HomeColumnsTom McCarthyRacers Ready for another year of Drag Racing

Racers Ready for another year of Drag Racing

Racers Ready for another year of Drag Racing

Dragbike.com Senior Editor Tom McCarthy can’t wait to get this race season started! And to kick off the year, he and our staff have compiled a list from racers as they prepare for another season of battles.

We appreciate everyone who took the time to respond to us, if you are not on this list, and would like to throw your plans in as well, just send us an e-mail to editor@dragbike.com

The BIG story for 2019 with the American Motorcycle Racing Association is the sanction is in transition. Marty and Jane VandenHeuvel, who has owned and operated the AMRA for 18 years have sold the sanction. A four-member business association consisting of racers: Bert Baker, Greg Baugh, Bill Rowe, and John JT Toth will work together during the 2019 season to assure this transition goes as smoothly as possible.


Kirby Apathy
Some slight carb-mods are happening and an EB box for the timers, but no big changes. They hope to run a lot more races this year but are searching for a strategic sponsor to come on board. “We are more than happy with our bike, and it’s performance. So in 2019, we will be seeking better consistency for our program and less breakage.”


Preston Bartlett
We will do our best to continue our winning ways and have fun while doing it! We do need to find some sponsorship dollars along the way, that would help us a lot. “We look forward to seeing our racing family out there, and we hope for a safe year for all the teams.”


Mike Beland
Beland will start the 2019 season in Pomona with Tony Ruggiero and the Nitro Syndicate team to compete in the in the Nitro Harley class. “My shop, A1 Cycles is booming, and I have a lot of irons in the fire. I will also be racing AMRA in the Bagger series, and that is going to be a TON of fun! So nitro and wheelies for me in 2019.”


Bill Benton
The Bill BentOn/Sam Green racing team intends to campaign 3 Hondas of the SOHC 750 type configuration at all five Man Cup events. “We plan on setting some records in Cycle X Super Eliminator, so stay tuned. I’m also working in replication the Gary Pena/Byron Hines Pro Stocker, and we hope to have it ready for the World Finals in November.”


Pete Browne
Their heads on the Turbo-bike is being re-done with improvements to the valve-train. This modification will raise the heads, so frame alterations may be in order. They may also add a small windshield to the bike to break the airstream and get the airflow off Keith’s helmet. They also have their next generation of this bike in the works, so he has a lot going on!


Boo Brown
Currently, he is redoing his 4.60 and Top Sportsman bikes. He will be racing the XDA series, select Man Cup events and other events of interest as time permits. This year he will be focused on the championship points chase, since his accident, he’s more focused than ever.


Mitch Brown
The Bradley/Brown Top Fuel motorcycle is currently in my shop at Monster Race Products – we tore it down to the frame to inspect everything. Sam Wills is freshening up both of our engines, while I machine up a new cylinder block, I windowed one at last race. We’re also adding one of the new carbon-fiber rear brake assemblies to the machine. Our team hopes to do some pre-season testing and we intend to be at 5 to 6 of the events in 2019. We are gunning to be the 6.0 bike we need to be this season.


Jeremy Burt
For 2019 they are enacting small changes and improvements to their program to be more consistent in the index classes. “I’m looking forward to improving on the 2018 season performance.”


Manny Taco Carrasquillo
He is preparing the V-Rod for the Wiseco Street Fighter class competition again this year. But we will also be racing in V-Twin and Street ET with the Man Cup series. “I also have plans to support the new owner’s group that is taking the leadership of the new AMRA by attending a few of their races as well.”


Spencer Claycomb
Claycomb’s 2019 season will be a new racing program. He struggled a bit last season by racing in two, sometimes thee classes at the same event. This distracted him somewhat from the Real Street racing program, and he isn’t letting this happen again. “We will be more focused in 2019. Plus, we will be running a second Real Street bike with a new hired gun in the seat, which will give us twice the data to work with. Our goals for the year: set new records for ET & MPH, and score championships with the Man Cup, XDA and NHDRO series.”


Kelly Clontz
2019 we plan to use all the information we learned in our first full season in 2018! We now have a starting point at each track! We look to qualify better and make more consistent runs! The work we have put in over the off-season is going to pay off!


Elmer Cromer
Cromer won’t have many changes for his bike for this year. “I plan on racing Man Cup, some XDA and Kings of Grudge. I really will be working hard on my 60’ times this season, and this should lead to some better finishes and having more fun.”


