NHRA : New England Nationals Featuring Top Fuel Harley

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09_Epping

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
4th annual NHRA New England Nationals
New England Dragway, New Hampshire
June 3-5, 2016

Top Fuel Harley

Monday

NHRA Top Fuel Harley Eliminations Underway!

The rain delayed (24-hrs) New England Nationals kicked off at exactly 10:59 AM, EST after Mother Nature put the race on hold for a day.  Today, June 6, 2016, the rain-delayed race kicked off with Top Fuel cars when eliminations officially began. 16-0606-tf-harley-tracy-kile





Top Fuel Harley was called to the lanes at 11:30 AM and all eight teams, answered the call.  The first pair out was Bobby Malloy Vs Len Darnell.  Jay T was #1 qualifier so he opted to race Ricky House at the back of the pack as opposed to running first pair out.  Bobby was first out with a killer .001 off the line coupled with a 6.66 elapsed time to Len’s .047 light and a 6.49.  Len took it to the stripe first and Len Darnell will face Jay Turner in round two.

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Tii Tharpe was next up taking on Frank Capone.  Tii’s 6.43 in qualifying was evidence he had a handle on his baseline.  At the flicker of the green light, Tii was out first with a .073 RT to Fank’s .086, Capone was up in smoke by the tree and Tii motored on with a 6.99 to win the round.

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Tracy Kile and Rich Vreeland were the next pair to the starting line.  Tracy has been a picture of consistency for team Bad Apple Racing, producing 6.30’s and 6.40’s most every race (Valdosta, Norwalk, Epping) this season.  When the light turned green, Tracy was off the line quickly and delivered the quickest ET of the meet so far with a 6.34 @ 217 to Rich’s 6.70, who had his best pass of the weekend.

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The big match up, of the round was the Bull Dog and the Nitro Shark.  Jay “Bull Dog” Tuner Vs Ricky “Sharky” House.  These two bike are easily the most powerful in the race at this event.  After boisterous burnouts by both racers, they pre-staged and staged with care.  Jay was out of the gate first with a .036 reaction time, he crossed the stripe first with a 6.37 elapsed time and Sharkey posted a 6.45 that was right on Jay, but not quite quick enough.

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In the semi-final round, Tii Tharpe eliminated Tracy Kile, with a 6.43 to Tracy’s 6.53 and Jay Turner eliminated Len Darnell when Len went up in smoke and had to get out of it.  This set up an all “Jay Turner Racing” final as both bikes run out of the JTR racing stable.  And they put on a hell of a drag race for the fans.

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Jay’s .031 light was only a tick quicker than Tii’s .032 and they were glued to the thousand foot mark and Jay beat Tii to the stripe with the low elapsed time of the weekend, 6.29 @ 223 MPH of Tii’s 6.46 effort.  This is Jay’s second Wally of the season in NHRA competition, and will give him a big jump in the points.  If he can keep the pace up, he may win the NHRA and the IHRA Top Fuel bike championships this season!

 

Elimination Round 1

(W) Len Darnell (’14Harley) 0.047 6.493 213.10
(L) Bob Malloy (’09Buell) 0.001 6.662 199.40

Malloy with a near perfect light, but Darnell has the difference made up by the time they go by the Christmas tree and take the win

(W) Tracy Kile (’16Weekend) 0.148 6.349 217.74
(L) Rich Vreeland (’13Weekend) 0.091 6.704 194.16

Vreeland with the starting line advantage, but Kile has the lead by the time they go by the Christmas tree and takes the win. He runs his quickest pass of the weekend for the win. Vreeland with is quickest pass of the weekend in the losing effort.

(W) Tii Tharpe (’15Dixie) 0.073 6.998 178.78
(L) Frank Capone (’01Harley) 0.086 8.854 118.29

Capone with a great light but then started to smoke the tire and was on and off the throttle, but Tharpe had the lead by 100 feet and never trailed from there on for the win. He will give up lane choice to Kile in the semifinal.

