event: NHDRO World Finals and Pro Street Shootout
when: September 29-October 1 , 2017
where: Lucas Oil Raceway, Brownsburg, Indiana USA

NHDRO Finals are Big for Litten and Champions

story and photos by Tim Hailey


Hard to believe that Rodney Williford ended up in the NHDRO B field

NHDRO—America’s fastest growing motorcycle drag racing series—packed two-race weekends into one at their DME/Prostock Inc. World Finals on September 29-October 1 at Brownsburg, Indiana’s Lucas Oil Raceway. Because eliminations from the August race were rained out, racers, NHDRO and LOR staff had to fight through oildowns, big fields and a dramatic crash to complete the hectic double schedule and determine season champions, and they did just that.

Headlining the event was McIntosh/Grayson Machine & Fabrication Pro Street and a special $5000-to-win purse. Twenty-six of the world’s quickest streetbikes showed up to claim the prize, especially 6.66 world record holder Rodney Williford and his teammates, including recent Man Cup winner Ehren Litten.

Mark Gargiulo!

But Williford struggled mightily in qualifying at Indy. While teammates Litten and Mark Gargiulo locked out the top two spots (a jaw-dropping 6.68 for big boy Litten and 6.76 for equally stout Gargiulo), Williford had two throw-away runs and failed to make the A field on his only clean pass in Q3. The world’s quickest and fastest Pro Street bike would be racing in the B field on Sunday.

“Not sure if it was a bad tire or just not broken in yet,” Williford said about his struggles. “It had 4-5 passes on it and just would not hook. We put an older tire with 20-30 passes on it and had no problems after that.”

The August race was run during Saturday’s qualifying sessions for the Finals. Points leader Justin Doucet lost to Mike Bayes in the first round, and Bayes lost to Mike “Kavos” Kovacevich in round two. Bayes’ teammate Richard Gadson—the number one qualifier back in August—lost to Quicktime Motorsports’ Rudy Sanzottera, also in round two.

Sanzottera then lost the semifinal to young Brandon Mitchan, in all the way from Texas. Kovacevich, riding Nemecio Beltran’s “Pro Street Lucky” bike, beat Gateway winner Gabe Frederick in the other semi.

But Kavos and Beltran’s luck ran out in the final. Despite a stellar .002 light, the “Lucky” bike slowed in the final. “According to the computer data, at about the 330 mark the motor started to eat itself up,” said Kavos. “It dropped a cylinder at about 1000 foot.”

Mitchan and tuner Scott Crawford had their bike running quick and consistent, and as the Kavos bike faltered, Mitchan kept the throttle twisted for the August win—his first Pro Street victory.

Brandon Mitchan

Sunday morning started bright and clear for another day of 700 horsepower, turbocharged or nitrous-huffing streetbikes—and another surprise in the final. 

It’s been a long road to recovery for Frankie Stotz since he was hit by a drunk driver over a year ago, and the road to keep his lone 1000cc Honda competitive against the constant power increases of big Suzuki Hayabusas has been just as tough. 

Frankie Stotz

After a big round one wheelie, Stotz—along with his pioneering father Kent and tuning consultant Steve Nichols—laid down a stunning 6.77 in round two, then took out Mitchan on a holeshot in the semi. 

Litten continued to stun in the other semi, running 6.69 at 229 mph against Gadson on Ronnie Mitchell’s Detroit-built “Apollonia.” After taking the tree .017 to .036, Gadson’s motor expired viscerally at about the eighth mile.

Stotz pushed the tree too hard in the final with an -.029 redlight and Litten cruised to a 6.75 for his second win in two weekends—but this one against a huge field for Big Money.

Ehren Litten

And despite losing in round one on Saturday AND Sunday, Brownsbug resident but Louisiana native Justin Doucet still took his first Pro Street championship.

Justin Doucet on the bike and Derek Miller at the line

With the world’s quickest Pro Street bike between his legs, Rodney Williford could basically set it on “cruise” and cakewalk through the B class, but he didn’t. The constantly aggressive Williford ran a 6.678 on his way to the final, where his 6.73 at 223 easily outmatched opponent Jake Henderson’s 7.20.

Jeff Jones

Fast Time Motorsports boss Jeff Jones split Quicktime Motorsports/Lindeman Performance Pro Ultra 4.60 wins with teammate Chase Morris, with Morris winning the August final against class sponsor Jeff Lindeman and Jones winning September against Muncie winner Dan McCarten. 

Chase Morris

The September final found both riders hot on the tree—McCarten with an .017 and Jones with an even better .005. Jones also ran a 4.603 on that pass. Morris had a .004 against Lindeman’s .037 in the August final, and repeats as class champion.

