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AMRA: Gas Coverage from No Problem Opener

American Motorcycle Racing Association

AMRA PennGrade1 motorcycle drag racing series race coverage report
PennGrade1 AMRA Cajun Nitro Nationals
No Problem Raceway, Belle Rose, Louisiana, USA
April 5-7, 2024

Gas Coverage from AMRA’s No Problem Opener

The PennGrade1 AMRA American Motorcycle Racing Association kicked off their 2024 season of Harley-Davidson drag racing at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, Louisiana, with the Cajun Nitro Nationals on April 5-7. You can find nitro coverage in a previous article, but here you’ll find the backbone of the sport. Gasoline classes—both sportsman and pro—are what fill the pits and staging lanes and make events like this great season opener possible.

Zipper’s Performance Pro Bagger

Riding a Jeremy Williamson whip, Rick Hunnicutt qualified number one with an 8.52 at 162 mph and won Zipper’s Performance Pro Bagger, beating New Orleans tattoo artist Jeremy Justice on a holeshot in the final. Hunnicutt’s .008 light was a superb cut of honey indeed. Justice’s .145 set himself a hurdle he couldn’t clear, putting his 8.80 at 166 behind at the stripe to Hunnicutt’s much slower 8.92 at 151.

Rick Hunnicutt
Rick Hunnicutt

“I want to thank Jeremy Williamson for giving me the opportunity to ride ‘Ole Heavy,’” said Hunnicutt. “We had a very challenging weekend. We did not have time to test before leaving Indiana for the opening race at No Problem. We fought a couple new engine issues, resulting in barely making Q2—which we ended up qualifying number one.

“Going into raceday, we knew the bike was hurt and was very conservative with the tune-up. Going into the finals with Jeremy Justice, we knew it was going to be a close race and that it was.

“Much thanks to Jason Crisp and his dad for help with parts at the track, probably wouldn’t have made the call without their generosity. Jeremy Justice and Crosby Blair also shared spare parts, both of which race in the same class. Great group of racers, we all have a huge respect for one another and frequently share knowledge, parts, and often dinner.

“Also thanks to Williamson Racing, GRC, Brian Murray and Murray Performance, Rodney ‘Bubba’ Shrum, Melissa Cressler Shrum, Revolution Performance, onefortyonespeed, Jason Clasquin, and C S Speedshop.”

Thundermax Street Bagger

Lafayette’s Scott Tomsu is the Louisiana face (and hair) of Bagger drag racing, and looked prepared to defend his home turf with lane choice in the Thundermax Street Bagger final. But fellow finalist Keith Evans was right there with him, ready to pounce if Tomsu should falter.

And that’s what happened. Tomsu had a slight .013 reaction time advantage but gave up .023 to the 60 foot. Totally recoverable, but things went really south for Tomsu when his kill switch lanyard got sucked into his velocity stack. While he struggled with that, Evans cruised to the win.

Keith Evans
Keith Evans

“It’s Darren Sheffer’s bike from Sheffer Performance Shop,” Evans said about the brilliant blue Bagger. “He asked me to ride for him this year, and the first time I ever rode the bike was Friday night. We wasn’t able to get any testing up here in Indiana.

“He built a monster though. I knew after the first pass we really had something. With a few tweaks I knew we could go rounds, but to end the weekend with a win was absolutely awesome! Hopefully it will be the first of many for us as a team.”

Axtell Cylinders Hot Street

Virginia racer Jason Crisp qualified number one and out-dueled a spirited Axtell Cylinders Hot Street field to take the win. Runner-up Casey Smith took the tree by .038 but gave up .069 to the 60 foot. His 9.48 at 131 came up short against Crisp’s crisp indeed 9.20 at 140.

Jason Crisp
Jason Crisp

“With the help of Dan Daffner at Axtell Cylinders and Phil Darcy of Darcy Racing Services and myself, we were able to get a cylinder head program together late last year that really worked for us,” said Crisp.

“We started making some 9.0 passes, so we basically left the bike alone all winter and showed up in Louisiana ready to race. We did make three test passes the Saturday before the race at No Problem and set a new personal best time. We didn’t make any 9.0 passes this weekend but we were very consistent in the 9.1s.

