Oklahoma pair win 2 on their home turf and look to repeat in St. Louis.
"It was a rainy day in Oklahoma," said Funnybike builder/tuner Tommy Bolton. He and rider Glen Nickelberry were at their home track, Thunder Valley Raceway Park in Noble, Oklahoma. The Professional Motorcycle Racing Association (PMRA) had added a make-up date from a previously rained-out race on Saturday to double up with a scheduled race on Sunday. And now, on Saturday morning, it was raining again.
"The morning started out raining so we didn't know where qualifying would lead us," continued Bolton. When the skies cleared, the track dried quickly in the strong Oklahoma wind. That same wind, a stiff crosswind, shortened the high speed Funnybike program to the eighth mile. Bolton still had the winning tune-up from the Atlanta Prostar race in the bike when he sent Glen to the line for the first round of qualifying. That set2kill tune-up proved too much for the Oklahoma track, and the screamin' yellow and pink Kawasaki boiled the tire. "So, we backed everything down," said Tommy.
The subtle approach was the right one, and the team qualified #1 and breezed through three rounds of eliminations to the finals and the win against Troy Brown.
Thunder Valley Raceway Park, Noble, Oklahoma
PMRA Race 1 Results Saturday 5/01/04
Funnybike final (shortened to 1/8 Mile because of high winds)
Glen Nickelberry .137 4.469 et 163.39 mph (w)
Troy Brown .080 4.664 et 152.95 mph
#1 Qualifier Glen Nickelberry 4.421 at 163.45 mph
But the weekend, of course, was just half over. The winds had died down and Funnybike was back to racing the full quarter mile on Sunday. Different day, different length, same result. Tommy and Glen qualified #1 and, despite breaking a clutch pusher rod, scored another win--this time against fajita chef extraordinare John Wazel.
PMRA Race 2 Results Sunday 5/02/04
Glen Nickelberry .107 6.935 et 196.59 mph
John Wazel .182 8.647 et 159.63 mph
#1 Qualifier Glen Nickelberry 7.030 at 191.65 mph
"Kevin Draper of Majestic Turbo was there," Bolton said about the Oklahoma weekend. "We want to thank him and his wife for coming and being in the pits with us. And Mr. B.--Dorian Barnett, was there. We want to thank him for being there with us also."
"I just wanted to get it over with," said Glen. "It was a hard fought battle. None of the races we win are ever easy."
Maintaining the bike is never easy, either, and while getting the Kawasaki ready for St. Louis, Bolton found he had a broken crankshaft. Tommy sent the part to John Pearson of Pearson Racing in West Alexandria, Ohio, just west of Dayton. John specializes in dragbike cranks and transmissions, and Tommy's crank will be ready in time for the next race.
Breaking things, according to Bolton, is the cost of going fast and part of his game plan in defending last year's Prostar St. Louis win when the team returns there June 5th and 6th. "We're gonna break some parts and win it, that's the name of the game."
"We're looking to go up and work hard to win this thing," added Nickelberry. "That's what we're going to do."
You can see Glen and Tommy race at the AMA/Prostar race at Gateway International Raceway, near St. Louis in Madison, Illinois on June 5th and 6th, 2004.
Tommy and Glen thanked all their sponsors, including Wattie Wolfe Engineering, Majestic Turbo, Vance & Hines Motorsports, Bill Robinson Transmissions, Dynatek, TomBo Racing Engines, RC Components, Rod & Todd Auto Paint, Dorian "Mr. B." Barnett, the Nickelberry family and the entire Nickelberry race team.