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On December 6, 2016, when the official announcement was released by the IHRA for their 2017 Summit Sportsman Program, the word on the street could not have been better for IHRA sportsman series racers. But the deafening silence, complete with the sounds of crickets chirping about the fate of professional class racing suddenly came to the forefront. Not one word was mentioned bout the professional class racing, or the lack thereof for 2017, leaving all the IHRA Nitro Harley racers suddenly hanging in that silence; but not for long.
ADRL Tech guru Rick More and lead man for the sanction, Kenny Nowling, are both big Nitro Harley fans and when they saw that the Harley Top Fuel motorcycles had no future with IHRA in 2017, they contacted Jay Turner. “It was mutual really,” commented Nowling in a recent phone interview, “Rick More and I were both in favor of seeing the big bikes with the ADRL, so we contacted Jay, flew down there for lunch and here we go.”
The eight-race 2017 season for ADRL, (as of 14 December 2016) will kick off on February 24-25 at a race track TBD (to be determined). “There are several race facilities that are capable and wish to host races with us (the ADRL) so we are still looking at racing dates and locations - so our schedule is still in a state of flux at this time,” Nowling said. “But our season will kick off on the weekend of February 24–25, that much I’m sure of.”
The class will officially carry the moniker of Nitro Harley, they will race to 1,000 feet and they will follow essentially NHRA Top Fuel Harley rules, but that is subject to review at this time. The racers have NO entry fees and they will be racing for a purse that is to be determined. ADRL class sponsors are still forming up as of December 2016, so in the not too distant future, actual payout numbers will likely emerge.
“Our Nitro Harleys are racing for points in their class just the same as all out other professional classes, they will be competing for an end of season purse, championship jacket, ring and trophy,” stated Nowling. “I’m excited to have the Nitro Harleys with us, they put on a hell of a show.”
Jay Turner, who won the IHRA and NHRA Nitro Harley championships in 2016, said, “I’m happy to have somewhere to race. With no pro classes being defined by the IHRA, we need somewhere to race so I’m looking forward to this.” Jay Turner Racing, Jay’s enterprise, was instrumental in developing the IHRA Nitro Harley program. So it was no small wonder that ADRL tapped Jay on the shoulder about the big thunder bikes racing with them in 2017.