Rain Can’t Stop Final Eliminations As Grimes, Parker Score Victories At NW Nitro Motorcycle Nationals
Final eliminations were run to completion on Sunday, August 25th after a slight mid-afternoon rain delay. A great time was had by all as Top Fuel Harleys and Nostalgia Alcohol Funny Cars graced the spotlights and put on breathtaking 200+mph passes throughout the day. A special note should go out to all of Woodburn Dragstrip’s crew for their hard work and dedication towards putting the event on even when nothing but black clouds were in sight. It took almost three hours to dry up a completely drenched racetrack, with no wind to assist in the drying process, but thanks to the best crew in the Northwest, racing was able to be completed. Special congratulations go out to event winners Tommy Grimes (Top Fuel Harley), Kim Parker (Nostalgia Alcohol Funny Car), Janette Thornley (Pro Dragster), Bob Grimes (Pro Gas), Verl Smith (Hot Street), Gary Tokos (ET Harley), Lenn Darnell (Pro Mod), Kerry Drost (Pro Street), Shane White (Quick 8), Van Smith (ET Metric) and Michael Gosslin (King of the Track). Racing concluded and about a hour after the last pair went down track the rain began to pour and continued throughout the evening.
Top Fuel Harleys. The baddest of the bad, and nobody left this event questioning that statement at all. Amazingly quick passes and side-by-side rocketship blasts forced fans to their feet. In the final round, number one and number three qualifiers did battle to see who would emerge as the event champion. The number one qualifier, Tommy Grimes, defeated Steve Ruggiero and Randal Andras, with a semi-final elapsed time of 6.420 at 219.51 mph. For the number three qualifier Ron Gledhill, Steve Heidner and Damien Cownden were the defeated racers. In the final round, rider reaction times were separated by .025 in favor of Grimes. Both riders were neck and neck throughout the all concrete quarter mile of Woodburn Dragstrip, with Grimes keeping his front wheel out in front by .0042 at the finish line, earning him the win from the number one qualifying position.
The Nostalgia Alcohol Funny Cars put on a great show of side-by-side passes and 200 mph runs throughout the weekend. Low E.T. of the weekend went to Todd Swinford with his 6.631 and Matt Driscoll held top mph with a 220.48 pass. In the race to 6.75, Greg Howland and Kim Parker were the closest and as such were paired for the final round showdown. In the final round, Kim erupted with a .036 reaction time and powered down to get the win when she ran a 6.776 at 204.31mph, closer than Howlands 6.697 at 208.91.
The Harley Pro Dragster category is for nitro-burning carbureted Harleys, with the combined weight package creating a 5.7:1 weight to cubic inch ratio. The final round of eliminations featured the number one and two qualifiers of Janette Thornley and TF Brock. Brock launched with the big starting line advantage, but Thornley had the bike power to get the win, running a 7.506 at 163.16mph.
Bob Grimes was the lone Harley Pro Gas racer, running an 8.403 at 160.00mph in his ’95 built Harley.
Hot Street is a category for V-Twin Harleys that must drive back after their runs and have at least an 8:1 weight to cubic inch ratio. In the final round, riders Verl ‘Smitty’ Smith and Rick Baldwin faced off to see who would get the coveted Woodburn Wally. On paper, the final round would be a cakewalk for Baldwin, who enjoyed a performance advantage of almost one second. However, as they say in drag racing, ‘we don’t race ‘em on paper!’ as Smitty launched with the starting line advantage, and Baldwin encountered issues to give Smitty the win by .240.
The next category was Harley ET, a class that allows riders a chance to face off against their peers in bracket competition. Through five rounds of eliminations Gary Tokos again emerged as the motorcycle to beat when he defeated Miles Furrow in the final round. Tokos used a starting line advantage of over .26, which was good for him considering Furrow ran closer to his posted dial in. Tokos would come back later in the day to race off against the Metric winners for the King of the Track competition.
Pro Mod is a category for the fastest metric bikes. Number one qualifier Gary Christopher ran a 6.738 at 202.79mph in his turbo-charged entry, and made a semi-final round appearance. The final round however was between number two qualifier Lenn Darnell and Kenny Dreer. Darnell had the starting line advantage and never looked back to soar into the Winner’s circle.
In the Pro Street category, street legal motorcycles raced off to see who was the fastest in the Northwest. After a significant starting line advantage, Kerry Drost earned the victory with a blazing 7.639 at 173.41mph to down Eric Robinson, who ran a slightly slower 7.916 at 170.90mph.