“I’m very happy with the bike and looking forward to the rest of the year and what we can do.”

“Jason was on a rocket with great numbers all weekend, but we made it to the finals against him,” said Smith. “On the way there, I hit a hole in the track, which broke the front header off the bike in the semis. Got it off, and my buddy Ryan Peery was able to take time and weld it up for me. Got it back on just in time to get back up for the finals against Jason. Without being able to look at the last pass, I just went with what we had in it. Turned on an .03 reaction light but just didn’t have it turned up enough to match that big 124 cubic inch motor in the other lane.”

Zippers Performance Modified

Hot Street runner-up Casey Smith also entered his no-bar bike in Zippers Performance Modified, where he qualified number one with a 9.54 at 127 and took the win over Kimberly “K-Charm” Deshields.

“It was one for the books for GEN2 Smith Racing,” said Casey. “Come off the trailer fighting some traction issues in Q1 of both classes. Calmed her down a little and put an A to B pass in it for a 9.26 ET in Hot Street. I never could better that lap.

Casey Smith
Casey Smith

“In Mod, I put down a 9.50s pass just to get some eighth mile data. Saw myself and Kimmie in the finals, which she is no easy win. Laid down a 9.40 ET to win my first ever Modified race with AMRA. I’m really looking forward to running it this year at a few events.

“Most of all, I couldn’t do it without the help of Chad Hart from XLXBHORSEPOWER and the #TwinZter set up we are running. He dreams up the HP and I just hold on.

“Andy Simon at Simon Motorsports helps me with our bottom ends to get that power to the rear tire. Harley-Davidson of Macon, Georgia, is a big supporter of my program as well with parts from the OEM side. If it wasn’t for those guys, I wouldn’t be as fortunate to get the few wins that we have.”

Pro Modified

As the only entrant, Billy Doherty had an easy path to the Pro Modified win and number one qualifier. “This year the owner of AMRA made a decision to allow people to drop a race during the season,” said Doherty, a Lake Charles H-D dealer. “The majority of my class lives up north and chose to not drive to the race this past weekend because of the distance. Where normally if you were going to contend for a championship you had to go to all the races.”

Billy Doherty
Billy Doherty

Doherty showed great consistency all weekend, running 8.88, 8.810 and 8.819 on a V-Rod instead of his familiar yellow Buell. “I built the motor for my PMFR V-Rod the week of the race. I will be racing some races on my V-Rod and others on the Banana.”

Doherty was racing his home event with mixed emotions. With his cat sick in the hospital, he panicked every time his phone rang. “She made it through the weekend and I picked her up, but yesterday morning she passed.

“This race is the closest for my mother to come to and get to see me race, and my customers and friends.”

Outlaw Street

Outlaw Street winner and number one qualifier Al Dula had few words to say about his Outlaw Street win over Scott Ianaro. “Everything fell into place and good reaction time,” said Dula, who’s .048 was miles ahead of Ianaro’s .392. Dula also ran a 12.16 at 107 to Ianaro’s 14.15 at 90.

Al Dula
Al Dula

Top Eliminator 9.30

Crank Lanktree qualified number one and won Top Eliminator 9.30, despite a .318 light against runner-up Monty Garrelts’ .055 in the final. Garrelts’ 9.97 was far off the number, allowing Lanktree to coast to the win with a 9.66.

Crank Lanktree
Crank Lanktree

Super Gas 9.90 and Thundermax Street Eliminator 11.50

Donnie Huffman has a stranglehold on Super Gas 9.90 index at No Problem Raceway, winning the class for the fourth straight year. This year’s final was a classic Huffman vs. John Shotts match-up, and Shotts buckled with a -.007 redlight. Chris Martin qualified number one.

Donnie Huffman
Donnie Huffman

Huffman also collected the Thundermax Street Eliminator 11.50 win, qualifying number one in that class as well. Donnie got a .035 to .072 jump on fellow finalist Josh Maikranz and powered to an early advantage. Maikranz came on strong at the end, crossing the stripe 14 mph faster than Huffman. But Donnie’s 11.56 was closer to the number than Maikranz’s 11.61.