(W) Jay Turner (’10Harley) 0.036 6.379 215.68
(L) Rickey House (Javalina HDCC Forbes ’13VTS) 0.070 6.455 216.51

Turner with the starting line advantage and never trailed for the win. He is just a few ticks off his qualifying time for the win. He will have lane choice over Darnell in the semifinal. House with his quickest pass of the weekend in the losing effort.

 

Elimination Round 2

 

(W) Jay Turner (’10Harley) 0.024 6.406 213.94
(L) Len Darnell (’14Harley) 0.013 9.461 97.71

Darnell with the starting line advantage, but Turner with the lead by 100 feet and takes the win.

(W) Tii Tharpe (’15Dixie) 0.058 6.432 201.13
(L) Tracy Kile (’16Weekend) 0.106 6.539 208.30

 

Final Round

(W) Jay Turner (’10Harley) 0.031 6.292 223.32
(L) Tii Tharpe (’15Dixie) 0.032 6.467 198.03

Turner with a tick advantage on the tree and the win. He runs the quickest pass of the weekend for the win.

 

Sunday

NHRA officials postponed eliminations for the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway until Monday, June 6, following a day of lengthy rain delays. Officials worked during the course of the day to dry the track, but intermittent and steady rains forced the postponement.

Racing will resume at 11 a.m. on Monday with Top Fuel taking to the track to start the day. The schedule for Monday will remain the same as Sunday.

 

Saturday Qualifying

It’s the fourth consecutive year for the NHRA, Mellow Yellow big show in Epping, NH and the NHRA North East Nationals is a big hit with the fans and most racers.  During qualifying on Friday and Saturday of the event, the Top Fuel Harley drag bikes delivered a solid performance that underscored why the class is a hit with the fans, especially in New England.

Ten T/F bikes made the trek north to New Hampshire where the mosquitoes are said to be the size of seagulls as Elmer Trett once quipped.  The vast majority of Top Fuel bike teams are from the southern USA and it’s no secret that the teams are not fond of going north to race, but they do and even Canada is not out of the question if the racing is good.  Likewise the Canadian teams, like Kevin Boyer’s Top Fuel bike team, All Steel Builders and others venture to the USA, so the exchange rate for CH3NO2 seems to be working fairly well, much to the fans (and racers) delight.

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The NHRA, New England Nationals on Saturday was an official sold out show. In this photo taken at just before 1 PM Saturday, June 4th, there are 1320′ of shoulder to shoulder people in this photograph. Tom McCarthy, Digital Image Now, photo.

 

“Hey, where is Jay Turner in the pits” one fan asked me, “I’ve got a T shirt I got from him years ago and I need him to sign it for me.”  I gladly gave directions to the man and he was all smiles.  He was waiting for Jay and the other T/F bike teams to return to New England Dragway, they’ve not been here in force as a professional class in over a decade.  Nitro Harleys from the IHRA affiliated days of New England Dragway were a BIG hit with the New England fans, it’s been over a decade since the class raced as a class in competition here at NED.  And yes, the fans have been waiting that long just to get autographs.  The New England fans LOVE nitro Harley racing, they can’t get enough of it.  Much to their delight, the big bikes delivered in spades during qualifying.

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Jay Turner of Julian, NC turned it up with a 6.37 @ 222 MPH for the #1 qualifier spot in T/F Harley at the NHRA North East Nationals. Tom McCarthy, Digital Image Now, photo.

 

Number one qualifier for the wheels-up crowd, Jay Turner of Julian, NC, thundered to the number one spot with a stout 6.37 at 222 MPH for low qualifier and top speed of the meet during qualifying.  While the fans love the thunder and the eye watering nitromethane Jay’s bike puts out, to the veterans of the sport and the nitro-junkie fans, Jay’s bike is just different.  It has a very uncluttered look about the fuel system and overall appearance of the bike that draws people in.  Everything on the bike is massive, but it’s not overly busy looking.  So the fans just gawk at it and try to understand its layout.  Mr. J.T. know’s nitro and his bikes show it.  Jay will square off against Ricky House in round one of eliminations.

