John Mancuso First Top Fuel Harley Champion

Top Fuel Harley Pilot John Mancuso Becomes First Harley Racer To Win Automotive-based, Sanctioning Body Drag Racing Championship! ASHEVILLE, NC-- His name will forever be etched in the record books as the first-ever Top Fuel Harley-Davidson...

Top Fuel Harley Pilot John Mancuso Becomes First Harley Racer To Win Automotive-based, Sanctioning Body Drag Racing Championship!

ASHEVILLE, NC-- His name will forever be etched in the record books as the first-ever Top Fuel Harley-Davidson racer to win a world championship under the sanction of an automotive-oriented, sanctioning body and that is something that invokes a never-ending smile from Houston, Tx., based Harley dealer John Mancuso. The 48-year old, fuel rider reigns as the winningest rider on the Screamin' Eagle-sponsored series by winning half of the races contested during the inaugural season. No other rider won more than one IHRA national event during the season.

Mancuso was officially crowned world champion during the IHRA awards banquet January 14 in Asheville, NC. It was an emotional evening for many of the attendees at the function hosted by the historic, Grove Park Inn Resort. Mancuso walked to the podium and delivered nothing less than a professional speech.

"I feel extremely honored to be here," Mancuso uttered. "This championship has been a complete team effort as well as making this circuit a success. We all have a long way to go and to look at the situation now, we have a full head of steam brewing towards success. I am able to stand before you only because of the tireless efforts of my crew, the IHRA, Screamin' Eagle and all of my sponsors."

He continued, "I was in a seminar earlier in the day and the speaker instructed the racers to never use the phrase, 'I'd like to thank', in an effort to avoid ending up on the video room cutting floor. Since there are no cameras for television use here, I'll break that cardinal rule this one time. There are so many people that deserve to be told thanks."

Not only was Mancuso awarded his 1998 Screamin' Eagle World Championship, he was also a finalist for the award of Professional Racer Of The Year. This award is traditionally decided by the readers of Drag Review magazine, the IHRA's official magazine. The nomination marks the first time in IHRA history that a motorcycle racer has been a finalist for such an award.

Mancuso plans to contest a 19-race schedule for 1999 and likewise plans to defend a championship earned under ADBA sanction. Mancuso says, "We had a good season in 1998. I am keeping my fingers crossed for another good one in 1999. Time will tell and racing is a tricky sport. But, you can count on one thing, every time I go out there, I go to win."

Mancuso, along with the rest of the Screamin' Eagle contestants, will make their 1999 debut at the IHRA Prolong Winter Nationals in Darlington, S.C., March 12-14. Each contestant will be afforded three qualifying runs and the quickest eight bikes will compete in final eliminations on Sunday. This event will be televised on ESPN2 with the dates TBA in an upcoming issue of Drag Review.

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