Ron Maddox

HMH Motorsports Pro Open qualified four bikes for the September race, but only two showed up on raceday as Charlie Theiss and Leshon Norman both broke. Number one qualifier Ron Maddox (6.78) and Chris Cutsinger both took the tree under power for round one, but Maddox had the only bike still together enough to make a pass and took the win. Cutsinger, though, repeated as champion.

Chris Cutsinger

Bradley Shellhaas was all smiles on Friday

Bradley Shellhaas came into the double race weekend with the G&G Metal Spinners Top Gas 8.20 index class points lead but watched it slowly slip away. Shellhaas lost to eventual champion Jeremy Teasley in round three of the August race, then to Kevin Adams in round one on Sunday.

The August Top Gas final between Jeremy England (near lane) and Jeremy Teasley

Teasley rode his streetbike to the September final, losing there to Jeremy England on a dragbike. On Sunday he lost to Adams—both on streetbikes—then Kevin beat redlighting Joe “Big” Deck in the final. 

Kevin Adams

Teasley is the first-ever Top Gas champion anywhere in the world who accomplished the feat on a streetbike.

Jeremy Teasley's Top Gas streetbike

Dustin “Biscuits” Lee

Already the M2.Shocks Crazy 8s points leader, Dustin “Biscuits” Lee refused to lessen his grasp, slapping a .003 light on fellow DRR racer Ron “Ju-Jitsu” Arnold in the August final and taking that win. 

Spencer Claycomb

Lee finally succumbed to Ken Selner in the third round of the September race, but that was enough to secure him the title. Selner lost the semi to Cameron Teasley, who then redlit by -.003 against Spencer Claycomb in the final.

Wes Brown and his GSXR of Renown

Two-time dragbike.com BAMF Lee also retained his Millennium Trailers Super Comp points lead through the weekend, securing that championship as well. He lost to Wes Brown and his GSXR of Renown (with an .016 light) in the August final. Kevin Adams added the September Super Comp final to his Top Gas win when Stephen Knight redlit in the final.

Ron Arnold

John “Spooky” Markham finally lost in Route 21 Street Fighter, with Tylan Beckelheimer claiming NHDRO’s $50 bounty on the 8.90 season dominator in round one of the August race. Beckelheimer carried that success all the way to the final before breaking out against Ron Arnold after nailing a .005 light.

John “Spooky” Markham

Arnold won the class again on Sunday when Stephen Knight redlit again in the final—this time by only -.002. Markham had enough points on the season to claim the Street Fighter championship. 

Garreth Sheppeard

Ohio racer Garreth Sheppeard won Saturday’s MPS Pro ET final when opponent Darrell Carmichael broke out. Sunday’s race was a double breakout, with Jeremy England scoring his second win of the weekend—this time at the expense of Chad Isley. Eric Cooper is the season champion.

Eric Cooper

Taylor Lairson

Taylor Lairson took Saturday’s Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET final round win with a .001 light against Travis Kotz. Beckelheimer’s career weekend continued with a very, very close Street ET final round win over Ben “Selling My Bar Bike” Knight. The unstoppable Dustin Lee claimed the Street ET championship—his third title this year.

Tylan Beckelheimer in the near lane

Beckelheimer gets a celebratory cooler bath from the Teasleys

Ladies and gentlemen, Ben Knight

APE/Trac King Grudge saw the weekend’s most dramatic moment. In a rematch of a nine stack grudge race from Friday night, Desmond Jerel Spaulding, AKA “Kill Bill,” rode a 10 o’clock wheelie from the 330 past the eight mile finishline, winning the race before his Roger Starrette-built “Heartless” Kawasaki ZX14 began teetering left and right on the rear tire. Now at more like 11:30, the bike came crashing back to earth and sent “Kill Bill” hard left across both lanes and straight into the wall. It was something you really never see in motorcycle drag racing—a bike (and rider) hitting the wall nearly head-on. Despite everyone fearing the worst as he lay in a motionless heap on the track, Spaulding amazingly came away with no broken bones.

Kill Bill on Heartless

The “Heartless” team actually showed great heart (and stupefying confidence) in accepting the two eighth mile races against Vince Hileman on the “Family Man” bike—giving “Family Man” the back tire and requiring a gap at the line in a half-track race. “Family Man” was the one that wheelied on Friday night, and lost both races.

Vince Hileman on Family Man

Brian and Niki Welch thank all the NHDRO racers and sponsors for their support throughout the season and are working hard to put together an even better schedule for 2018. Check the NHDRO app for the quickest announcements about next year.

