event: 22nd annual Jim McClure All-Harley Nitro Nationals
when: October 11-13, 2013
where: Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, North Carolina, USA

McClure Nats Thunder at The Rock 

story courtesy of Rockingham Dragway and Mark Cox, photos by Mike Swanson


Tommy Grimes throttles the Ray Price Top Fueler out of the Rockingham waterbox

In an event that included riders from Germany, Australia and Canada as well as from California and Colorado, it was local favorite Tommy Grimes who rode to victory Sunday in the featured Top Fuel category at the 22nd annual Jim McClure All-Harley Nitro Nationals at Rockingham Dragway.

Grimes, the veteran from Pfafftown, N.C., sped to a new national record of 6.197 seconds at 220.40 miles per hour in a final round victory over Mike Scott of Bling Bay, British Columbia in a field for which former IHRA All-Harley Champion Jay Turner of Julian, N.C., title contender Ricky House of Humble, Texas and international rider Joachim Riemer of Germany were able to qualify.

The man himself, Nutley's own Drums Brancacio MORE McCLURE NATS PHOTOS

Astride the hybrid Harley he campaigns out of Ray Price Harley-Davidson in Raleigh, Grimes raced to a speed of 227.96 mph en route to the No. 1 qualifying position but wasn’t able to satisfy criteria that would have made that the new American Motorcycle Racing Association speed record.

It was the only thing Grimes left on the table in a dominating performance. After qualifying No. 1 at 6.220, he stopped the quarter mile timers in 6.242 seconds to be Ray Cason in round one, at 6.198 to turn back points leader Randal Andras of Amelia, La., in the semifinals and 6.197 to beat Scott.

Mark Cox, who competes on the Romine Racing-prepared Top Fuel Harley-Davidson, turned his first time in the 6.20s, a career best ET 6.26 at 209 mph. “We made some adjustments to the bike to fit me better and improve my consistency and it really worked,” said Cox. “In the test and tune we dropped out of the truck with a 6.37 ET. That was a good base, so we only made one pass in the test and tune.”

Mark Cox on the Bojangles bike MORE McCLURE NATS PHOTOS

In qualifying with same conditions as the day before, Cox ran a 6.36 ET at 215 mph to get a solid number in the qualifying field, which placed him # 2 qualifier. In the second round of qualifying condition were perfect. Cox and Tommy Grimes paired off with Cox turning a 6.26 ET at 209 mph to Grimes’ 6.22 ET, impressive ETs for both Top Fuel riders. Third round qualifying was late in the evening with the dew falling and no time improvement was made. “With limited time on the bike and only my fifth race with the Horne-Romine Racing team, I was very excited to be running in the 20’s, although, we were shooting for #1 qualifier,” stated Cox. “Tommy Grimes ran very well, but I felt good about our position going into Sunday’s race.”

The first run of Sunday morning the team decided to make the set-up a little more conservative. Cox ran a 6.35 ET at 217 mph to win over Lyle Newton. “Preparing for second round, we were not overly aggressive but shooting to get back into our 20s time tune up,” added Cox. “As soon as we launched, we went into tire chatter, which drove us immediately into spinning the tire. It was a very disappointing loss in the round. We had high expectation of meeting Grimes in the finals. We are not sure what caused it, the conditions were cool and the track was tight. Prior to the run some sun peeking through, which may have changed the conditions.

Nitro Funnybike #1 qualifier Chris Streeter MORE McCLURE NATS PHOTOS

“All in all, it was a positive week for us. We made a lot of progress with the bike prep. We are pleased with the success of our weekend and able to put on a good show for our hometown fans in the Bojangles market. We want my teammate Doug Horne to have a speedy recovery from his accident at Bowling Green a few weeks ago and get back on the bike soon.”

Despite the loss to Grimes, Andras did not leave empty-handed. He turned back No. 1 qualifier Chris Streeter of Cleveland, Ohio, to win the Nitro Funny Bike title.

Bandito Ricky House boils the hide. MORE McCLURE NATS PHOTOS

Grimes and Andras shared the winners’ circle with Pro Fuel winner Rocky Jackson of Youngsville, La., Pro Gas champion Tom Caldwell of Knoxville, Tenn., and Pro Mod winner Joey Thompson of Hopewell, N.J.

Thompson beat Morry Strauble of Wyoming, Mich., in the Pro Mod final after Strauble stunned Jason Adams of Gainesville, Ga., in the semifinals when he used a .018 reaction time to make his 8.537 second time a winner against Adams’ much quicker 8.357.

Ease up on 'em Huff! Donnie Huffman won 3 classes at The Rock! MORE PHOTOS

Sportsman winners included Donnie Huffman of Lakeland, Fla., who won three classes and was runner-up in a fourth.

The track’s ambitious “Rocktoberfest” program continues this week with the return of the Super Chevy Show, a celebration of all things Chevrolet. The event will include a car and truck show, vendor midway, swap meet, bracket races and the 200 mile an hour Extreme Outlaw Pro Modifieds.

