HomeColumnsTom McCarthyNHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Features Top Fuel Motorcycles of Yesterday

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Features Top Fuel Motorcycles of Yesterday

2023 NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series – Reunion
Beech Bend Raceway Park
June 15-17, 2023

NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series Features Top Fuel Motorcycles of Yesterday

Attention all fans and racers who enjoy the history of Top Fuel motorcycle drag racing. A selection of Top Fuel motorcycles will be displayed at this year’s NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series event on June 15-17, 2023, at historic Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, KY. Top Fuel motorcycle event promoter Frank Spittle has coordinated with the NHRA to bring some historic machines from the earliest years of drag racing back into the public eye.

Top Fuel motorcycles from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s will represent the full spectrum of Top Fuel bikes that thrilled crowds and became the foundation of today’s amazing Top Fuel bikes that can now eclipse 260 MPH and cover a ¼ mile drag strip in close to 5.5 seconds.

Motorcycle drag racing historian John Stein will be in attendance with two Top Fuel bikes from his personal collection. He is bringing Clem Johnson’s famous “Barn Job” Vincent and also the twin-engine Triumph “Stage Fright.” Pete & Jackie Hill will be there with one of Pete’s supercharged Knucklehead Top Fuel Harley Davidson bikes. Sid Chantland and his dad will escort Sonny Routt and his magnificent double to the display area. Glen Kerr, his famous Double Trouble, Jay Rogers, and his twin-engine Harley “Black Betty.” Roland Stuart and his son Chuck are working to get Roland’s supercharged Suzuki “Sayonara” Top Fuel bike ready for the event.

Frank Spittle, who has put together this assemblage of Top Fuel racers, will also be there with his “Freight Train” double-engine Top Fuel Harley. He purchased the bike originally from Elmer Trett in the early 1980s and raced it until 1986. He’s kept the bike in running condition to this very day. Frank is also bringing Danny Johnson’s “Goliath” as well.

A concerted effort is in the works to bring Chet Herbert’s “The Beast” to the display. This motorcycle is one of the most important and historical machines in motorcycle drag racing history.

As an extra added attraction, Johnny Vickers and his Hawaya Racing enterprise have been working with the NHRA Museum management team to bring wheels-up racing action to the event on track. Four modern-day Pro Fuel bikes will make exhibition passes to thrill the crowd with their legendary hiked-up front ends, thundering down the ¼ mile as they have throughout the history of fuel bike racing. Modern-day Pro Fuel racers Sam White, Mary Dangrow, Richard Boone, and Jim Martin have committed to performing at this prestigious event. Together they will bring the thunder, sponsored by Hawaya Racing Products.

Johnny Vickers has been consistently supporting the Nitro Harley racing community for decades and had this to say about his involvement, “When Frank Spittle called me to ask about having some of the Pro Fuel riders come out and support the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series, I jumped at the chance. I feel it is my duty to give back to the sport and do what I can to help move it forward, and I will continue to do this for as long as I am capable of doing it.”

Significant luminaries of the era will also be in attendance, such as; Joe Thronson, and John Gregory, the mechanical genius behind the T.C. Christensen “Hog Slayer.” John Dixon, pioneered many concepts used by Top Fuel bike teams today. Marion Owens and his son Bruce are on the docket to be there as well and Byron Hines, who together with Terry Vance made significant contributions to the development of modern-day Top Fuel motorcycles.

Details on the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series can be found on the NHRA’s website, click here

Tom McCarthy Until Next time…

– Tom McCarthy

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