First female motorcycle rider goes over 200 mph at ManCup

On Saturday, Sept. 23, Niki Taube Zakrzewski became the first female motorcycle drag racer to break the 200-mph barrier.


During ManCup competition at Rockingham Dragway, “Niki Zak”, who comes from Sydney, Australia, drove her Suzuki into the record books with a 6.51 at 200.65 mph.


She began motorcycle drag racing in 2013 and advanced to the professional ranks in 2015 in the Pro Open class.


“The ManCup congratulates Niki on her tremendous accomplishments,” said Jay Regan of the ManCup sanction. “To be the first female rider to crack the 200-mph barrier is truly and amazing accomplishment. For her to do it here with the ManCup makes it all the more special for us, as we have literally watched her performance improve nearly on an event-to-event basis over these three years she’s race with us.”


Until Saturday, the “fastest woman on two wheels” title belonged to NHRA Pro Stock Bike racer and former world champion Angelle Sampey of Mathews, LA, who attained a speed of 199.76 mph on July 31, 2016, at Sonoma Raceway in California.


Little more than 24 hours later, Niki Zak added an exclamation point by beating reigning Pro Open champion and point leader Mark Rendeluk of Oklahoma City to join Larry “Spiderman” McBride of Newport News, VA, and “Super Dave” Stewart of Mooresville, NC, as record-breaking winners of The Rock’s ManCup Fall Nationals.


Not to be outdone by the distaff side, in the semifinals Larry “Spiderman” McBride crossed the quarter-mile finish line at the fastest ever drag motorcycle speed of 255.20 mph.


More records fell and the full race report will be coming later.  

First female driver wins DRO AA/FC Challenge

Tera Graves drove John Hale’s “One Bad Texan” Camaro to win the DRO AA/FC Challenge at Tulsa Raceway Park on Saturday night, Sept. 23. Her opponent, Paul Romine in the “Man O’ War” Mustang, could not make the final-round call because the engine broke after setting Low ET of 5.79 in his semfinal.


Graves is the first woman to compete in the series. We’ll have the full race report tomorrow.  

Capps, B. Force, Butner and Krawiec are Maple Grove winners

Ron Capps powered to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious at the second of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.


Capps secured his seventh victory of the season and 57th of his career with a 3.968-second pass at 326.48 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to take down Courtney Force’s 3.993 at 311.70 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro in the final round. Capps retook the points lead in the Countdown to the Championship with the victory.


Capps earned the third qualifying position and took down Jim Campbell, 2016 winner of the events Tommy Johnson Jr. and teammate Matt Hagan on the way to his tenth final round this season. Courtney Force qualified eighth and defeated Bob Tasca III, teammate Robert Hight and Jack Beckman as she reached her fourth final round of the season. She is still without a win in 2017.


Brittany Force took down Steve Torrence in the final round of Top Fuel action with a 3.756 pass at 326.24 in her Monster Energy dragster to secure her second victory of the season and first since the event in Epping, N.H. in June. Force has now reached the final round at Maple Grove Raceway three times in her career, including in 2016.


Force entered Sunday as the No. 4 qualifier before defeating Wayne Newby, Tony Schumacher and reigning world champion Antron Brown on her way to the third final round of the year. Torrence qualified third and was victorious against Terry Haddock, Leah Pritchett and Dom Lagana as he reached his tenth final round this season. Torrence retook the points lead with the runner-up finish.


In Pro Stock, Butner drove to victory with a 6.613 at 209.95 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro to defeat Greg Anderson’s 6.660 at 206.95 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro in the final round. He reclaimed the lead in the Countdown to the Championship standings with his fourth win of the season.


Butner was the No. 1 qualifier and continued his strong weekend with victories over Val Smeland, Erica Enders and Allen Johnson before reaching his ninth final round of 2017. Anderson earned the sixth slot in qualifying and defeated Brian Self, rookie Tanner Gray and teammate Jason Line on the way to his ninth final round of the season.


Krawiec rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory with a 6.852 at 196.70 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to better LE Tonglet on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki in the finals. He earned his fifth victory of the season and third consecutive to improve his lead in the points standings.


“Things are definitely on the upswing since we switched back to last year’s chassis, it’s been huge for me and my team at the exact right time,” Krawiec said. “We didn’t start out as strong as we had hoped in qualifying, but we put it all together today and we’re pretty pleased with these results.”


