No matter the points, no matter who’s won the previous events, when the AMRA All-Harley Series comes to Rockingham Dragway for the Jim McClure Nitro Nationals, as it will for the 24th time Oct. 16-18, the man to beat for the Top Fuel title is Carolina’s Tommy Grimes.
Astride the “Raleigh Rocket” of Harley Hall-of-Famer Ray Price, Grimes has been the No. 1 qualifier at the fall classic the last four years. Moreover, as the 2013 winner he is the reigning McClure champion insomuch as the race was rained out after the qualifying phase a year ago.
As if that wasn’t enough to establish the Clemmons, N.C., rider as a solid favorite, consider the fact that he is the AMRA national record holder for quarter mile time (6.197 seconds) and speed (227.27 miles per hour) and he set both of those marks at the Rock.
So, while Joey Sternotti of Naples, Fla., will roll into the Carolinas as the point leader with Jake Stordeur of Goshen, Ohio, Larry Stanley of Norton, Ohio, and Jim Doyle of Chicopee, Mass., close behind, they’ll all be focused on Grimes and his dominance at Rockingham.
The last time a Ray Price Top Fuel bike didn’t start No. 1 at Rockingham was 2010 when Takeshi Shigematsu of Ehime, Japan, grabbed the top spot.
In addition to Top Fuel, champions will be crowned in all the other major categories including Nitro Funny Bike, Pro Fuel, Pro Gas and Pro Mod plus a full complement of sportsman classes.
While Grimes will focus strictly on Top Fuel, a number of entrants will have double-up potential including Stordeur, Stanley and Doyle, who also will compete in Funny Bike. Stordeur is the Funny Bike point leader ahead of Rocky Jackson of Youngsville, La., who himself will have a double-up opportunity astride a Pro Fuel Bike.
Jackson, who won Pro Fuel at The Rock in 2013, leads the points in that class but likely will be challenged at the McClure Classic by Dennis Fisher of Dayton, Ohio, Keith Kelly of Dickson, Tenn., and Gary Stroud of Valparaiso, Ind.
The three-day cyclefest, which includes a live band following qualifying on Saturday, begins with a 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. test session on Friday. Saturday qualifying will begin at 10 a.m. and will set the field for single elimination finals starting at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Three-day adult tickets are $45. Combo Saturday-Sunday tickets are $35. Admission at the gate will be $20 for adults with children six and under free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Parking is free in Rockingham’s main lot.
Photography by Moto Lenz Photos
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.