“Cash is King” but a check will work too, especially when it’s an NHDRO “Big Check” for $13,000. That’s what Chris Moore earned for winning NHDRO’s Last Man Standing Grudge Spectacular Saturday night at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia. It was the crowning moment of the 190hookup.com Season Opener—the first race of 2018 for America’s fastest growing motorcycle drag racing series.
Moore tuned his Motec-controlled, DME-built, turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa to be the class of the sixteen-bike field all through Friday testing and racing on Saturday. Since this was a Performance Racing Products Grudge race, no times, incrementals, or reaction times were shown.
Moore beat Desmond Jerel “Kill Bill” Spaulding riding “CT Fletcher” in round one (Moore’s closest race of the day), “Bad News” with Caleb McDougald in round two, Lil’ Richard Gadson on “Super Freak” in the semis, and “Kill Bill” again on “Heartless” in the final.
“That was my first time going to an NHDRO race and I really enjoyed it,” said Moore. “I like the way Brian (NHDRO owner Brain Welch) put the race on. Like when the track wasn’t hooking, he talked to the track staff about it.” Needless to say, the track was put into good shape and Moore was impressed. “I said ‘This guy (Welch) is legit.’ I’m hoping he’ll put one of these grudge races on at Indy, ‘cause I’ve never raced there and I really want to.” NHDRO races at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis in August and September.
One of the highlights of the Last Man Standing was the reunion of rider Keith “Shine” Dennis and builder/tuner Joe Marasco of MSP—a legendary duo that broke up some thirteen years ago. And they had a good run on Saturday, racing the “Venom” Suzuki GSXR1000 past rider “LA” on “8th Wonder” in round one and Lavar “Lil’ Charlie” DeLee on “Airwolf” in round two before getting outrun by the “Heartless” Kawasaki ZX14 in the semi. Dennis spent time between rounds entertaining the crowd with his fast-talking, agile, and razor-sharp wit.
Eight bikes that didn’t get their entry into NHDRO in time to make the draw of 16 ran their own “Eight the Hard Way” bracket for $4000. Lil Matt Dozier rode “DMF” to the final round win over Ken “Capt’n” Grate on “Murder 1.”
Frankie Stotz (feature image) took the opening win of the McIntosh/Grayson Machine & Fabrication Pro Street season, qualifying number one and beating former champ Doug Gall in the final round between the world’s quickest street-legal bikes.
While most of the 700 horsepower streetbikes struggled to find grip, Stotz and his little 1000cc Honda found it in 6.84, 202 mph handfuls. Stotz credited he and his dad Kent fighting their clutch struggles for his success. “We never stopped trying or figuring out what was wrong,” said Frankie. “It was a huge team effort to fix the issue and when we did, you saw the results.”
Excellent results also came to veteran racer Mike Thyen in Quicktime Motorsports/Lindeman Performance Pro Ultra. Thyen didn’t really need much excellence in the final, as number one qualifier Les Stimac’s transmission broke and no gear was to be found in the waterbox.
One of Jeremy England’s two wins came in Top Gas 8.20 index when Dustin “Biscuits” Lee redlit by -.005. Number one qualifier Kounselor Kenny Schwartz lost to England in round one.
England rode his dragbike in Top Gas, but his streetbike in Penske Racing Shocks Street Fighter—where he won the final against Vince “Family Man” Hileman, who broke out. England beat number one qualifier John “Spooky” Markham in round two.
Markham spun a rod bearing in his own championship-winning Street Fighter bike, so he borrowed a bike from Stanley Russell—a man whose heart is as big as his appetite. But in Millennium Trailers Super Comp, Markham was on his own tried and true dragbike and took the double breakout final over Dustin Lee. Number one qualifier Ron “Ju-Jitsu” Arnold lost to Rachel Wagner in round two.
Don’t feel too bad about Lee losing the Top Gas and Super Comp finals, as he took the win in M2.Shocks Crazy 8s. Lee beat Stephen “The Right” Knight with an .013 light to Knight’s .077. Ron Arnold also qualified number one in Crazy 8s, and also lost in round two—this time to Travis Klotz.
Don’t grieve too hard for Knight either, as he won Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET. He won the final despite leaving .036 later than Lee—Dustin’s third runner-up of the night.
Garreth Sheppeard won MPS Pro ET, beating veteran racer Doug Fisher—who redlit—in the final.
Dorian ‘Doe Doe’ Wallace won NHDRO’s first Grom race, sponsored by Total Racing Motorsports, and Anthony “Bishop” Randle won the Heavy Hitters race.
The most exciting event on Friday night was a stock ‘Busa challenge—riders making one test pass and one pass on the clock aboard a new, stock Hayabusa to determine the quickest. Richard Gadson took the honors with a 9.77 at 147 mph.
And because NHDRO events satisfy all your senses, grillmaster Sherman Matthews won the turkey smoking contest.
Brian and Niki Welch want to thank all the racers and sponsors who made this weather-challenged event come off without a hitch, especially Rob Bush Motorsports and 190hookup.com.
The next reunion of the NHDRO family is back in the Midwest at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio for the Liguori Drag Racing May Bike Fest on May 4-6.
Story and photos by Tim Hailey/EatMyInk.com