Jay’s second bike at this race, driven by Tii Tharpe qualified #2 with Tii’s 6.43 @ 219 MPH run.  Tii really put on a show for the nitro Harley faithful during Q-3 on Saturday.  His parachute popped out on the starting line and Tii traveled 1320 feet of race track in 6.61 seconds at 200 MPH!  His previous 6.43 was slowed by two-tenths as he just hauled his laundry down the entire race track giving the fans and the announcer much to talk about.  NHRA’s announcer Brian Lohnes could not resist sharing with the fans the replay of Tii’s run, delivering a play-by-play as the giant Jumbotron replayed Tii’s pass in front of a sold out audience.  There was much applause Tii could not hear in his helmet, but believe me when I till you, the fans loved it.  1000’ horsepower Harley Davidson, hammer’s-of-hell, would not be held back by a puny parachute: Brian showed the fans in live broadcast how Tii’s front wheel came up on the launch, stayed up past half-track, parachute still trying to slow him, 1000’ feet the front tire was still in the air, parachute or not, then the front wheel came back to earth and Till clicked it off after the finish line.

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Tii Tharpe of East Bend NC is the #2 qualifier even with his laundry hanging out. Tom McCarthy, Digital Image Now, photo.

He commented after the run, “It felt weird, I don’t know how else to describe it, the whole run was just, what the hell, ya know?  I hit the release twice after the run and there was no sudden pull so I knew something was not right.”  No matter, Tii is in the big show and he’s paired against Frank Capone in round one of eliminations for Sunday’s race.

Bobby Malloy of Boninfante Friction qualified forth for the event with a 6.46 and he’s paired up with Len Darnell of Vancover, WA who made quite the trip to get to this race.  Len’s 6.50 in qualifying was a good number for him to get in the show with, but that bike, just like Bobby’s T/F bike has a ton more in it.  If either of them find the combination for the prevailing conditions at race time, both of these bikes are capable of six-thirties or better.

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Bobby Malloy of Elkton, MD turned in a 6.46 performance during qualifying to land in the #4 spot. He will take on Len Darnell in eliminations. Tom McCarthy,Digital Image Now, photo

 

Tracy Kile of Bad Apple racing will face off against Rich Vreeland in the final pair on race day.  T.K. as he’s often referred to has a 6.44 showing in his hand, but his cards run deeper than what he’s showing so far this race.  Rich Vreeland’s 6.76 is his quickest pass ever on his T/F bike so Rich will have to step it up a bunch to stay ahead of Tracy if the Bad Apple man puts the spurs to his horses.  Tracy’s normal runs are in the thirties and so far this season he’s been mighty consistent.  This could be a good match up if Rich can step up.

While Kevin Boyer of Boyer Racing did not make the show, his trip from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in support of Top Fuel Harley racing is well noted.  His team just could not get the combination right this race so they are packed and ready for the next race.  Let’s face it, the 1320 teaches us all new things every outing.  Kevin and his team are ready for that next race and at least they got to see a Red Sox game at Fenway Park while they were in town.

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Tracy Kile of Asheville, NC will take on Rich Vreeland on race day during eliminations. Tom McCarthy, Digital Image Now, photo.

Peter Geiss of Huntington, NY also did not make the show.  This was his first race in competition with his Top Fuel bike.  The machine was once the monster owned and ridden by “Chicago Joe” and it’s a beast.  Peter will get it together over time and we’ll see him again this season.

Eliminations are set for 11 AM, EST for Sunday’s race.