Greg Wallace was around the Williford camp all weekend and said he's getting back into Pro Street

Lucas Oil Raceway's Kyle Lang and Quicktime's Jessica Lee

Caleb McDougald on Bad News

Richard Gadson

Pre-Race: Pro Street’s Turn for NHDRO Big Money 

Alen Danial

America’s fastest growing motorcycle drag racing series faces a hectic and action-packed double schedule as staff and racers alike push though a two-race weekend that will decide season champions at the DME/Prostock Inc. World Finals at Brownsburg’s Lucas Oil Raceway. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, also a little $5000-to-win McIntosh/Grayson Machine & Fabrication Pro Street Shootout will be run between the world’s quickest streetbikes on Saturday night. 

With eliminations from NHDRO’s August race rained out, Saturday’s qualifying this time around will also be the first raceday of the weekend for all classes.

Richard Gadson on Ronnie Mitchell’s Detroit-built “Apollonia”

August’s Pro Street qualifying finished with Richard Gadson leading the field with a 6.82 run in the final round on Ronnie Mitchell’s Detroit-built “Apollonia” turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa. What made Gadson’s achievement most impressive was that it was the team’s first time at a racetrack this year. 

Gadson, new 6.66 world record holder Rodney Williford, Louisville winner Justin Doucet, Gateway winner Gabe Frederick, Muncie winner Doug Gall, Quicktime Motorsports’ Rudy Sanzottera, recent Man Cup winner Ehren Litten, Bill DeShong, Alen Danial, multi-class superstar Jeremy Teasley, and many more will finish up their August business during the day on Saturday, race a huge field on Saturday night, then race again on Sunday.

Chris Cutsinger

What happens when you take all that Pro Street power (or more), put it in a purpose-built frame, and add a big tire and wheelie bars (or not)? You get HMH Motorsports Pro Open. Ron Maddox finally showed back up to give champion Chris Cutsinger a run for his money back in August, and did just that. Cutsinger is still number one qualifier with a 6.62 at only 193 mph on his turbo ‘Busa, but Maddox rode a stirring 6.73 in a great side-by-side Q3 pass. Let’s hope Brian Lewis, Eric McKinney, and others show up this weekend to ensure some great eliminations in this awesome class.

Chase Morris

Fast Time Motorsports boss Jeff Jones is the Quicktime Motorsports/Lindeman Performance Pro Ultra 4.60 number one qualifier with a perfect 4.600. His teammate Chase Morris is number two and has a slim points lead over class sponsor Jeff Lindeman.

Bradley Shellhaas

The G&G Metal Spinners Top Gas 8.20 index class points are led by Bradley Shellhaas, but Ron Wheatley is number one qualifier with an 8.202. They’ll both still have to deal with Top Gas Killers “Kounselor” Kenny Schwartz, Heather Baldi, Mike Wagner, and many more.

Stephen Knight

Stephen Knight is the Millennium Trailers Super Comp number one qualifier, just .001 off the 8.90 index on his no-bar ‘Busa. Two-time dragbike.com BAMF Dustin “Biscuits” Lee is the points leader. 

Dustin “Biscuits” Lee

Lee also leads M2.Shocks Crazy 8s points and tied Brandon Teasley for number one qualifier with 8.882s. But Teasley nailed his first and carried number one into eliminations. Crazy 8s is the only class that got a round of eliminations in on Saturday night and—sadly for him— Teasley promptly lost to Tom Cooper, so the 8s are wide open!

John “Spooky” Markham

Don’t forget NHDRO’s $50 bounty on 8.90 dominator John “Spooky” Markham’s head in Route 21 Street Fighter. Markham has won every Street Fighter final so far this year, but it’s Illinois’ Scott Leonard that’s qualified number one this time around for the 9.50 index class. Will Markham win both this weekend to sweep the whole year? 

All of these index racers will also be racing round after round in either MPS Pro ET or Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET—or both. 

Bobby “The Living Elvis” Brown

Will Kyden Mann spend some of the MPS Pro ET Big Money he won in August to come back and race the Finals? What about Norwalk legend Craig Adams—will we be graced with another visit from The King? Bradley Shellhaas will be there, along with Joe “Big” Deck, Team Shocker’s Ricky Scott Jr., Bobby “The Living Elvis” Brown and more

Mitch Pennington

Surely August Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET Big Money winner Mitch Pennington will be back with his true hand-clutch Suzuki GSXR1000. Wes Brown will be after it, along with Ron Arnold, Ben Knight, and many more.

Jeremy Teasley on “Clean Getaway”

Don’t forget APE/Trac King Grudge with bikes like “Troubleman” Jackson’s H&H Racing-built and tuned “Trouble” ‘Busa, Teasley’s own “The Grinch” Kawasaki ZX14R, MPS bikes “Venom” and “Clean Getaway,” and more

Brian and Niki Welch can’t wait to welcome everybody back to Indy for NHDRO’s World Finals and Pro Street Shootout—now doubly big and doubly important!

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 , DME Racing and HMH Motorsports Coatings