Families and double winners stole the motorcycle drag racing show at NHDRO’s Summer Nationals presented by Page Racing at Edgewater Sports Park on August 5-7.
David Beshara was unsure he had anything for Schnitz Racing Top Gas champion Jeremy Teasley in Saturday’s final, and maybe his .080 reaction time lent credibility to his concerns. But Teasley’s -.007 redlight took care of all worries and put Beshara and his Montgomery Motorsport-clad Suzuki Hayausa in the winner’s circle.
Sunday found Beshara back in another all-no-bar Top Gas final against another Jeremy—this time Edgewater hero Jeremy England. England didn’t redlight, but he did give up .014 to Beshara at the tree and a hundredth at the stripe to hand David another NHDRO Big Check.
“What a weekend!” said Beshara. “I have tried for two years to win a Top Gas race. I have made it to two Top Gas finals and came up short.
“My first final was in Michigan at US 131 (last season). I was going to the finals against Doug Fisher, and as we where rolling up it started to pour rain, so we had to race it at the next race. I ran an 8.19 and lost to Doug.
“I made it to the finals last July at Dragway 42 and ran Joey Brandgard in the finals to finish second once again. I ran another 8.19 for the loss.
“Saturday I made it to the finals against the one and only Jeremy Teasley, who has won more NHDRO Top Gas championships in the last five years than anyone else. Jeremy went red in the finals and that gave me the win.
“On Sunday I found myself in the finals again against Jeremy England, who is sitting second in points in Top Gas. I told myself that I was going to run it out the back and that was exactly what I did. I ran an 8.21 for the win.
“I want to thank the following people for helping get to where I am today. First and foremost my wife, who helps me at every race. Mike Byrd, who has been helping me with pushing me around, changing my nitrous bottles, and putting fuel in both bikes. Dave Page builds the motors, Jeremy Teasley, Steve Nichols of Maxx ECU, Marcus McBain for all his help with my suspension, and Brian and Niki Welch. Without Brian and Niki, we wouldn’t have a series to race in. We are grateful to have them.”
Drew Nearhoof also doubled up in Advanced Sleeve Dirty 30 9.30 index. On Saturday, Nearhoof parleyed a no-bar .004 reaction time against wheelie bar racer Tom Klemme’s .044 into a victory despite a 9.33 to Klemme’s 9.307.
In Sunday’s final, Nearhoof kept his Christmas Tree game strong with an .016, while opponent Shannon Hall (also the number one qualifier) had a decent .029 before failing to run the number with a 9.38. Nearhoof’s 9.33 put him in his second winners’ circle of the weekend.
“Had a lot of breaks go my way throughout the weekend,” admitted Nearhoof. “Saturday, running the final round at 9:00 pm, it really helped me see the tree. Knew I needed to be first off the line to have any chance at the W.
“Sunday second round—before I even got the lever out—I heard my competitor’s bike leave then went silent immediately. Really an unfortunate break for him. Regrouped in the final, was first off the tree and managed to get the W.
“Huge shout-out to my dad. He keeps our program running. Growing up watching him at our local track made the early years of racing a lot easier for me.”
Butch “Olde” England not only doubled up, he beat one of his sons for one win and was joined in the winners’ circle by the other one.
Butch nailed an .018 at the tree and ran dead-on with a .009 to handily beat Joe Klemme in NHDRO’s first 55+ Shootout. Sunday was even easier, as Butch’s son Jeremy redlit in the Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET final.
“I was glad to see NHDRO come to Edgewater, ‘cause that was our home track for 20 years until we started running points at Kilkare in 2007,” said the elder England.
“Friday was a blast ‘cause I won the Ben-Gay Nationals, but even better was seeing Andrew and Jeremy in the Pro ET finals together. It’s great watching my kids do so well. Both are tough as nails out there.
“Then Sunday, racing Jeremy in the finals of Street ET, capped off a great weekend. When I was younger I never thought I would be racing against my kids, but that’s a great feeling when you stage knowing that’s your child in the other lane!
