event: NHDRO Grudge Reunion 3
when: July 7-9, 2017
where: Ohio Valley Raceway, Louisville, Kentucky USA
Markham’s NHDRO Win Spurs Bounty
story and photos by Tim Hailey
Spooky just can't stop spankin' 'em
NHDRO—America’s fastest growing motorcycle drag racing series—made its only eighth mile appearance of 2017 on the wall-to-wall concrete of Ohio Valley Dragway, just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, with July 7-9’s Mid Season Sizzle and Grudge Reunion.
But whether eighth mile or the full quarter, one thing seems constant—the Route 21 Street Fighter dominance of Bowling Green racer John “Spooky” Markham, who has won every race in the class this year.
Number one qualifier Markham’s final round victim in Louisville was Anderson, Indiana’s Dusty Bargo. Spooky’s .018 to .164 starting line advantage was really all he needed to cut gas and win yet another one, this time at the eighth mile index time of 6.15.
Saturday’s Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET final with Jeremy England (near lane) and Markham
Riding the same blue Suzuki Hayabusa—this time with a 6.17 dial-n—Markham lost Saturday’s Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET final against Jeremy England—also on a ‘Busa. Markham redlit by a scant -.001 against West Chester, Ohio’s England.
Joe “Walk Off Home Run” Deck
Markham’s son Dalton also runner-upped on Saturday because of a redlight—an even slimmer -.0008—in MPS Pro ET. It was Joe “Walk Off Home Run” Deck who saw his winlight come on in the other lane.
Deck and both Markham’s are part of the loosely knit team know as Death Row Racing (DRR). Fellow DRR racers Ben “Racing Everything All the Time” Knight, two-time dragbike.com BAMF Dustin “Biscuits” Lee, Wes Brown, and Jerry Turner all took home NHDRO’s Big Checks from Louisville.
Ben “Racing Everything All the Time” Knight didn't show up in Louisville until Saturday evening after racing a car at the World Fottbrake Challenge in Bristol on Thursday/Friday and going to a wedding on Saturday. "Wore three suits last weekend," said Knight. "Fire suit, wedding suit, leather suit."
Knight beat Lee in Sunday’s MPS Pro ET race, snagging a better light and staying closer to the dial-in on his McIntosh-Grayson sponsored wheeliebar bike.
Dustin “Biscuits” Lee
No-bar diehard Lee took his win in Millennium Trailers Super Comp, taking the tree against Scott Shepard in the final. Former Super Comp champ Spooky was number one qualifier.
Brown’s .003 light did the trick against Knight in the M2.Shocks Crazy 8s final, run at a 5.70 index on the eighth. Painesville, Ohio’s Tom Cooper was number one qualifier.
Turner beat Scotty Mulky in Sunday’s Street ET final, but it was a good day for Mulky—who hot-lapped his ‘Busa to the Rookie ET win over Maegan “Bikerchicc” Bowers. Tyler Moll was Saturday’s Rookie ET winner
Bradley Shellhaas burns out for the final against Dave Page
Bradley Shellhaas has done a good job breaking the DRR stranglehold this year. Dave Page took the tree against Shellhaas in the G&G Metal Spinners Top Gas final but spun and couldn’t run the number, and Shellhaas took the win. Dino Moran was number one qualifier.
The world’s quickest two-wheeled index class always stops short at the eighth mile. The would be Quicktime Motorsports/Lindeman Performance Pro Ultra 4.60, Chester Lee was number one qualifier on Saturday and took the tree against fellow finalist Les Stimac on Sunday. But Stimac ran 4.605 and took the stripe while Lee must have lost time somewhere in the middle—crossing the line second but at higher MPH.
HMH Motorsports Pro Open used to run the eighth mile, back when it was known as Pro Comp. One guy who’s good at either length is champion Chris Cutsinger. The airplane mechanic from nearby Corydon, Indiana seemed to get quicker every lap, finishing with a 4.19 at 179 mph winning lap over Brad Messer.
Running the eighth mile is very different, though, for the world’s quickest streetbikes of McIntosh/Grayson Machine & Fabrication Pro Street, and certain racers seem to rise to the occasion of getting the whole job done in half the space.
Indy’s Justin Doucet had his Two Wheel Werkz turbocharged ‘Busa running strong on the eighth last year, qualifying number one in Huntsville before juicing it up too much for that final against Doug Gall.
Great to see Frankie Stotz back on the Honda
Here in Louisville, Doucet qualified a close second to Frankie Stotz. It was Stotz’s first NHDRO race since getting seriously injured by a drunk driver in a car crash on the street last year.
So perhaps Stotz deserved the easy side of the ladder, vanquishing number six qualifier Brandon Coley in round one and earning the bye to the final.
Doucet, meanwhile, raced past James Hendricks and Muncie winner Gall to reach the final with Stotz. Doucet took the tree with an .028 to Stotz’s .063 and kept it moving to a 4.61 at 167.83 mph for the win.
Jeremy Teasley on Squeak's MSP-built "Clean Getaway"
APE/Trac King Grudge was basically a one-team affair, as Joe Marasco’s MSP stable of Clean Getaway, Venom, and Copperhead seemingly scared a lot of committed players away.