Saturday Qualifying

1. Jay Turner ’10Harley 6.376 222.29
2. Tii Tharpe ’15Dixie 6.437 219.47
3. Tracy Kile ’16Weekend 6.441 216.03
4. Bob Malloy ’09Buell 6.465 203.71
5. Len Darnell ’14Harley 6.506 214.93
6. Rich Vreeland ’13Weekend 6.765 194.41
7. Frank Capone ’01Harley 7.051 148.99
8. Rickey House Javalina HDCC Forbes ’13VTS 7.112 208.62
——— Not Qualified ———
9. Peter Geiss ’10Weekend 8.446 112.37
10. Kevin Boyer Ace Manufacturing ’15Boyer 9.065 178.92

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Friday Qualifying

With a 6 PM start set, the Top Fuel Harleys took to the New England Dragway 1320 for their first round of qualifying on day one of the New England Nationals at 6:13 PM. On top as the number one qualifier for the first of three sessions is Tracy Kile, of Ashville N.C. His 6.44 @ 216 MPH was both the quickest and fastest of the day.

Tracy was up early today putting the wrenches to the bike and it paid off for him. The 6.44 is just a tick off his consistent six-thirty’s pace he’s been pounding out since April when he went to the final round of Top Fuel at the Man Cup Spring opening race at Valdosta.

#2 qualifier is Bobby Malloy of Elkton, MD who put a 6.46 up on the board off the trailer at 203 mph. Bobby is refining his bike, trying out new combinations and if he’s found the baseline he’s looking for, his numbers will drop in Q-2.

Rich Vreeland’s 6.77 @ 194 MPH put him in the third spot, with Frank Capone of Bad Apple racing in the number four slot 7.05 @ 148 MPH. Ricky House (7.11), Tii Tharpe (8.24), Peter Geiss (8.86), and Jay Turner, round out the initial eight spots. Kevin Boyer sits on the outside looking in at the end of day one. Len Darnell had a problem with his bike and will be in the mix tomorrow.

Qualifying Round 1

1. Tracy Kile ’16Weekend 6.441 216.03
2. Bob Malloy ’09Buell 6.465 203.71
3. Rich Vreeland ’13Weekend 6.773 194.41
4. Fank Capone ’01Harley 7.051 148.99
5. Rickey House Javalina HDCC Forbes ’13VTS 7.112 192.17
6. Tii Tharpe ’15Dixie 8.245 111.78
7. Peter Geiss ’10Weekend 8.862 105.13
8. Jay Turner ’10Harley 10.749 89.47
——— Not Qualified ———
9. Kevin Boyer Ace Manufacturing ’15Boyer 11.225 72.52

Rich Vreeland

Rich Vreeland is pretty happy with the #3 spot so far.

 

Tii Tharpe

Tii Tharpe and the Bull Dog are ready for better numbers in the next round of qualifying.

 

Frank Capone

Frank Capone of Bad Apple racing has room to improve, but is in the #4 spot after day one.

 

Bobby Malloy

Bobby Malloy is in the #2 qualifying spot so far. His 6.46 @ 203mph was second best.

 

Ricky House

Ricky House will be looking to improve his position during Q-2 at 1PM on Saturday.

 

Tracy Kile

Tracy Kile is the man to beat so far at the NHRA New England Nationals with a 6.44 @ 216 to lead the qualifying on day one, Q-1.

 

Jay Turner

Jay Turner had the wick turned up a bit too much and as you can see, spun the tire at about the 60′ clock ending his run. Fans were asking about Jay frequently today, he’s clearly a New England favorite.

 

Kevin Boyer

Kevin Boyer is outside the bump on day one. His team has two more chances to make the eight bike field.

 

Peter Geiss

Peter Geiss is in his first NHRA Top Fuel Harley race and hopes to improve tomorrow.

 

These numbers and qualifying positions will change quite a bit in the next 24 hours with Q-2 set for 1PM and 3PM tomorrow.

 

Tom McCarthy

Article by Tom McCarthy
 

Until Next time…

 

– Tom McCarthy

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