Krawiec qualified fourth before taking down Kelly Clontz, teammate Andrew Hines and No. 1 qualifier Scott Pollacheck en route to the finals. Tonglet was the No. 7 qualifier and bested Angie Smith, teammate Jerry Savoie and Hector Arana Jr. as he finished as the runner-up for only the second time in his seven final rounds this year.  

Hight goes 339+ again; sets track records at Maple Grove

Robert Hight kept rolling on the first day of the NHRA Nationals on Friday at Maple Grove Raceway, speeding to the provisional No. 1 spot with the track-record for elapsed time as well as speed.


Hight made a run of 3.844 seconds at 339.02 mph to continue his hot streak. In addition to setting both ends of the track record, Hight’s speed was second only to his national record 339.87 mph speed set at Sonoma, Calif., in July.


Hight now owns the two fastest speeds in NHRA history, as well as four of the seven fastest speeds in NHRA. 

Lancaster holds ‘Thank You Thursday’ before final weekend of season

Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway held a Thursday night show for the Franco's Pizza IHRA Drag Racing program as a special opening act for U.S. Open weekend. Thank You Thursday was the next-to-last drag race of the 2017 season.


In Top 8 Eliminator, Joe Masullo of Buffalo scored his first win of the season while denying Brian Hitchcock his third-straight Top 8 victory. Masullo took advantage of a breakout by Hitchcock to score the win.


Jeff Sobczysnki of Depew, NY, picked up the win in Top ET over class points leader Dale Eckert. Eckert handed Sobczysnki his first Top win of the season by breaking out by just .02 seconds. He now holds a slim 10-point lead over Jan Winkowski going into the final race of the season.


In Mod ET, Clay Ricketson of E. Aurora, NY, grabbed his second victory of the year. Ricketson defeated Jeff Kerl in the final round. Ricketson's brother, Reid Ricketson, clinched the 2017 Mod track championship as he extended his points lead to 90 with one race to go.


Mike Peters of Angola, NY, was victorious for the fourth time this season in Bikes & Sleds. Peters rode past the sled of Rob Brandel in the finals to earn the win. He holds a 50-point lead over Lucas Salemi going into next Friday's Season Championship Night.


Mason Fix of Amherst, NY, scored his second-straight win in Street to extend his points lead in the class. Fix went head-to-head with Lancaster National Dragway Wall of Famer DJ Raiser in the final round, but Raiser red lighted the race away. Fix leads Eddie Semlitsch by 40 points in the race for the Street ET title.


The 2017 season comes to an end Friday, Sept. 30, on Season Championship Night. The TNT Hot Rod Series joins the four weekly classes as track champions are crowned.  

Reading sportsman racers get victories

Jeff Veale, Sean Bellemeur, and Tom Martino raced to victory during the 33rd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals this past weekend at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, PA.


Veale of Stoney Creek, Ont., started strong off the line and held off Jackie Fricke, Flemington, NJ, for the holeshot win in the Top Alcohol Dragster final round. Veale raced to victory clocking in at 5.402 seconds, 274.27 mph. and Fricke followed up at 5.384 seconds, 269.89 mph. This was the first time these two drivers matched up in eliminations.


In the Top Alcohol Funny Car final round, Phil Burkart, Yorkville, NY, took a strong lead over Bellemeur of Placentia, CA. However, Bellemeur did not quit and passed Burkart in the last 300 feet of the drag strip to pull off the victory at 5.542 seconds, 265.69 mph. Burkart runner upped at 5.586 seconds, 264.34 mph.


The Comp Eliminator final round featured a New Jersey showdown. Martino of Farmington obtained the starting line advantage and held off Scott Benham of Jackson for the double breakout victory. Martino made a victory pass of 8.684 seconds, 144.66 mph.


Super Stock: Byron Worner, Chevy Camaro, 9.863, 133.26 def. Anthony Bertozzi, Pontiac Grand Am, 9.062, 145.78.


Stock Eliminator: Karl Martel, Chevy Camaro, 10.262, 121.96 def. Lenny Williams, Buick Gran Sport, 11.139, 113.98.


Super Comp: Lauren Freer, Dragster, 8.899, 177.93 def. Jeff Kundratic, Dragster, 8.869, 165.25.


