up in the bike and will only make minor changes to it for today’s Q-2 session, slated for 1:03 PM.

Bob Malloy - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Bob Malloy – Top Fuel Motorcycle

Micah Fenwick, the #2 qualifier, was the first T/F bike down the race course last evening. He was in the water box at 6:45pm. His first run of the weekend yielded a 5.55 ET @ 155 MPH. During a post run brief interview, he commented, “We were pleased with our first run, and we are mechanically good this morning. We are not changing much.”

Micah Fenwick - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Micah Fenwick

In the right lane of the VMP track surface, next to Bobby Malloy was Larry “Spiderman” McBride. On Larry’s pass, his burnout was a short one, and when he went to stage, it was obvious audibly, something was different. In my over forty years, of watching Larry run, not once have I ever seen The Spiderman, double-bulb during staging. As Bobby Malloy was quickly completing his staging, just as Bobby went into the beams, Larry was at high-idle and he just could not hold the bike back any longer and launched before the tree activated. This of course did not yield any times for his run.

Larry McBride - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry McBride

“We have to watch my high idle air screws on my bike,” he commented later, after the run. “Sometimes they can come loose due to vibration. This made the bike idle higher than normal and I was holding hard on the front and rear brakes with both hands, while trying to control the throttle – then it was just too much and I had to leave.” Let there be no question about it, come Q-2, later today, team McBride will be ready to rock & roll with a fresh effort.

David Vantine - Top Fuel Motorcycle
David Vantine

Dave Vantine’s run of 7.91 @ 105 was not what the team was looking for in their initial qualifying effort. They will make changes for today’s Q-2 session.

Mitch Brown had a good looking, wheel-up launch for a brief instant, then the big tire broke loose.

He quickly aborted the run and coasted the remainder of his pass up to the first turn off. The bike sounded crisp on the burn-out and looked great during the initial hit. Mitch Brown and his team will come out swinging during Q-2.

Mitch Brown - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown

The second qualifying session is slated for 1:03 PM, EST today, and the final Q-3 is projected to occur at 4:08 PM, to set the ladder.


Qualifying Round 1 Report

Q1 is now in the books for the Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycle series, at the NHRA Virginia Nationals. 90-degree temps, a high track surface temp and setting sun in the eyes of the racers, were all factors during this session on Friday evening. The individual times and speeds of the Top Fuel Motorcycle pilots are in the captions of each racer.

Bob Malloy / 5.203 / 209.01
Bobby Malloy ran with Larry, and recorded a 5.20 @ 209 MPH pass, for the quickest and fastest times of Q-1.

Bob Malloy - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Bob Malloy

Micah Fenwick / 5.558 / 155.49
Micah Fenwick looked good on his pass, with a 5.55 @ 155.49 MPH over the 1,000′ of timed distance.

Micah Fenwick - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Micah Fenwick – Top Fuel Motorcycle

Dave Vantine / 7.913 / 109.34
David Vantine spun quickly and pedaled the bike in a valiant effort to save his pass. His scoreboard showed a 7.91 at 109 MPH.

David Vantine - Top Fuel Motorcycle
David Vantine

Mitch Brown / 17.168 / 41.22
Mitch Brown left the starting line like with a good launch, but also lost traction early in the pass, and Mitch elected to almost idle down the track surface to a 17.16 elapsed time.

Mitch Brown - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Mitch Brown

Larry McBride / Aborted pass
Larry “Spiderman” McBride had difficulties on his pass, mechanical issues were pulling the bike through the beams and they blew away the tire on the starting line.
Three rounds of racing in mid 90’s await the teams tomorrow.

Larry McBride - Top Fuel Motorcycle
Larry McBride

Friday Afternoon Report

As of 1 PM on Friday, June 21, 2024, the Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycle Series will commence race number two of the four-race series, with the first qualifier slated for 5:30 today.

Top Fuel Motorcycle

The two remaining qualifying sessions will be run on Saturday at approximately 1 and 4PM EST, depending on the tempo of the racing. Q3 will set the ladder and E1 will also run on Saturday at close to 7PM.

Top Fuel Motorcycle

Sunday eliminations are set for E2 to be run at 2PM, followed by the final session at 4:45PM, EST.

Top Fuel Motorcycle

Five Top Fuel motorcycle teams are set up in the pits as the event begins to unfold. From left to right, in the photo below, are Larry McBride, Bobby Malloy, Dave Vantine, Mitch Brown, and Micah Fenwick.

Top Fuel Motorcycle

Unfortunately, the team of Jaska Salakari is not present, as the team suffered a catastrophic roadside traffic incident. The team had to stop on the interstate to re-attach the trailer that broke loose after a bad bump in the roadway detached from the ball hitch.

Top Fuel Motorcycle

While parked roadside their trailer was struck by a passing tractor-trailer rig that destroyed the trailer and injured his team. One team member, Ari Lapiolahti, is significantly injured and is still hospitalized. They will not be attending this event.

Top Fuel Motorcycle

For the five teams that are here at Virginia Motorsports Park, the challenges of racing are not just on track for this event. 90 to 95 degree temps, with high humidity are in the forecast for the duration of the event.

Top Fuel Motorcycle


Tom McCarthy Until Next time…

– Tom McCarthy


Please donate to the Salakari Racing / Ari Lapiolahti Recovery Fund
https://www.dragbike.com/salakari-racing-ari-lapiolahti-recovery-fund/


ABOUT NHRA

The National Hot Rod Association, the largest auto racing organization in the world, has come a long way since Wally Parks founded it in 1951.

Though it has grown into a global sports-entertainment business, NHRA has not lost sight of Parks’ original goal: to provide competitors a place to race. But now those places are deluxe supertracks in major U.S. markets, and the racing runs the gamut from 11,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragsters to 5-horsepower Jr. Dragsters. Drag racing’s journey through the decades has been sometimes swift, sometimes rocky, but always exciting and always worth the trip.

In the 1950s, top performance marks were 140 mph in 9 seconds. Today, they’re more than 330 mph in less than 3.7 seconds. Back then, winners earned little more than a trophy and bragging rights. Today’s racers compete for trophies and bragging rights as well as a share of more than $3 million in prize money.

In 2024, NHRA joined forces with Mission Foods to present the world’s fastest motorsports attraction as the flagship sponsor of the national touring series, the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series.

Under the leadership of President Glen Cromwell, NHRA raced forward in 2020 with a number of key initiatives, including a multiyear partnership with FOX Sports to televise NHRA events from the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series, the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, and the Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. FOX Sports networks aired more than 500 hours of programming throughout the year, highlighted by 22 race-day shows, including eight on FOX’s national network, in addition to primetime Friday night qualifying shows, and fans are in for more of the same this year.

NHRA has extremely loyal fans that are committed to the sport they love, and it’s easy to see why. They continue to have the best access to the behind-the-scenes action of racing. NHRA’s open-pits policy allows fans to get an up-close-and personal view of how teams rebuild engines. Drivers are often found in their pit areas, signing autographs and chatting with fans, who have the rare opportunity to get behind the wheel themselves in a variety of racing simulators in the Nitro Alley Fan Zone. Those are just a few reasons NHRA fans continue to be some of the most loyal in any sport.

For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.


About Mission Foods

Great food is a great motivator. It brings everyone to the table and inspires us to explore all kinds of delicious destinations. At Mission®, it drives us to seek the freshest ingredients, simple recipes, diverse flavors and wholesome products that help us discover all the places our tortillas can go. There are better-for-you destinations like with our high protein, low carb, or gluten-free tortillas. Of course, tacos and nachos are favorite stops. We are always up for those. www.missionfoods.com

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