The All Harley Drag Racing Association made their first-ever stop at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.), August 23-24, for the Mid-West Nationals. More than 120 entries were greeted by hot weather both days, which wasn't what the Chamber of Commerce...
The All Harley Drag Racing Association made their first-ever stop at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.), August 23-24, for the Mid-West Nationals.
More than 120 entries were greeted by hot weather both days, which wasn't what the Chamber of Commerce would have ordered to set a good first impression. Regardless, the riders made the most of it and by the end of the weekend had adjusted to the weather.
With three rounds of qualifying Saturday - two in the heat of the afternoon - many of the times weren't quite what you would expect. Heat and humidity, two northeast Kansas trademarks, was taking its toll on bikes and riders.
But the Top Fuel riders weren't discouraged, as Bill Furr, Orangeburg, S.C., nailed a sub-seven second run of more than 208 mph in the second session. That evening under the lights, two other drivers slipped under 7 seconds and over 200 mph. Doug Vancil, of Albuquerque, N.M., ripped down the quarter mile in 6.513 seconds at 206.35 mph, good for the top qualifying spot.
With even hotter temperatures for Sunday's elimination rounds, you might expect even slower times, but that wasn't the case. In fact, most of the drivers and officials didn't notice an appreciable difference in times. Sounds like they had adjusted.
In Top Fuel, for example, there were eight passes of more than 200 mph. In the finals, Vancil put down a 6.614 ET, with a .072 reaction time, at just a twitch over 200 mph. That was more than enough to take the win from Furr, who red-lighted on his 6.729, 207.21 mph run. But Vancil didn't know Furr had red lit until after the run.
"I thought he (Furr) got a real good light because it was pretty close (at the finish)," Vancil said. "In fact, in the shutdown I told him, 'You cut the tree on me, Bill.' "
Out of the 14 top qualifiers, Vancil was one of only five who made it to the winner's circle. Others who won their Pro classes were Mark Conner in Pro Fuel, Steve Dorn in Pro Drag and Travis Lummus in Street Pro. Tripp Nobles in V-Rod was the only Sportsman class rider to qualify first and win his class.
Heartland Park Topeka is home to many NHRA records and can now claim two national class records in ADHRA as well.
Dorn had a 7.351 during qualifying in Pro Drag, while Nobles recorded a 9.737 in V-Rod during eliminations
Perhaps the surprise winner of the weekend was Karen Wagner, from Escondido, Calif. She qualified ninth out of 10 riders in Sportsman Super Stock with a 10.671 pass on a 10.30 index and nailed a 10.397 in the finals.
"I'm awfully proud of her. For her first season, she's doing great," said Jack Wagner, her husband and crew chief.
"I'm doing all right," said a modest Karen, who attributed her win this weekend to "a good bike, good pit crew and some luck."
When Jack raced in ET class, Karen would go with him to the races. She eventually got tired of being at the track and doing nothing.
"I decided if we were going to continue doing this, I should get into it also," she said.
Karen raced twice last year in ET, but during the winter they decided she should move up to Super Stock this season.
Despite her modesty, Karen has done well for herself in her first full season of racing. This was her second Western Division win, coming in her last two races. She came into the weekend second in Western points and fifth in National.
Like so many others in all forms of motorsports, Karen races because of the fun and the people involved in the sport.
"I think just like the guys; it's a real high, it's a rush. It's definitely a lot of fun," she said. "All of the racers are just outstanding people to know and it's nice to be around people like that."
Vancil echoes the rush of drag bikes.
"There's nothing like it in the world," current AHDRA points leader Vancil said of racing Harleys. "The sound, the thrill -- they're awesome. It's the 'need for speed' on American motorcycles." <pre> Final round results at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.)
Top Fuel Champion -- Doug Vancil, Albuquerque, N.M., 0.072 RT, 6.614 ET, 200.62 MPH. Runner-up -- Bill Furr, Orangeberg, S.C., -0.113, 6.729, 207.21.
Pro Fuel Champion -- Mark Conner, Sturgis, Mich., 0.114, 7.026, 190.35. Runner-up -- Bill Bertolette, Washingtonville, Ohio, 0.100, 7.473, 146.02.
Pro Stock Champion -- Tom Bradford, Eagle, Wis., 0.138, 7.483, 173.87. Runner-up -- Dirk Higgins, Kirby, Ohio, 0.040, 7.666, 168.81.
Pro Drag Champion -- Steve Dorn, Oregon City, Ore., 0.132, 7.436, 177.70. Runner-up -- Chuck Jones, St. Petersburg, Fla., 0.052, 7.816, 156.37.
Pro Gas Champion -- Lee Hitz, Annville, Pa., 0.143, 9.431, 139.04. Runner-up -- Robert Markham, Loveland, Colo., no run.
Pro Modified Champion -- Cliff Dwy, Madras, Ore., 0.052, 8.547, 150.28. Runner-up -- Darren Mauldin, Mesa, Ariz., 0.075, 8.568, 152.29.
Street Pro Champion -- Travis Lummus, Ashville, N.C., 0.211, 9.384, 144.44. Runner-up -- Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., 0.204, 10.171, 129.62.
Super Gas Champion -- Willie Herschberger, Bradenton, Fla., 0.112, 9.983, 123.42. Runner-up -- Dale Miller, Liberty Center, Ohio, 0.088, 10.037, 129.29.
Super Sport Champion -- Karen Wagner, Escondido, Calif., 0.073, 10.397, 118.42. Runner-up -- Dave Ostrowske, Canton, Ohio, 0.019, 0.473, 125.19.
Super Eliminator Champion -- Mike Harrison, Uniontown, Ohio, 0.033, 11.032, 117.42. Runner-up -- Bob Drapp, Orlando, Fla., 0.127, 10.974, 115.01.
Performance Champion -- Charlie Walker, Brandon, Miss., 0.036, 11.580, 109.15. Runner-up -- John Hendrzak, Criswell, Ore., 0.055, 1.563, 113.60.
ET Champion -- Larry Maynhart, Swanton, Ohio, 0.008, 11.278, 112.65. Runner-up -- Ron Roti, Arvada, Colo., 0.191, 1.863, 113.49.
Hot Street Champion -- David Atkins, Bradenton, Fla., 0.160, 10.712, 121.84. Runner-up -- Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., 0.187, 10.695, 123.80.
V-Rod Champion -- Tripp Nobles, Statesville, N.C., 0.213, 9.737, 138.47. Runner-up -- Larry Maynhart, Swanton, Ohio, 0.218, 11.136, 121.27.