Brian Dale
Since entering competition two years ago, Dale has accomplished several top-5 finishes on a true hand-clutch bike, while running in three different classes. “This year we are looking at adding a bar-bike and hope to compete in as many as five classes. Todd Heiser’s old Funnybike is now in the garage getting a few upgrades. Soon it will have a button and a Gen-2 Busa motor in it. 2019 will be intense!”


Dimey Eddinger / Team DME 
The owner of DME Racing has his hands full with his staff working overtime, and several bike builds in progress. They will be fielding a new Pro Street bike based on the GSX-R platform ridden by Jeremy Teasley. Andy Sawyer is hard at work making changes to the other team bikes, and they hope to be out testing this month. This team promises that 2019 will be interesting. Stay Tuned!


Ted Favino / Ortiz Racing
Favino plans on mixing it up with a little of everything in 2019, KOG, ManCup, Pro Street, Heavy Hitter, Crazy 8’s, and some grudge. The team has two more bikes coming out this year which has forced them to order a bigger trailer for the 2019 race season. This should be an exciting year for Ortiz Racing, stay tuned!


Armon Furr
Armon is looking forward to see the changes and developments with the AMRA, and plans to support them fully. “Orangeburg Cycle Racing will continue to work with some of the top level Top Fuel Teams in the NHRA with the latest in technology, we also have some new carbon fiber products coming out later this year, so keep an eye out for them”


Rob Garcia
Garcia plans to run some of the Man Cup events, but mostly the new XDA Pro Xtreme class with turbocharging. His Pro Mod bike is currently down at DTM Performance being outfitted for the turbo by Dan Wagner. “We are looking for 6.0’s in the ¼ mile and 3.80’s in the 1/8th. With all the new Turbo bikes being built this year, I think it will be great, can’t wait for the season to begin!”


Jean Gosselin
Gosselin Motorsports is out to defend their Pro Open Man Cup championship they achieved in 2018. His Canadian Express (2.0) drag bike has done its job, and it’s now time to raise the bar. “My motorcycle will soon be in the capable hands of Grothus Drag Bikes and will upgrade to Canadian Express 2.X-Factor! Once the team at GDB have completed the upgrades, the bike will head south to Texas where Shane ‘Showboat’ Eperjesi will breathe new life into this project. We hope to test before the first race and get the most out of this wild ride in 2019!”


Jordan Haase
In 2019, Haase will build on the experience of 2018. There will be some minor adjustments, to keep up with where the class is heading. They also have new parts coming out of the shop to integrate into their program. “My goal for 2019, is at least a Top 5 finish, if not the championship with XDA.”


Chris Hand
The Red Neck Express team is looking forward to the 2019 Man Cup Series. Hopefully, the woes of 2018 are behind them, and they can move in a positive direction. “The Red bike set up will remain virtually the same, apart from a fairly significant change in the delivery side of our Aviaf-fuel system. We will also have a new Puma gear drive bottom end in the bike for this season. The new bottom end is a lovely piece of music, built to the highest standards by Ian King and Marius van der Zijden. Contingent upon funding, we hope to attend the entire Man Cup schedule. We want to express our appreciation of Jay Regan and the Man Cup family for all the work they put into producing a top-shelf racing environment.”


Gaige Herrera
“I’m excited for the season to start, we changed a few things and found some more horsepower to keep us in the fight with all these turbos. We plan on running the XDA series this year, so come out and see us!”


Vance Houdyshell
Houdyshell is looking forward to the 2019 Man Cup motorcycle drag racing series. Man Cup and the Vance & Hines V-Twin class has given him the opportunity to develop one-off V-Twin drag bikes and take them to the winner’s circle. “This year will be Daisy’s farewell tour, and we hope to make this three back-to-back championships.


Don Horta
“We will have the Busa going this year in Crazy 8’s, Super Comp and I’ll be racing some Street Fighter too.  I’m excited to announce a new teammate for 2019, my oldest son, Tate Horta. He will begin competing in Street ET and V-Twin classes initially. We hope to do our share of winning together this year.  I’m also looking forward to racing with my buddy Walter Houghtaling of Mystic, CT – it’s racing buddies that make this fun!”


Jeff House
We have some improvements we are working on. Our participation in 2019 will be relative to how things are looking, come spring-time, we’ll see.


Jason Herron
For the 2019 racing season, Herron plans on racing our old GS drag bike in 5.60 and ET at local venues. That bike won the 2007 SEMDRA Super Gas and 2009 MIROCK Championship. “In Real Street, I do have something happening, but can’t give out details just as yet. If all works out, we will be competing in all the XDA races as well as a few Man Cup events. 2019 is looking like one of my best season’s I’ve had in many years.”


Harvey Hubbard
We have a new 4.60 bike underway for the 4.60 class, that’s our new project for 2019.