The Quick 8 class for Metric bikes featured Michael Gosslin and Shane White in the final, with Gosslin looking to win two in two days after his E.T. victory Saturday. However, in the final round, White had other ideas when he shot off the starting line with the reaction time victory, and earned the win after Gosslin broke out at the finish line.
The Metric ET category brought a variety of bikes, with dial-ins ranging from 8.38 to 12.75. In the final round, it was the 12.7* dial in that proved to be the victor when Van Smith defeated Mark Adams. Adams had the starting line advantage but ran too quick and broke out trying to chase down Smith. With his victory, Smith earned his way into the King of the Track race, between Gary Tokos and Michael Gosslin.
The King of the Track showdown was slated to pit Saturday’s Metric winner Vs Sunday’s Metric winner, and Saturday’s Harley winner vs Sunday’s Harley winner. In the first half of the semi’s, Michael Gosslin used a stellar .007 reaction time to take out Van Smith, where Gary Tokos earned a single due to him winning both days. In the finals, reaction times were separated by .008, as both drivers rushed to the finish line with the win going to…Gosselin by sixteen thousandths!
Listed are final round results in order of driver name, city/state (vehicle type), [reaction time], elapsed time, miles per hour, and (dial-in).
Top Fuel Harley
Winner: Tommy Grimes, Pfafftown NC (’12 Harley) [.029] 6.605, 210.18.
R/U: Ron Gledhill, Taylorsville UT (’07 Harley) [.054] 6.584, 212.06.
Semi’s: Damien Cownden, Victoria BC; Randal Andras, Amelia LA.
Winner: Kim Parker, Graham WA (’70 Mustang) [.036] 6.697, 208.91.
R/U: Greg Howland, Wenatchee WA (’79 Corvette) [.085] 6.776, 204.31.
Semi’s: Todd Swinford, Keizer OR; Justin Taylor, Spokane WA.
Winner: Janette Thornley, Sacramento CA (’11 Harley) [.254] 7.506, 163.16.
R/U: TF Brock, Tacoma WA (’00 Marc) [.146] 8.181, 159.09.
Winner: Bob Grimes, Reading CA (’95 Harley) – 8.403, 160.00.
Winner: Verl Smith, Salem OR (’01 FXR) [.102] 11.638, 112.58.
R/U: Rick Baldwin, Oregon City OR (’74 Harley) [.204] 11.774, 122.51.
Semi’s: Anthony Lombardo, Albion CA; Henry Robinson, Tualatin OR.
Winner: Gary Tokos, East Olympia WA (’06 Harley) [.027] 9.685, 132.68 (9.60 dial).
R/U: Miles Furrow, Oregon City OR (’84 Harley FX) [.287] 12.056, 111.04 (12.00 dial).
Semi’s: Edward Little, Portland OR.
Winner: Lenn Darnell, Vancouver WA (’12 Hayabusa) [.114] 6.782, 193.09.
R/U: Kenny Dreer, Oregon City OR (’09 Suzuki) [.347] 6.923, 189.31.
Semi’s: Gary Christopher, Hope BC Canada.
Winner: Kerry Drost, Sherwood OR (’99 Hayabusa) [.047] 7.639, 173.41.
R/U: Eric Robinson, Eugene OR (’03 Suzuki) [.122] 7.916, 170.90.
Winner: Shane White, Salem OR (’06 Hayabusa) [.058] 9.667, 140.23 (9.60 dial).
R/U: Michael Gosslin, Bremerton WA (’99 Suzuki) [.083] 8.412, 149.70 (8.44 dial).
Semi’s: Nick Puhl, Port Orford WA.
Winner: Van Smith, Portland OR (’76 Kawasaki) [.127] 12.797, 99.31 (12.72 dial).
R/U: Mark Adams, Portland OR (’01 Kawasaki) [.045] 9.533, 126.26 (9.58 dial).
Semi’s: Michael Gosslin, Bremerton WA; Shane White, Salem OR.
King of the Valley
Winner: Michael Gosslin, Bremerton WA (’99 Suzuki) [.033] 8.389, 156.65 (8.35 dial).
R/U: Gary Tokos, East Olympia WA (’06 Harley) [.041] 9.647, 139.14 (9.60 dial).
Semi’s: Van Smith, Portland OR.