NHDRO Caps Season in Beautiful Racing Weather at Norwalk
NHDRO’s Midwest Fall Nationals presented by Liguori Drag Racing finished off the Midwest’s largest motorcycle drag racing series’ season in true NHDRO style—family, festive, high stakes fun at unquestionably one of the top-tier tracks in the world: Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
Norwalk was the final event of a 2022 NHDRO season that saw three race days at each and every event, maximizing racer paybacks for their travel dollar in a time of high expenses for all travellers. Champions were determined in all classes following two full points races on Saturday and Sunday, plus the usual NHDRO Friday night shootouts.
Schnitz Racing Top Gas and Shootout
There are no bigger advocates for Summit Motorsports Park than Cleveland’s Adams family, so it is only fitting that Craig and Kevin Adams had so much success at the NHDRO race—including sweeping both Schnitz Racing Top Gas points races.
Craig and his wheelie bar dragbike faced tough competition in Saturday’s final against no-bar racer David Beshara—winner on both days of the recent Edgewater event.
But Craig’s .018 light vs. Beshara’s .047 laid a table that Beshara couldn’t clear, despite running dead-on 8.20 with a 9, and Adams was able to win with an 8.22 at 28 miles per hour less than Beshara.
“Faced some really tough racers, lucky to come out with the win,” said Craig. “Had to race my brother second round in a really tight race.
“Thanks to Dad, Gary Godwin, Kevin, Gavin, Niki and Brian Welch, the Short family, Ligouri Racing, my wife Jill, and Eatmyink for the great coverage as always.”
Mike Puglia was Saturday's number one qualifier.
The roles were reversed in Sunday’s final, with Craig’s brother Kevin riding a no-bar Suzuki Hayabusa against dragbike racer Bradley Shellhaas—also a member of a racing family.
This time around, both racers had awesome lights, with Shellhaas’ .019 only .001 behind Adams. Bradley broke out by .002 while Kevin ran 8.203 on the 8.20 index—what a race!
“What an awesome weekend with family and friends!” said Kevin. “To be able to race at the best track in the country and what I consider the best motorcycle sanction out there, NHDRO!
“Friday started out slow, losing a tight race in Top Gas Shootout, but got to test our brand new bike on motor and was very successful.
“Saturday, again lost a tight race to my brother in Top Gas, but the good news was he went on and won and I ended up runner-up in Super Comp.
“And for Sunday, wow, what a day to be able to get to the finals of Super Comp and Top Gas and end up winning both against very tough competitors, and made it to the semifinals in Street ET and lost another close race.
“I want to thank Greg and Maria Kubach for being great friends and giving me such awesome bikes to race, Joe Marasco, my dad, my wife Brianna Adams, and my sons Connor and Gavin for all their help and support.”
Friday’s Schnitz Racing Top Gas Shootout winner was Doug Fisher, who bypassed a race at his home track 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan to come race with NHDRO at Norwalk.
Wheelie bar racer Fisher beat no-bar racer Michael D’Addio in the Shootout final. “The bike went 8.202 out of the trailer,” said Fisher, who also went to two semifinals.
“Thanks Richard Gadson for the tuning and pit help. David Beshara said ‘You hired a tuner.’ I replied ‘He’s fam.’
“Thanks also to Donna Fisher for going and Alexis Baker for the great food and support.
“The long rollout got us Saturday and Sunday.”
Defending and once again Schnitz Racing Top Gas champ Jeremy Teasley came up winless in the class on this particular weekend, but retains his championship regardless.
“My plan was to do better in Top Gas, but I ended up with the Super Comp win—just as good but not as many points as I wanted,” said Teasley. “I knew Jeremy England was right behind me in Top Gas, but still squeezed out the championship at the end.
“Want to thank Brian and Niki Welch for the awesome event, can’t wait till next year.”
Sunday Top Gas number one qualifier Ceslie Shellhaas ended up feeling fortunate that her progress through the field was stopped midday.
“I made my Top Gas bye run and lost the right wheelie bar panel,” said Ceslie. “Ran second round of Pro ET and won. Then came up for third round of Pro ET and the bike died twice after my burnout, so I backed out and went back.
“We made some adjustments and the bike started just fine. I went ahead and took the left panel off before heading up for Top Gas second round. I got a rag and started to wipe the bars down and when I got to the side I had just removed, the bottom bar was completely broken. And then after checking the other side again it was starting to crack along the same spot.”
So in retrospect, it was a good thing that the panel fell off, that her bike died in Pro ET, and that she took the other panel off and discovered the crack. Hitting those broken bars in Top Gas might have proven disastrous.
MTC Super Comp 8.90 index
As Kevin Adams has already mentioned, he won Sunday’s MTC Super Comp 8.90 index, beating Greg “Magnet” Mallett in the final. Kevin (also the number one qualifier) nailed a perfect .000 light that left Mallett dazed to an .084. Kevin ran .040 slower than Greg and still won.
Adams runner-upped on Saturday to Jeremy Teasley. Jeremy’s .010 light put .032 on Kevin at the get-go, and Teasley was able to take the win with an 8.96 at only 150 mph to Adams’ 8.95 at 155.
