The Ones 2 Watch – Part 2
Sportsman drag racing during the Man Cup series of drag racing is as close as racing can get; that’s what makes it great drag racing. Side by side, all the way for 1320’ with most rounds decided at the stripe on the big end. If a sportsman motorcycle drag racer can’t cut a double-digit light when needed on the starting line, they have little chance of winning a Man Cup sportsman drag race. This is what makes it so satisfying when a racer takes a win at a Man Cup event; they know they’ve had to beat some of the best sportsman motorcycle drag racers in the country to get to the winner’s circle.
Hundreds of sportsman racers flock to Man Cup events every race, sometimes upwards of 400 of them in one weekend. So which ones are the ones to watch? That’s easy; the top five in any series reads like a who’s – who of motorcycle drag racing. But they can’t get all warm and fuzzy about that because cagey old veterans are frequently lurking in the shadows and they come out of nowhere from time to time just to teach the new guys a lesson. Class by class, the ones to watch are a collection of head hunters that would make any tribal leader proud.
In the Grothus Ultra 4.60 class of index racing, Ronnie Procopio took the championship for the class on the last race of the season. Always a tough performer, Ronnie won two of the five Man Cup events with his critical win at the Mann Hill Garage World Finals being his crowning achievement. And while he won the championship by nine points, Roderick Sanders, under the tutelage of veteran Doug Frierson, was well within reach of his first championship in 4.60 class.
A look at the points list in the class is a prime example of just how tough this class is to win in. In order, just behind Procopio and Sanders are: Chase Morris, Keith “Shine” Dennis, Bobby Lovingood, Joey Gladstone, Brunson Grothus, Joe Lemons, George Babor and Mike Thyen. That my friends is one tough top-ten to crack into! 4.60 bikes, if they ran out the back door of the 1320, would yield actual Pro Street bike times!
Star Racing Sponsored Top Gas in 2017 will be as challenging as ever with racers like class champion Chad Otts leading the way and R/U Ron Morris in the house. The top ten in T/G is a tough crowd indeed. Ricardo Marte, Harvey Hubbard, and John “Spooky” Markham round out the top five, with Matt Smith, Dalton Perry, George Jones, Scott Saemich and Mike Konopacki filling out the top-ten.
Konopacki is one of the winningest sportsman motorcycle drag racers in the history of the sport. He only raced two of the five Man Cup events in 2016 and still cracked the top ten. For any sportsman motorcycle drag racer to enter Top Gas, sooner or later they will find either Chad Otts or Konopacki in the adjacent lane and quickly they will find out just how good they are! Single digit reaction times are not uncommon in Top Gas racing. Racers need to bring their “A” game here or they are going home early.
MTC Super Comp class racing in 2017 will be epic..again! What a tough, tough class to win in. Matt Smith was the head of the class in 2016, just ahead of John “Spooky” Markham by a slim 7 points. The always tough Dusty Brazel, was in the third spot with Chad Otts and Mark McCoy rounding out the top five. The remainder of the top ten in order were; Harvey Hubbard, Barry Pryer Sr., Wade Smith, Calvin Mason, and Ronnie Johnson.
Sound like a tough crowd? Cheer up, it gets worse. Other class mates in Super Comp are heavy hitters like Luis Hornedo, Dustin “BAMF” Lee, Gary Russell, Spencer Claycomb, Walter Houghtaling, Boo Brown and Jeremey Teasley. MTC Super Comp racing is super tough!
In the World Wide Bearings Crazy 8’s class, where the index is 8.88, street bikes really rule the roost. Today’s slightly modified street bikes now run the eight second elapsed time with ease. This makes things highly competitive and it’s within the grasp of entry level racers. But the ones to watch are hardly new guys. That’s not to say a new racer can’t crack the top ten, but that would take some doing.
The ten most wanted inCrazy 8’s are: 2016 class champion Wade Smith, followed closely by Bob Carlson, Danny Miller, Luis Hornedo, Dusty Brazel, Dustin “BAMF” Lee, Barry Pryer Sr, John Loney, Bryan Minor and Spencer Claycomb. With other tough guys like Ron Arnold, Michael Daddio, Curtis Griggs and Boo Brown in the ranks, Crazy 8’s is no easy place to be.
Wiseco Street Fighter class has one of the toughest top-ten’s to crack in motorcycle drag racing. Consider this; the ten tough ones in Street Fighter are, John Markham, Bob Carlson, Wade Smith, Dustin Lee, Roy Johnson, Barry Pryor, Danny Miller, Walter Houghtaling, Chris Roelse, and Tom Lagasse. This is a great entry level class for racers. But like all the Man Cup classes, beware the heavy hitters!
The D&G Chassis V-Twin class is where the Harley hot rods roam and they are a quick bunch. The top ten for the V-Twin crowd consists of: class champion Duane Schmidt, Barry Pryor Sr, Vance Houdyshell, Walter Houghtaling, Clint Riley, Rick Smoot, Manny Carrasqillo, Joe Peterson, Eric Knowles, and Chris Wood. It was encouraging to see close to two dozen different Harley/Buell guys hit the track in 2016. Hopefully this class will continue to grow in 2017.
MPS Pro ET racing is as tough as it gets in sportsman motorcycle drag racing. The toughest of them all in the class of 2016 was John “Spooky” Markham. And he’s brutal on the tree and at the stripe, he’s a racers – racer. To beat him a racer needs a very tight combination. MOV (margin of victory) here is frequently measured as thousands of a second. The top ten for 2016 were Spooky Markham, followed by, Chad Otts, Bob Carlson, Matt Smith, Bruce Rogers, Calvin Mason, Dustin “BAMF” Lee, Harvey Hubbard, Corky Dufrene and Pete Hubbard. Assassins like Gary Russell, Mike Konopacki show up on occasion and keep things interesting. These are the ones to watch in MPS Pro ET.
Last but by no means least, the Man Cup Street ET class is truly the heavy hitters club, led by Bad Bob Carlson and Stanley Russell, two genuine tough guys of Street ET racing. At the end of 2016 racing, only six slim points separated these two titans of the ET classes. The remainder of the top ten were; Clint Riley, Roy Johnson, Eric Griffith, John Loney, Wade Smith, Dusty Brazel, and Barry Pryer Sr.
Over 166 racers entered the points program in the Garwood/C&S Customs sponsored Street ET class for 2016. The cool thing about that is in street ET racing, it’s anyone’s race and that’s as it should be in drag racing – anyone on any Sunday can win. But these racers are the ones to watch!
|Until Next time…
– Tom McCarthy
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About Man Cup Motorcycle Drag Racing : Headquartered in Safety Harbor, Florida, Man Cup motorcycle drag racing is North America’s largest professional motorcycle drag racing sanctioning body. Man Cup promotes motorcycle drag racing on a national event basis for professional, sportsman and ET bracket racers alike and is open to riders of all skill and experience levels. The Man Cup Series is the only national event style motorcycle drag racing series comprised of events throughout the eastern half of the United States. For marketing opportunities with the Man Cup as well as more information on Man Cup Motorcycle Drag Racing, please visit www.mancup.info on the web or 7 2 7 – 7 4 2 – 5 2 4 5 voice/text.
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