This guy's getting ready to spoon with his motorcycle MORE McCLURE NATS PHOTOS

Qualifying – 1. Tommy Grimes, Pfafftown, N.C., 6.220, 227.96 mph; 2. Mark Cox, Wilkesboro, N.C., 6.268, 217.49 mph; 3. Larry “Drums” Brancaccio, Nutley, N.J., 6.443, 211.89 mph; 4. Randal Andras, Amelia, La., 6.447, 214.42 mph; 5. Tracy Kile, Asheville, N.C., 6.539, 206.16 mph; 6. Mike Scott, Bling Bay, British Columbia, Canada, 6.594, 211.46 mph; 7. Lyle Newton, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, 6.780, 178.99 mph; 8. Ray Cason, Tampa, Fla., 6.971, 173.01 mph.
Did not qualify – Ricky House, Humble, Texas, 7.028, 163.79 mph; Joachim Riemer, Frankfort, Germany, 7.360, 174.03 mph; Jay Turner, Julian, N.C., 7.387, 128.07 mph; Peter Geiss, Huntington, N.J., 8.913, 119.03 mph.
Round 1 – Randal Andras, Amelia, La., 6.450, 212.19 mph, def. Tracy Kile, Asheville, N.C., 7.160, 160.06 mph; Mark Cox, Wilkesboro, N.C., 6.351, 215.65 mph, def. Lyle Newton, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, 6.595, 191.48 mph; Mike Scott, Bling Bay, British Columbia, Canada, 6.497, 213.10 mph, def. Larry “Drums, Brancaccio, Nutley, N.J., 6.550, 209.98 mph; Tommy Grimes, Pfafftown, N.C., 6.242, 219.86 mph, def. Ray Cason, Tampa, Fla., 8.015, 184.70 mph.
Semifinals – Grimes, 6.198, 220.69 mph, def. Andras, 6.350, 220.12 mph; Scott, 6.428, 213.81 mph, def. Cox, 10.807, 84.43 mph.
FINAL – Tommy Grimes, Pfafftown, N.C., 6.197, 220.40 mph, def. Mike Scott, Bling Bay, British Columbia, Canada, 6.461, 208.59 mph.

Qualifying – 1. Chris Streeter, Cleveland, Ohio, 6.696, 184.93 mph; 2. Randal Andras, Amelia, La., 6.743, 177.11 mph; 3. Tracy Kile, Asheville, N.C., 7.574, 134.67 mph; 4. Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., 7.728, 150.45 mph.
Round 1 – Chris Streeter, Cleveland, Ohio, 6.648, 192.96 mph, def. Ben Fukushima, NA, 12.209, 64.23 mph; Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., 8.471, 111.10 mph, def. Russ Sowers, Hermitage, Pa., no time, no speed; Randal Andras, Amelia, La., 6.694, 192.17 mph, def. Jim Doyle, Springfield, Mass., 6.762, 187.86 mph; Trace Kile, Asheville, N.C., 7.264, 185.38 mph, def. Rick Vreeland, Bloomsburg, Pa., 9.083, 121.30 mph.
Semifinals – Andras, 6.686, 198.70 mph, def. Kile, 6.998, 165.09 mph; Streeter, 6.812, 166.85 mph, def. Jackson, no time, no speed.
FINAL – Randal Andras, Amelia, La., 6.564, 207.21 mph, def. Chris Streeter, Cleveland, Ohio, 6.808, 181.81 mph.

Straighten it up Lil' Kim! MORE McCLURE NATS PHOTOS

Qualifying – 1. Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., 7.263, 169.04 mph; 2. Rebel Glover, Holly Hill, Fla., 7.338, 170.45 mph; 3. Wayne McGininness, Perth, Australia, 7.453, 163.29 mph; 4. Keith Kelley, Dickson, Tenn., 7.459, 167.99 mh.
Round 1 – Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., 7.920, 154.51 mph, def. Wendell Overcash, Sanford, N.C., no valid time, 104.91 mph; Jon Esenwein, Negley, Ohio, 8.375, 154.56 mph, def. Keith Kelley, Dickson, Tenn., 17.332, 50.83 mph; Dale Nilles, Westminster, Colo., 7.846, 157.85 mph, def. Preston Bartlett, St. Augustine, Fla., 7.665, 138.154 mph; Rebel Glover, Holly Hill, Fla., 7.378, 165.42 mph, def. Kenneth Little Jr., Eagles Mere, Pa., 8.398, 151.60 mph; Tyler Wilson, Walnut Cove, N.C., 7.480, 155.81 mph, def. Kevin Garrow, Philadelphia, Pa., 7.806, 158.46 mph; Rich Vreeland, Bloomsburg, Pa., 7.461, 160.08 mph, def. Janette Thornley, Sacramento, Calif., 7.566, 165.94 mph; Pete Stimeling, Vinton, Va., 7.523, 166.87 mph, def. Billy “Billy Jack” Jackson, Coatesville, Pa., 7.588, 159.53 mph; Wayne McGininness, Perth, Australia, 7.649, 157.69 mph, def. Jay Beasley, Winston-Salem, N.C., 8.087, 157.34 mph.
Round 2 – Jackson, 7.411, 169.17 mph, def. Nilles, 7.469, 162.72 mph; Wilson, 7.491, 156.39 mph, def. Esenwein, 8.055, 156.83 mph; Glove, 7.341, 164.43 mph, def. Stimeling, 7.550, 161.48 mph; Vreeland, 7.500, 157.65 mph, def. McGininness, 7.641, 165.38 mph.
Semifinals – Jackson, 8.014, 149.07 mph, def. Wilson, 17.347, 43.13 mph; Vreeland, 7.388, 169.10 mph, def. Glover, 14.512, no speed.
FINAL – Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., 7.474, 162.29 mph, def. Rich Vreeland, Bloomsburg, Pa., 7.487, 168.28 mph.