“Also want to thank Anita for always being there, and my daughter Heather and granddaughters Skylar, Dakota and Bailey, and Jaiden, Jovie and Jax, and Jeremy and Andrew for pushing me to do better. I love race weekends with family and friends!”
As Butch mentioned, Andrew “The Big Island” and brother Jeremy England faced each other in Friday’s Delay Box Shootout. Andrew only gained a .002 advantage at the tree, but combined with a 10.58 on his 10.57 dial vs. Jeremy’s 8.15/8.12, The Big Island found himself a Big Win.
“Man, after flopping back and forth, I decided to race Friday night’s Shootout,” said Andrew. “Told Jeremy it would be nice to see an all-England finals, then boom—we did it.
“Would not be possible without his help, my parents, and the Edgewater crew. Was nice seeing the all bike races there at one of my local tracks.
“Was also nice seeing Butch “Homeboy Homer” England Jr.—AKA Dad—win 55 and older Shootout and Street ET Sunday.”
And it wasn’t just the England family that celebrated finals and wins, two sets of brothers shared the Edgewater winners’ circle, as NHDRO is truly a family affair.
Rashad Rowe won Saturday’s M2.Shocks 8.70 Quick Street, while brother Rylan won MTC Super Comp on Sunday.
Rashad’s final round opponent Ray Pappas actually took .010 at the tree, but his 8.82 was too far off the index compared to Rowe’s 8.78.
“Much needed weekend for our race team,” said Rashad. “Our hard work as a team is starting to payoff. As a team, we were able to reach four finals and bring home two wins, with myself, Rylan, and Evan Yost all reaching the finals.
“I’m thankful for a great series to race in. Brian, Niki, and crew do an amazing job. Also the hard work of their two sons in the staging lanes doesn’t go unnoticed. Also thankful for each and every racer that supports race after race. Being a part of NHDRO is like having a second family and I hope it continues for many years to come.”
Rylan Rowe put .029 at the tree on Eric Patrick in Sunday’s MTC Super Comp 8.90 index final, easing slightly to a winning 9.01 to Patrick’s 9.00.
“I’m glad I was able to get a win on a somewhat new build, and my first win on a bar bike,” said Rylan, who’s ZX14 dragbike is self-starting and ridable through the pits.
“I would like to thank my brother Rashad, Ken Chapman, and Mike Hall for all the work they did putting this bike together. It turned out great. Also congrats to my big bro on his win this weekend. It’s fun bringing two checks home!”
The fun might stop quickly when two brothers are battling in the final for the same NHDRO Big Check. That was the case in Saturday’s MTC Super Comp final, an all-Klemme battle between brothers Joe and Tom. Tensions were eased when Tom was unable to make the final and Joe took the win.
“My win Saturday was one of those races that—unlike some others where you’re driving well and your equipment is doing everything that you ask it to—it was the complete opposite of that,” said Joe.
“I had multiple problems with my index bike that I did not get figured out until Monday at the shop. I was fortunate enough to find myself in the final against my brother Tom, who had injured his left wrist two weeks prior. He was riding for the first time since his accident and dealing with a lot of pain. It didn’t make sense for him to race against me and put more stress on the injured wrist, since we are on the same team.
“As always thanks to team KPM. Tom Klemme, Tim Genung, and John Mealy!”
Despite the wrist, Tom Klemme also made a trip to the winners’ circle on Saturday. He put .022 on Ceslie Shellhaas at the tree in the MPS Pro ET final and ran a hundredth over his dial-in while Shellhaas broke out.
“The bike was real good, the rider was average,” Tom said about himself. “With the strained wrist, I was struggling at riding.
“As usual, it’s a team effort. Me and my brother Joe, our dedicated pit help, John Mealy and Tim Genung. And recently, we picked up a new sponsor, Durham Remodeling. They help us multiple ways.”
Shellhaas rebounded with a win over Joe Klemme Sunday’s MPS Pro ET final. Her .029 was a close .008 behind Joe’s, but his bike struggled to run his 9.39 dial-in while she was .02 over her 8.34 for the win.
