Ray Price Racing and new rider Tripp Nobles hit the track together for the first time at the All Harley Drag Racing Association event in Bristol, Tennessee. Nobles earned his Top Fuel license and qualified 11th in the 16-bike field with a 6.976 at...
Ray Price Racing and new rider Tripp Nobles hit the track together for the first time at the All Harley Drag Racing Association event in Bristol, Tennessee. Nobles earned his Top Fuel license and qualified 11th in the 16-bike field with a 6.976 at 199.85, then faced 3-time national champion Doug Vancil in round 1 of eliminations.
Nobles has a motorcycle road and drag racing resume nearly as long as Bristol's quarter mile dragstrip, but he'd never raced anything remotely like Price's nitromethane brute, with pistons the size of large coffee cans churning beneath his chin. "The Top Fueler is intimidating," admitted Tripp, the defending AHDRA champion in the comparatively mild Screamin' Eagle V-Rod class. "But I remind myself that I've been racing motorcycles for 35 years, and it's just another motorcycle. But it is a lot different, and I've got a lot to learn."
Nobles is learning quickly, and the first racer to sign off on his Top Fuel license was Vancil, followed by fellow heavy hitters Mike Romine and Johnny Mancuso. "It was an honor," Tripp said about their support.
But that honor turned stressful when Nobles had to race Vancil the very next day. "I enjoyed the pressure of lining up next to him and Julie (Vancil, Doug's wife, crew chief and AHDRA Pro Wrench of the Year)," said Tripp. "I couldn't have had a better racer to line up against for my first round. The only thing that sucked is that I lost. I lined up crooked--it was my fault. I left with an .071 light to his .109, but I know Doug probably took it easy 'cause he'd seen me struggling to get down the track in qualifying."
"Tripp is working very hard to transfer his riding techniques to Top Fuel," said Price, who is still recovering from a spill on the bike in May of 2003. "It's obviously much, much different than his V-Rod program with Don Tilley. He has all the qualifications to be a good rider. He shows great reaction times and tremendous potential."
Nobles feels the potential is there for the group to actually win a race before the year is out, and expressed a great amount of confidence in Price, crew chief Jeremy Hoy and crew member Justin Heinly. "I can't tell you enough about the professionalism of those people," said Tripp. "I don't care whether it's on a Blast or the Fueler, I can win some races with those people."
Tripp's next chance to do just that is at the Screamin' Eagle Performance Parts Nationals presented by The Carolina Harley-Davidson Dealers Association at Ray's home track, Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, North Carolina, October 9 & 10.
Ray Price Racing is sponsored by Ray Price H-D, Raleigh H. O. G., Buell, Performance Machine, Ultra Pro Machining, Autolite Sparkplugs, Royal Purple Synthetic Oil, Barnett Clutches & Cables, Roy's Rental Uniform Service, PRP/MSD Ignitions, ThermoDynamic/Reactor Power Cell, JIMS USA, Mickey Thompson Tires, Simpson Race Products, Diamond Engineering, Copperhead Graphics, VP Racing Fuel, Gates Rubber Co., Bates Leathers, Hargis Consulting, DME Racing, and Brown and Miller Racing Solutions.
Nobles is sponsored by Drag Specialties, HJC Helmets, Alpinestars, AST Sports Science, Performance Machine and LBZ.