Kevin Hutchinson
The winter has been busy for Hutchinson with a complete rebuild of the bike. “Doug Flannery, who built the motor, is currently refining the cylinder head, and Bill Bune Enterprises did the crank, and the frame is going out for upgrades to Derrick Brothers Chassis, in MI. We will be ready by the start of the season.”


Billy Jack
“In 2019, my Controlled Chaos racing operation will attend select NHRA events and some AMRA events. I will also do a few Nitro Funnybike class races with the AMRA. We are actively seeking marketing partners for sponsorship and we have a new big-rig in the works. This can help us partner with other Nitro Harley teams in getting to and from national events. Friends helping friends is what it’s all about, God Bless!”


Roy Johnson
“I am looking forward to attending XDA’s events in 2019 and doing some local races.”


Dustin Lee
My focus for 2019 is to have FUN. I will be racing XDA, some NHDRO, and perhaps more, but my real focus in 2019 is to have FUN!


Murray Lonsbary
In 2019 Lonsbary is going with my same build from 2018, a 2006 ZX-14, with a 2013 Gen II power plant. This combination works well for Crazy 8’s and the other classes he runs. “Last year I made 2 Man Cup and 3 NHDRO events. This year I’m looking for that first win in Crazy 8’s, I came close with a runner-up last season. I hope to do this again in 2019 and possibly add a third Man Cup event. As one can understand, living in Ontario, Canada, the logistics, for traveling to the USA calls for extended drive times. I logged in over 5,000 miles last season alone. But the excellent tracks, professional organization and world-class competition make these marathon drives for this Canuck worthwhile.”


Jim Martin
The Bad Influence racing team is planning to attend all of the AMRA 2019 events in the Pro Fuel class. “We will also run select Man Cup events as time and funding allow. We finished 3rd & 4th in points, respectively for the last three seasons. Our hunt is on for that elusive #1 plate! We’ve added a few updates and refinements to our bike and race program; see you at the track!”


Alisha Malone
This year Malone has made serious changes to her Real Street bike, including a stand-alone ECU, new exhaust system, shock, and new carbon fiber wheels. “We are coming out much lighter and faster in 2019 and plan on seeing consistent 7’s up on the scoreboards this season.”


Mac McAdams
McAdams will be at all XDA events competing mostly in 4.60, Top Sportsman and Pro ET. He will also compete at Colonial Beach in their 4.60 events. “I’m super excited for 2019!”


Larry McBride
They are so buried at Cycle Specialist, it’s the busiest Steve and Larry have ever been. “We are a little behind on my bike, as we have Jimmy Brantley and Dave Vantine’s Top Fuel bikes to prepare as well. Along with the other bikes we have in the sho, we are just nose to the grindstone over here. We hope to be ready by April for Pingel Top Fuel at Man Cup.”


Eric McKinney
The McKinney team will have the same combination from last year with some minor changes for improvements. “We will still be a two bike team with Ashley Owens and myself. We will do our best by being the top two at every event we show up at! And want to try and lower the national record this season.”


Ralph Medrano
For 2019, Medrano will be campaigning the former Charlie Farr Pro Mod in the highly competitive class of Grothus Dragbikes Ultra 4.60 with Man Cup. “I’m looking forward to another season of Man Cup racing, and we might do a few XDA events as well if time permits.”


Thomas Miceli
Miceli plans to attend the XDA series with his son Tommy again this year. Tommy will run crazy 8’s and Dad will start the season testing, with the intention of entering the DME Racing Real Street class before the close of the season.


Chris Moore
The grudge racer that isn’t affraid to say what he thinks will find himself in a new arena this year. Moore will expand the Moore Mafia team into XDA Pro Street! With his latest bike build almost ready to hit the dyno, he plans to be at the season opener ready to show out.  His brother Alex will be running the Heavyhitter class at Kings of Grudge to defend his 2018 champion title, and CJ Fair will once again be on Red Bull in the Big 8 class. Anthony Weindel will be a new addition to the team later this year in the Real Street class. And if that wasn’t enough, Moore is also currently seeking a Big 8 bike for himself while keeping an eye out for a potential 4.60 ride to fill up his downtime. The Moore Mafia team will have a full plate this year, but they wouldn’t want it any other way. 


Tony & Jimmy Mullen
The Mullen Brothers racing team had a fantastic 2018 racing season competing in the Ultra 4.60 class. “We were thrilled with the outcome, though we did have our share of challenging moments during the season. We are discussing putting a new bike together to debut at the season opener, but as of now; who knows? Time will tell!”