NHDRO rider Whip got one money race in on Copperhead, getting the break and taking the stripe against Tony “Good 4 Nutin” Hines on Hocus Pokus.
It may be tame compared to grudge, but Michelle Curtis took Saturday’s festive pit bike win, beating Chelsey Jones in the final.
To top off the weekend, NHDRO’s Brian and Niki Welch announced a Big Money bracket race next time out August 4-6 at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis—$5000 to win in Pro ET and $3000 to win in Street ET. “This is a way Niki and I want to say thanks to all the sportsman racers that have supported us through the years,” said Welch. “Our goal is to have a total payout of $15,000 for the two classes. We are asking vendors, sponsors, racers, fans, pit crews, shops, anyone that loves this sport to donate either money to the purse or a product to give away.”
Oh, and an extra $50 to anyone who beats John Markham in Street Fighter.
Former Supersport studs Patrick Cooper and DJ Payton look like they've stayed in racing trim
Pre-race: NHDRO Settin’ it Off in the ‘Ville
Long-tailed grudge bikes will be filling the summer night with smoke and noise
APE/Trac King Grudge takes center stage when America’s fastest growing motorcycle drag racing series—NHDRO—returns to the wall-to-wall concrete of Ohio Valley Dragway’s eighth mile just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, for the Grudge Reunion on July 7-9.
Cecil Towner’s HTP Performance, Joe Marasco’s MSP, Jeremy Rossi and others will be there fielding long-tailed, powerful beasts such as Clean Getaway, Venom, Gas Monkey, Black Plague, Venom, Copperhead and more. Grudge ballers will fill Ohio Valley’s lanes deep into the night at what is always one of the year’s busiest nights of big money match-ups. If you bring it, NHDRO’s Brian Welch can find a race for you. And you damn well better bring it.
Let's hope Doug Gall survives his new ultralight to race in Louisville
The world’s quickest streetbikes of McIntosh/Grayson Machine & Fabrication Pro Street will lead the daytime program with 700 turbocharged and nitrous-huffing horsepower. Muncie winner Doug Gall, Indy’s Justin Doucet, Quicktime Motorsports’ Rudy Sanzottera, Ryan Hable, and more will all try and get it done in the eighth mile, making for some of the hardest launching these street tire bikes will see all year.
Pro Open stud Chris Cutsinger
HMH Motorsports Pro Open bikes transfer even more power to the track through big drag slicks, leaning back hard on wheelie bars and carrying their front tires in the air the whole 660 feet. Chris Cutsinger—from nearby Corydon, Indiana—rules this class and only the bravest show up to challenge his turbo ‘Busa Funnybike.
Then there is Quicktime Motorsports/Lindeman Performance Pro Ultra 4.60, the world’s quickest two-wheeled index class and likely the most hotly contested class of the weekend. Class sponsor Jeff Lindeman, champion Chase Morris, May winner Smokin’ Joe Rodney, Muncie winner Dan McCarten and more will all be fighting for the Big Check and their spot in the Ohio Valley winners’ circle.
May MPS Pro ET winner Bradley Shellhaas took the Gateway G&G Metal Spinners Top Gas win and will be looking to solidify his run as one of the year’s most successful NHDRO racers. Gateway race sponsor Kenny Schwartz and his fellow St. Louis Top Gas Killers Heather Baldi and Mike Wagner, along with perennial Top Gas champion Greg Mallett, Joe “On” Deck, and others will be looking to make a move to gain some control in this year’s wide open Top Gas points race.
John “Spooky” Markham
There is no such battle in Route 21 Street Fighter, where Kentucky racer John “Spooky” Markham has won three straight. Don’t hurt ‘em Spooky!
Ben “Treating Media Right” Knight
Markham will also aim to win Millennium Trailers Super Comp, which Ben “Treating Media Right” Knight won at Gateway on his beautiful new McIntosh-Grayson sponsored wheeliebar bike.
Dustin “Biscuits” Lee
When it comes to close racing action, M2.Shocks Crazy 8s is the no-bar equivalent of 4.60. Markham, Knight, May winner Wes Brown, Dustin “Biscuits” Lee and more all fight to the stripe for this one.
Many of these same riders will stage up both days for MPS Pro ET and Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET, along with hot gloves Kenneth Selner, Mitch Pennington, Jim “Put it on the Underhill tab” Underhill, Courtnee McCarten, Scott “Gummie Bear” Kauffman, Brandon Teasley and Ceslie Shellhaas.
Also add to the weekend’s program Friday night’s “Running of the Bulls” heavy hitters race, pit bike races and more of the spontaneous good times that are always part of every NHDRO event.
Brian and Niki Welch look forward to seeing you and the whole NHDRO family at legendary Ohio Valley Dragway.
NHDRO thanks McIntosh Machine and Fabrication , APE , Route 21 Racing Apparel , Millennium Trailers , G&G Metal Spinners , Kevin Dennis Insurance , Port-Tech , Quicktime Motorsports , MPS, M2.Shocks , and HMH Motorsports Coatings