Pro Gas #1 qualifier Andy Simon hikes the wheel MORE McCLURE NATS PHOTOS

Round 1 – Andy Simon, Fairless Hills, Pa., 8.202, 154.23 mph, def. Billy Doherty, Lake Charles, La., foul; Jim Dhanse, Mt. Juliet, Tenn., 8.956, 138.94 mph, def. Justin Collier, Orlando, Fla., no time, no speed; Tom Caldwell, Knoxville, Tenn., 8.754, 121.07 mph, def. Craig Fisher, Wilmington, Del., 9.174, 140.91 mph.
Semifinals – Simon, 8.202, 154.95 mph, def. Dhanse, 9.204, 133.37 mph; Caldwell, bye.
FINAL – Tom Caldwell, Knoxville, Tenn., 7.916, 162.10 mph, def. Andy Simon, Fairless Hills, Pa., 8.268, 152.16 mph.

Round 1 – Jason Adams, Gainesville, Ga., 8.389, 148.35 mph, def. John Price, Emmitsburg, Md., 8.810, 145.45 mph; Morry Strauble, Wyoming, Mich., 8.523, 152.95 mph, def. Hank Stanton, East Rochester, N.Y., 8.647, 152.06 mph; Joey Thompson, Hopewell, N.J., 8.461, 154.53 mph, def. Gary Douglass, Staunton, Va., no time, no speed.
Semifinals – Strauble, 8.537, 152.14 mph, def. Adams, 8.357, 149.48 mph; Thompson, bye.
FINAL – Joey Thompson, Hopewell, N.J., 8.469, 154.51 mph, def. Morry Strauble, Wyoming, Mich., 8.552. 153.20 mph.

MODIFIED – Justin Collier, Orlando, Fla., 9.717, 128.42 mph, def. Kevin Gauntt, Egg Harbor City, N.Y., 9.932, 132.17 mph.
V-MOD – Dennis Fisher, Dayton, Ohio, 8.946, 142.49 mph, def. Billy Doherty, Lake Charles, La., 9.069, 130.68 mph.
OUTLAW STREET – Charley Douglass, Stanuton, Va., 8.834, 154.17 mph, def. Nick Gonatas Jr., Youngstown, Ohio, 8.995, 147.12 mph.

Hot Street winner John Toth MORE McCLURE NATS PHOTOS

HOT STREET – John Toth, Twilight, Pa., 9.512, 140.21 mph, def. Charley Douglass, Staunton, Va., 9.994, 129.52 mph.
DRESSER – David Dennick, Eighty-Four, Pa., 10.694, 127.90 mph, def. David Cartwright, Evansville, Ind., 11.287, 120.28 mph.
TOP ELIMINATOR – Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., 9.377 on a 9.300, 116.61 mph, def. Dennis Waldron, Owings, Md., 9.335 on a 9.300, 138.24 mph.
SUPER GAS – Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., 11.817, 76.29 mph, def. Manny Carrassquilla, Clearwater, Fla., broke.
SUPER PRO – Gary DeGrange, Ewing, N.Y., 10.226 on a 10.300, 109.14 mph, def. Bill Rowe Jr., Hellertown, Pa., 10.194 breakout on a 10.300, 117.39 mph.
PRO ELIMINATOR – Lane Boger Sr., Greensboro, N.C., 10.903 on a 10.900, 108.21 mph, def. Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., 10.818 breakout on a 10.900, 111.84 mph.
STREET ELIMINATOR – Paul Vicory, New Carlisle, Ohio, 11.913 on an 11.500, 124.41 mph, def. Kevin Gauntt, Egg Harbor City, N.J., foul.
ELIMINATOR – Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., 10.995 on an 11.000, 118.40 mph, def. Chris Wood, Goldsboro, N.C., foul.