The Super Comp and Pro ET championships were won by Joe Klemme, who also won Saturday’s MPS Pro ET race. “This late in the season and in my career, I was still trying some new things at the starting line and on the track,” said Klemme. “Some of those things helped and some didn't, but if you don't try new things you will be just like everyone else.
“My win in Pro ET on Saturday and semifinal finishes in Super Comp on both days was, as always, a total team KPM Racing effort. I would like to thank my teammates Tom Klemme (also Joe’s brother), Tim Genung, and John Mealy for all their help at the shop and on the track. Also thanks to KPM and Ed and Bradley Grothus at Grothus Dragbikes for their continued support.
“Our team’s success this weekend secured the championships in Pro ET and Super Comp. I would like to dedicate these two championships to my late sister Judy Grothus and uncle Roger Klemme, who we lost recently.”
MPS Racing Pro ET
As mentioned above, Joe Klemme won the MPS Pro ET championship and Saturday’s race. Pete Chongris runner-upped, his .035 light no match for Klemme’s .009. Chongris ran closer to his 8.95 his dial-in, but Klemme was close enough to his own 9.28.
Kyle Dolamore won an “all-Dolomite” final on Sunday against his cousin Steven Dolamore. Kyle put .033 on Steven at the tree to pretty well settle this one, as Steven broke out by more in the double breakout race.
“Me and my cousin both actually lost first round and didn’t wanna buy back 'cause we were both frustrated about us messing up the race, and my father talked us into buying back,” reported Kyle. “As I’m putting the body on the bike to head to the lanes, I remember looking at my brother and going ‘I’m about to wear some people and everybody is in trouble and better stay outta my way cause I’m winning this damn race now.’”
And true enough, he did. “This win was special to me because exactly six years ago I won my first race, and that was the Division 3 bracket finals, so winning again on that same day six years later and it being my second win ever was just something special! Along with it being my first ever win at my home track on a dragbike!
“One of the coolest things was finally winning with my grandparents Terry and Hedi Dolamore at the track. My grandfather is the one who got all of us into racing, so finally getting him in my winner circle photo has been a goal of mine since I started racing. And doing it in the fashion of it being an all-family final and the first time we ever did that just put the cherry on top!
“Just want to thank my family for everything they have done and always supporting me, especially my dad Tony for always making sure I have the best equipment possible and always wanting the best for me even if it means he gives up his bike for me to ride that weekend, and my mom Traci. Also like to thank my brother (Michael Maday) and my sister (Morgan Dolamore, recently married so Morgan Moore) and my cousin Steven for always reminding me that I’m a ‘Bad Dude,’ as they say.
“Also wanna give a shoutout to the Bader family for always giving us an amazing track to race at and just the best in the business facility-wise! Also thanks to the Adams family for always being there to lend a helping hand or advice or even a motorcycle at times!”
M2.Shocks 8.70 Quick Street
We’ve read about brothers and cousins winning races at Norwalk, but Marty White is a one-man wrecking ball. Already the defending M2.Shocks 8.70 Quick Street champion, White repeated that title along with the Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET championship.
White won Sunday’s Quick Street final at the expense of Eric Yost in a double breakout. White’s .031 advantage at the tree laid the table for his 8.696 to beat Yost’s 8.692.
“I couldn’t be more appreciative for my family and friends for supporting me and the whole AWR Cycles team,” said White. “Brian, Niki and the whole Welch family for giving us the opportunity to have so much dang fun, and Tim Hailey for capturing every precious moment! The racing action photos are awesome and the candids with family and friends melt my heart.
“The season was amazing for the whole team. Too many milestones to even mention. To win six races and back-to-back championships in two classes in a two season span is surreal to say the least!
“The old Katana rides like a Cadillac. I’m honored to be associated with AWR Cycles, NHDRO, Page Racing, JTR, the best photographer around, and many others. Keep safe, keep chasing your dreams, and make sure Eatmyink captures it all!”
Saturday winner Jaden Hall put .022 on runner-up Rashad Rowe at the tree, taking the win despite being nearly a hundredth slower on track.
Phil Tinsley and Tom Cooper were number one qualifiers.
Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET
As already mentioned, double championship winner Marty White also won the Kevin Dennis Insurance Street ET title, sealing the deal with Saturday’s race win over Owen Burdick. Marty’s .029 starting line advantage proved impossible for Burdick to overcome on this particular day.
Burdick runner-upped again on Sunday, this time against Sean Neizmik. Sean didn’t post an impressive number at the starting line—a .127 to Burdick’s much better .038. But his ZX14 ran dead on his 8.97 with a 9, while Burdick’s 9.27 fell way short of his 9.11 dial-in.
“I really appreciate all the hard work Brian and his family put in to making the NHDRO venues a pleasure to race at,” said Neizmik. “I want to thank the Lord, thank my family, and really enjoy having the opportunity to compete against such a talented group of racers.”
Advanced Sleeve Dirty 30 9.30 and Friday’s Delay Box Shootout
Despite Tom Klemme’s two Advanced Sleeve Dirty 30 9.30 finals at Norwalk—winning one—it was Drew Nearhoof that won the championship.