Brad Mummert
The famous Old School GS Pro Street won’t be getting any significant upgrades for this season. With such a strong showing last year they will just need to tweak the current combination a bit. But sadly 2019 will be Mummert’s retirement tour. “We will be fighting for a championship this year as it will be my last full year out with the bike. After 2019 if I decide to race, it will on be a few times a year. But right now I am just focused on retiring with a championship to end the season.”


Ralphie Navarro
200+ Land Speed record holder Ralphie Navarro is no stranger to drag racing, and this year he is coming back in a big way. He has Stubbs Total Performance in Texas building him a competitive Real Street bike to run at all XDA events. His brother Saul will have his work cut out for him prepping bikes race weekends as Ralphie plans to also field a 5.60 bike, and possibly a 4.60 bike! The Navarro’s are also sponsoring the XDA season opener, the XDA Pro Street bonus race at the World Cup Finals in November.


Randy Parker Racing
Parker is making some minor changes to his ZX-14 in hopes to run more competitively in Crazy 8’s. I had an excellent year in Street ET taking a 3rd place finish with Man Cup against some very talented racers. “I hope to improve on this in 2019. This will be my son Zach’s second year in national competition. He will be building on what he learned last season. Also, my brother Chris will be joining us on his Busa this season.


Eric Paquette
“The DAS bike will be out early and often. We are planning on a full season of XDA racing and hope to make the last race of the year with Man Cup.”


Andie Rawlings
Team F@st is going to compete in at least 10 NHRA national events as well as a few Man Cup races. Andie Rawlings will be piloting her Suzuki with her own BPM racing engine program. “We have a few marketing partners coming on board with announcements being released soon.”


Mark Rendeluk
Rendeluk and Chris Wedman will have a learning curve this year as their bike is ALL-NEW! They hope to be testing in March so they can be ready for the Man Cup season opener. “After bouncing back from heart surgery last year, my goal is to run 6.30’s, then 6.20’s and on to the teens. This bike is lighter and stronger, and we are out to get all we can from it. We may even run a West coast series this year.”


John Red Rhea w/ Chris Smith PTS Racing
With riders Chris Smith and Don Rafferty, they will be racing primarily at AMRA events with Chris defending his 2018 Top Fuel championship and Don on their new Nitro Funny Bike. “We may run 5 or 6 NHRA events, but right now defending our #1 Top Fuel plate with vigor is the priority. We are actively seeking professional-level sponsorship to fund a hard charge at NHRA drag racing.


Ryan Schnitz
Schnitz’s main focus for 2019 is an XDA Championship in Pro Street class aboard the 2018 HTP Performance Turbo Suzuki GSX-R1000. After spending a year on this bike, they feel that we have a great platform to go rounds and win events. “On our 50th pass of this brand new model, we were able to run a near record-setting ET of 6.623 @217.88mph. Cecil at HTP has new engine upgrades that we hope will add some more dependability to the package and allow us to push it harder.”

“I’m also building a Pro Sportsman Dragbike to play with. This will be my take on a professional, purpose-built dragbike with the best products offered by Schnitz Racing. I’ll race this bike at select events where my schedule allows.”


Damian Solis
For 2019, the Apex Racing Team has a lock on another bike to add to the list of classes they will run. “We have worked out gremlins from last year, and I am looking forward to racing in Super Comp and Pro ET. I wasn’t happy with my 5th place finish in Pro ET, but can’t complain as it was my second year and the competition is fierce! Last year was tough, but I’ll be back bigger and stronger this season.”


Jake Stordeur
“I will be running the same bike I ran last season. You’ll see me at some NHRA and AMRA events this year, and we have a few new riders to add to the team as the season gets started.”


Frankie Stotz
After winning his first championship and Kent’s fifth, Frankie and his dad are looking to repeat their 2018 season with a new bike and get into the 6.50’s. They also plan to defend their national championship with NHDRO while helping someone win on last years World’s Quickest ProStreet bike.

This team hopes to start 2019 right where they left off in 2018. “We want to be the first bike in the 6.50’s, while winning some of the big money races like the Battle Royale, KOTS, Street Outlaws, we have high aspirations for 2019,” said Kent Stotz.


Michael Sweeney Jr.
“My team and I are making some changes to my real Real Street bike and we have another all-motor bike in progress for my fiance’ Ashley Cotnoir who will be racing in Real Street this year. Sweeney Racing is coming out strong in 2019, thanks to all our partners!”


Janette Thornley
“We are upgrading our Pro Fuel bike for 2019 and you’ll likely see us at all the AMRA events this season. More importantly, we are upping our efforts in reaching out to the business community at large and presenting our availability as a marketing partner. We seek to find a business whose passion for what they do matches ours, so we can grow together this season – we have some nitro that needs burning!”