Donnie thanked Vanson Leathers, R&R Cycles, Huffman Motorcycle Museum, and Huffman Performance and Restoration.

BK Electric Super Pro 10.30

Shotts also runner-upped in BK Electric Super Pro 10.30. Rick Miller won that one riding Jim Vanfleet’s NAPA “Christine” bike normally ridden by Heather Jendruch.

“Rick had to fill in for Heather due to her new employment,” said Vanfleet. “He rode Christine as if he owned her himself. He did a great job!”

Rick Miller
Rick Miller

Miller had a ,007 Bond bulb to Shotts’ .120 in the final, pushing John to breakout.

Pro Eliminator 10.90

Chris Phipps scored a quick win after a long day of Pro Eliminator 10.90 racing when Crosby Blair redlit by -.024 in the final.

“I’m just a blue collar racer from Southeastern North Carolina,” said Phipps. “I pride myself in building my bikes in my barn and having them able to compete at the national level.

Chris Phipps
Chris Phipps

“Got to thank Chad Hart at XLXBHorsepower for keeping our engines ready to race and being a great friend and sponsor. And Jim Vanfleet for being my mentor, teaching and keeping me focused. He’s a world of knowledge and I’m thankful he shares it with me and has took me under his wing.

“Most of all, I have to thank my wife Danielle for being the mother to our three kids Cayson, Nolan and Emma Katherine. Being a wife and mother is stressful enough but she’s also my right hand when it comes to servicing the bikes, adjusting valves and normal stuff cool wife’s do!

“Would like to thank my family at P&C Wrecker Service in Loris, South Carolina for always making sure the RV and trailer is serviced and ready to roll and any other thing I need.

“Can’t thank the AMRA enough for their efforts to give us a place to race and carry on the name and legacy of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles—a true symbol of America. Also thanks to Renegade Race Fuels, Hog Werks Custom Cycles, and KRS Plastics.”

Eliminator Dial-in

Neither Charlie Ange nor Ray Agent set the reaction time world on fire in their alphabetically-similar-last-names Eliminator Dial-in final. But Ange’s .186 on his ‘99 Sportster was better than Agent’s .260. That gave Ange enough cushion foot-shifting for the win despite Agent being .005 closer to his dial-in.

“Got off work Thursday afternoon at 5, got the truck and trailer loaded, and my buddy Jeremy and I and another friend Jessie left Mooresville, North Carolina, and drove down to Louisiana,” said Ange.

“When it comes down to thanking people, it goes down to Jeremy, who has been with me at the track since day one pushing me to go faster.

Charlie Ange
Charlie Ange

“Haven’t really been doing it long so I don’t have many sponsors but my close friends who like to see me go fast. My main man Arthur who always makes sure I make it to and from the track with whatever we need. To Ian and Skinny Wrench for always making sure I have the parts my old bike needs. My close friend Trey, who is always on standby for my carb questions, and to my best friend Fleet, who is always checking in on me and making sure I have everything I need.

“My beautiful, loving wife, who supports me from afar ‘cause we have a couple kids that just can’t take places like the track.

“I met and parked beside the Mutant Motors by Wolf (trailer) and that was the best experience anyone could ask for. Those guys are what hospitality is all about.”

Shutdown Area

These gasoline classes complete the coverage from AMRA’s Cajun Nitro Nationals at No Problem Raceway, but the next race at Cecil County Dragway is already called to the lanes. The Maryland Nitro Nationals take the tree April 26-28, so turn ‘em and burn ‘em!

For more information visit www.amralive.com / info@amralive.com / Facebook

2024 Schedule

The American Motorcycle Racing Association was formed over 30 years ago and is the only officially sanctioned association that is exclusively dedicated to American made, V-Twin based motorcycle drag racing in the world. Whether you’re interested in E.T. based racing, set index racing, heads-up or Top Fuel Nitro Bikes, we have a class for you. Membership is easy and the events are carried out in a way that makes it easy for beginners and veterans alike. All class designations and rules for each can be found here as well as the membership application. We are happy to welcome new racers and offer help to get you started. Join today and we’ll see ya at the track.

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