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Collisions and Explosions for Top Fuel Harley at Sonoma

Collisions and Explosions for Top Fuel Harley at Sonoma

  • Nicole Erickson
  • Raleigh, NC
  • 4 August 2015

The NHRA Division 7 race in Sonoma, CA on the weekend of July 24th was not your typical race for Top Fuel Harleys. Rider Tony Ruggiero called it “the craziest weekend of competition ever.” Four bikes entered the race Friday, but on Sunday, only one was able to drive to the finish line.

On Friday, Tommy Grimes and Ron Gledhill sped down the track in qualifying, Grimes even taking the number one spot going 6.480 E.T. at 224.36 mph. But after the finish line, Gledhill & Grimes both drifted towards the right wall. Gledhill’s bike ended up driving up the back of Grimes wheelie bar, taking out the parachutes, breaking the body and actually hitting Grimes. Gledhill became separated from bike and it ended up going into the sand trap and into safety nets, tearing the front of the bike apart.

Things did not go much better for rider Tony Ruggiero. On Friday, his bike blew an oil line out of his tank in the burnout box. Saturday, he spun the tires and at the 350 feet mark dropped a hole. At 1150 feet a rod broke, then the cylinders, then pistons and pretty much everything else. Ruggiero said, the only thing left in all the carnage was a brand new head.

Ruggiero’s new Nitro Syndicate teammate, Michael Beland, had a much better weekend. He ended up taking home not one – but two Wallys. He won the Top Fuel Harley category and also the Hot Street Harley category. The West Palm Beach native raced his ’08 Dyna to 12.000 E.T. defeating Denny Alves from El Cerrito, CA. This was also Beland’s first ever Top Fuel Harley competition.

Now three teams are working to fix their bikes to run the final event of the season at the NHRA Division 7 race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on November 5th – 8th.


The Ray Price Motorsports team sends sincere thanks to all their sponsors for their support. They include our Primary Sponsors: Akea, Ray Price Harley-Davidson, with special thanks to our Associate Sponsor Raleigh H.O.G. and our Support Sponsors: Vanson Leathers, PJ1 Products, RC Components, CP Pistons, Barnett Clutches & Cables, Autolite Sparkplugs, Mickey Thompson Tires, Gates Belts, Nationwide Insurance, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, JIMS USA, Industrial Machine Solutions, Wiley X, LAT Racing Oils and Nitrolube. Additional thanks: Bill Hayes, Hargis Consulting, Ultra Pro Machining and Freddie Robbins.

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