Michael Thyen
As most of our racing world knows, Thyen’s entire racing operation was stolen in January. As of now, they were able to recover the race bike, but nothing else. “I’m very grateful for this, don’t get me wrong, but right now, I’m not sure what the racing season holds for us in 2019. I want to thank all my friends and supporters who stood by us in dark times, we will have to wait and see what the future holds for us.”


Cecil Towner / HTP Performance
For 2019, HTP will participate in the full XDA Pro Street series and make appearances at NHDRO and Man Cup with Ryan Schnitz piloting the 2018 GSX-R1000. There are also talks of building a bike to compete in Real Street to showcase their expanding line of performance parts. After flirting with the 6.50’s last year, HTP will continue to push for improvement of their program and the advancement of the sport of motorcycle drag racing.


Doug Vancil
“We are pretty much running the same for 2019, as we did last year, just refining things – no blower bike yet.”


Dave Vantine
The Vantine motorsports team will be racing all the Man Cup events and have every intention of contending for #1 this year. “We have the bike and the team that can do the job, we just need to take this to the next level and we are determined to do exactly that.” As soon as Cycle Specialist has their new bike done, they will move on from the yellow bike and race the new one.


Johnny Vickers
For 2019 Vickers is committed to helping Sam White on the Terminator bike. They plan to run the entire Man Cup schedule and hopefully some AMRA events. Steve will again accompany Dennis Fisher during 2019, they plan to run select NHRA events, as well as the AMRA events. “In the shop we have been busy designing and machining new parts for our Top Fuel motorcycle program. We plan to expand the shop early this year, adding a fabrication area. This will bring our chassis construction and fabrication work in house, lots of interest out there. 2019 should be a great year of racing.”


Rich Vreeland
2019 brings a lot of new changes for Team Vreeland Harley Davidson. With the retirement of Tony Van Kirk, after 13 years as crew chief, Samir Deadbear Mashini has stepped up to the plate as the new crew chief. “We have upgraded our clutch management system on both our Top Fuel and Nitro Funnybike machines. We will have a second nitro pilot this season with Dennis Waldron racing a Pro Fuel bike. He is a 5-time AMRA champion from the sportsman ranks stepping up to AMRA Pro Fuel with us.”


Shawn Welch
“The bike will have a new look in 2019, with the help of my friend Larry Phillips at Hardcore Cycles. My team will also be adding a second bike this season, a 2012 Hayabusa. My step-son Stephen Walker, who is a newcomer to the sport, will be riding this bike. And of course, the quest for a Man Cup championship continues!”


Branon White
M3 Mad Monkey Motorsports has partnered with Top Fuel Harley motorcycle drag racer Mike Beland, of A1 Cycles, to form a new multi-bike-team in 2019. “M3 will be expanding its presence in motorcycle drag racing for 2019, you’ll be hearing from us soon!”


Rodney Williford
“We are doing much the same for this year, winning races and breaking records.”


Tyler Wilson
“I will definitely be out there defending my 2018 Pro Fuel Championship! I also have advancements to my fuel racing program underway that once fully developed will certainly step-up my racing program.”


Willis Racing
Charles Willis and Janie Palm plan to kick it back into high gear in 2019. After a three year hiatus, they will again enter the NHRA track points series at Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis. Gateway also has a new and exciting series for index racers called the “VP Racing Lubricants Mid-America Super Car Showdown” which features three classes for motorcycles; 9.50 Index, 8.88 Index and Outlaw Street Motorcycle. The team plans to enter all three classes. “We have some tentative plans to do some traveling this year so don’t be surprised if we show up at a race near you!”


Niki Zak
“We will race all Man Cup events this year and then get on with my CH3N02 goal. I am currently very focused on The Pony (Juice) and excited to have tune-up ace Jim Clapsaddle on my team. We will be going quicker with the latest technology and upgrades. During 2018 I increased my investment in racing state-side by forging my own race team and the purchase of a new hauler and race trailer; this team is GOING places! My Website www.nikizak.com & Zak’n Racing Apparel is doing great with my philosophy to employ Americans and support America being unchanged since I first came to race at Man Cup in November 2015. Sponsors and marketing partners welcome.”


XDA Pro Xtreme
This brand new class created by the XDA will be the hottest new thing happening for the 2019 race season. This all new 1/8 mile, heads-up class will feature the world’s quickest turbocharged, nitrous injected or injected nitro dragbikes. Minimum weight for the class will be 700 pounds. Full rules for the class can be read by clicking here.

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