Super Gas: Kevin Robb, Chevy Corvette, 9.899, 162.84 def. Ray Sawyer, Chevy Camaro, 9.892, 176.05. 

Gaydosh ends season on disappointing note

John Gaydosh Jr. has been through a couple of rough events. After sitting out Charlotte when he lost his Gray Motorsports engine deal, his team made it to Reading with the help of Gary Stropko getting a new engine together.


The Pennsylvania event was scheduled to be the last of the season for the part-time team. Unfortunately, there was no come-back story as the team did not qualify.

“It’s been a long weekend. It started on Tuesday. We put in a lot of hours to get to this race. We got here and the motor was OK; we just have to figure out a tune-up. We missed all of Friday sessions because we had a starter issue. One of those things that shouldn’t have happened, but it did.”


But the Baltimore driver, who races a limited schedule mostly on the East Coast, was philosophical. “We had a great season. Won the most rounds I ever have in one season, so we had really good time. The season is over now, so we’re going to regroup and see what we can do for next year. See if we can come up with some more sponsorship and we can keep on rolling. Until then, we’ll just keep moving on and see what happens.


“I want to thank all of our fans and all of our sponsors for everything and all of their support over the year. Pypes Performance, Competition Products & RJS; we couldn’t be here without them.”  

Not cheap, but he can be bought?

A note attached to a discarded Cincinnati Bengals losing ticket stub inside of a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte cup was left on the front porch of the Phlegm Building this morning.


Seems that noted former nitro tuner Tim Ferrell was spotted at this past weekend’s Xtreme Outlaw Series and Super Pro event in Xenia, Ohio, at Kil-Kare Raceway. Ferrell was keeping a watchful eye on the Jeff Hurst Top Dragster along with the Pro Mod Ford Mustang of Boyd Beyer.


When asked if he ever has aspirations to return to the 24-race NHRA schedule to tune or consult for a 10,000-horsepower nitro race car, Ferrell said, with a slight grin, "If the price is right," and headed back to the pits to prepare for eliminations.    

Not cheap, but he can be bought?

Summit Racing Equipment has opened a new Distribution Center and Retail Super Store in Arlington, TX.


At 750,000 square feet, the facility is Summit Racing’s largest and is located at 2200 E. Interstate 20 at Bardin Rd. exit. The retail store is 32,000 sq. ft.


Summit says orders placed for in-stock items by 10 p.m. (Eastern) will be shipped the same day. 

IHRA Summit Sportsman Series Crowns Champions

The IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship came to a close at Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio. Eight champions were named.

Rob Harvischak won the 2017 Top Sportsman title with his event win, bumping out Marion Goates, who came into the weekend as the class leader.


Troy Williams Jr. from Daytona Beach, FL, captured the Top Dragster championship. Williams captured victories at Palm Beach and Carolina and reached the final-round both days at the season-opening event in Immokalee.

Pete D'Agnolo from Rochester, NY, is the new Super Stock champion. D'Agnolo was a three-time winner on the season with a sweep of Darlington races and as a Sunday winner at Empire.


Myron Piatek is the second IHRA champion this season from the Sunshine State. The Holly Hill, FL, driver won the Stock championship; he won early in the season at Palm Beach and then swept the Piedmont events.

Danny Waters Jr. from LaGrange, GA, wrapped up the Quick Rod title and finished the season with four victories. Waters won the Palm Beach makeup at Darlington, and captured the Sunday Darlington race. Later in the season he swept the Farmington weekend.

Vernon Rowland from Blanchard, OK, finished runner-up in Super Rod on Saturday and parlayed that into a championship over Dave Marcus Jr. from Sarasota, FL, who came into the weekend as points leader. Rowland had three wins this season at three different tracks. He won at San Antonio in March, picked up a second win in June at US 131 in Michigan and added the third victory at Memphis in August.


Christopher Webb from Four Oaks, NC, is the new Hot Rod champion. Webb took advantage of a triple-race weekend in Darlington, with a final-round appearance in the Palm Beach make-up race and a win in the Sunday finale. He added another win at Farmington and another runner-up finish at Carolina.

Paige Montgomery from Alden, NY, had four wins and five final-round appearances over a six-race stretch to capture the Junior Dragster title. She swept races at Maryland and Empire, and reached the finals and semifinals in races at Keystone. 




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