“This season has been an absolute blast and I’m here for the ride!” said Ceslie, part of the extended Shellhaas racing family. “I ran Pro ET Saturday and Sunday. Took runner-up Saturday night and snagged the win on Sunday!
“My motto this year has been ‘Have fun and go fast.’ Those things have kept my mind where it needs to be because I am blessed beyond measure to be able to do what I do. I’m lucky to be a part of this sport and most importantly, share it with my family and my racing family. Soaking up the fun and giving God the glory for always keeping me safe!”
Odell Williams Jr. is known for racing his dad Odell Sr. in VooDoo Grudge races, and he did on Satuday night. But on Friday, Junior beat Jeremy Teasley in the Schnitz Racing Top Gas Shootout when Jeremy redlit by -.006.
“It’s amazing, coming out first year trying Top Gas and being competitive with the top racers in NHDRO,” said Williams Jr. “With the team I have and support from others, we’ve been working hard and trying to stay focussed and learn every race to get better.
“Special thanks to Brian and Niki Welch for having a great platform to race. Special thanks to all the sponsors, especially Dave Page Racing for giving our home track Edgewater some more spotlight.
“Rick Needham (Edgewater starter) did a great job keeping the track prepared and safe for the racers. Great job to all the other racers and those in the winner circle. I’m looking forward to being there again!”
It’s not often that Teasley chalks up two redlight losses in two days. “Nope, didn’t have luck on my bike,” said Jeremy. “Kept turning the redlight on in the finals Friday and Saturday. Super close though, -.006 and -.007. That’s racing.”
Teasley did see the winners’ circle, though, on Tyrone Gaitskill’s “DBG” Gen 1 Hayabusa. “The owner and me have been friends a long time,” said Eric Higgins. “He is also from the Lexington, Kentucky area. I built the engine years ago. Jeremy Installed the ECU, tunes and rides the bike. I just help with making adjustments and maintaining the bike.”
Teasley rode DBG to beat Kyron “KD” Drake on his MSP ride in Saturday’s Road Course Shootout. “Had way better luck on Gait’s bike,” said Teasley. “Pulled it out the trailer, no shake downs, went right to work. The bike works great, and I probably will ride it at the next event, too.
“Thanks to Niki and Brian for having a great race. It was supposed to be a rainout and turned out to be beautiful weather!”
Friday’s Road Course Shootout was won by Justin Hodge—his second straight—and once again, Drake was in the other lane. “As always, the win was a total MSP team effort,” said Hodge. “I’d like to give a special thanks to Joe Marasco for the consistent advice and tuning of our motorcycle.”
Friday’s No-Box Shootout was won by Ben Knight, making a surprise visit to Edgewater. Runner-up Williams Horatio pretty much gave it away with a .201 light to Knight’s .041. Horatio subsequently broke out.
“I was just happy to see my NHDRO family again!” said Knight. “That series is seriously like a big family and it was nice to catch up with some old friends and, of course, Niki and Brian were great as always!”
While NHDRO’s three races in one weekend format gives most the opportunity to race over and over again, Jaden Hall skipped the first two days entirely.
“We showed up late to the party,” said Hall, who won M2.Shocks Quick Street in July and backed it up again. “Rolled in Sunday at 11:00 am, unloaded the bike without a qualifying or test pass, coming off of the win in July. The bike picked up exactly where it left off.”
That performance carried him all the way to the final against Evan Yost. Both had strangely bad lights—a .148 for Hall and .187 for Yost. Hall’s 8.74 was also closer to the 8.70 index than Yost’s 8.79.
“I have to give my thanks to Jeff Hall for all the help, support and drive he puts behind me, Dave Page at Page Racing for amazing engines, Jeremy Teasley puts a killer tune in this little stock motor to make it all happen, and a huge thanks to Tim Hailey at eatmyink.comfor all the amazing coverage of our sport.”
Yost lit the redeye in Saturday’s Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET final, handing that win over to Jim “Just a Swangin’” Swanger.
NHDRO will continue making racing economical by giving competitors three days of racing as the Midwest’s largest motorcycle drag racing seriesreconvenes for their Midwest Fall Nationals, September 16-18 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.