“I'd like to thank a few people,” said Nearhoof. “My papa and uncle Fran looking down from above and keeping me safe. My uncle Dick and father who have let me store my dragbike, pitbikes, & streetbikes at the family automotive repair shop throughout the years. My uncle Kevin (Nasca) who always keeps things light at our pit spot.
“Blood runs thicker than water in our family and this championship would not have been possible without these men blazing the path for me.”
Klemme won on Saturday despite giving up the tree to runner-up Marshall Hutchinson .041 to 018. It was a double breakout, with Hutchinson’s 9.27 more offensive than Klemme’s 9.28.
“I can't have success without a dedicated team and great pit help,” said Klemme, also Saturday's number one qualifier. His brother Joe qualified number one on Sunday. “Zero mistakes made by my pit man John Mealy, but I made a few.”
Like going -.004 red against his brother Joe—who was trying to lose on purpose—in Street ET. Tom was trying for the bye the next round but lost the bye he already had.
“I'm still recovering from a sprained wrist and I don't feel like I'm racing at 100%. I'm happy and fortunate to do as well as I did.”
Which included a win in Friday’s Delay Box Shootout. Tom beat David Beshara in the final.
Tom also did his job at the starting line in Sunday’s Dirty 30 final, posting an .027 to Justin Blackford’s .053. But Klemme was .005 quicker than Blackford when he didn’t want to be—at the finish of the double breakout race.
“This past weekend was an absolute blast at Summit Motorsports Park!” said Blackford. “This is my second year coming out to NHDRO events and it's always something I look forward to.
“This season, my number one goal was to bring home a Big Check and get my first ever event win. Being able to make it happen on the last day of the last event in front of friends and family, and a lot of the people that helped me get to this point, was an awesome experience and something I'll never forget!”
Friday Night Shootouts
Friday night is Shootout time at NHDRO, and Norwalk’s weather couldn’t have been more perfect—for all three days and nights, actually.
Buffalo, New York’s Owen Burdick may have come up short Saturday and Sunday in Street ET, but Friday was his as he won the No-Box Shootout, taking the final over Rylan Rowe.
“It was my first time at an NHDRO race and first time racing at Norwalk,” said Burdick. “This is my first full year on my new bike (‘08 Suzuki GSXR1000), so a lot of firsts. I had a great experience all weekend at the races. Great people and the event was run very well. Hats off to Brian and his family.
“As for the racing part, I felt great and the bike was deadly. Decent lights helped, and a little luck as well. The bike was very consistent for me, which made picking my dial-in time not hard at all. And a smooth, fast, and sticky track helped too. I was asked to split the money before the final round, but that won't ever happen. Go big and fast or go home.”
The old man still has it. Crow Teasley won the Road Course Shootout, beating Chris Tucker in the final. “I just want to thank Joe Marasco for letting me ride the bike, and Brian and Niki for a great event. Had a blast.”
There was also a special Shop Wars Shootout, with speed shops competing against each other in various classes. Jeremy Teasley Racing (JTR) won Road Course and Top Gas Shootouts, while Joe Marasco’s Maximum Street Performance (MSP) won Heavyweight and Grudge. The tiebreaker was two runner-up finishes for JTR and only one for MSP, as the Testa Engines team runner-upped in Top Gas.
“It was a perfect weekend,” said Teasley. “Came in the race not knowing who to put where in the Shop Shootout, but we came together and figured it out to win by one point. MSP put up a great fight.”
Kevin Dennis isn’t just the Midwest’s greatest insurance agent, nor is he just the sponsor of Street ET. Kevin is also a hardcore racer, and made a big leap at Norwalk. Long time bracket racer Dennis showed up with a new VooDoo Grudge build and promptly won two big races against the most hallowed family in the Grudge biz—the Teasley’s.
Dennis and his “Full Coverage” shot out of the hole like a cannonball for the first race win against Crow Teasley on “Valhalla.” From there it was a race to get the bikes back around to run them again before the track went dark at midnight. But make it back they did, with Dennis sweating profusely from the hustle. It was all worth it, as he took the second one also.
"Really came to the race just to test it out and work on the tune-up, as the bike only had three passes in it prior," said Dennis. "Once it ran a good number, I decided to let Brian find us a race. It's always a little nerve racking when you see that you are racing anyone with the name Teasley on their leathers.
"First race was really close, actually. Had to ask Crow who won. When they wanted to rerun, I was pretty surprised since it was so late at night.
"The second race I knew he was going to try to put a light on me hard, but luckily he redlit and on that pass I made my fastest pass ever on any bike.
"It was a ton of fun and I'm sure Crow already has plans for his revenge! Was a great night of racing and the staff at Norwalk prepped the entire track for us at the end of the night. Overall great experience and a great payday."
There were lots of great grudge races and bikes, including Jeremy Teasley stinging the nighttime air on “Bad Draw.” NHDRO’s Brian Welch picked up a win on “Big Greasy”
Friday’s Gamblers’ Race was won by Austin Poole with Rob Neizmik the final round runner-up.
Saturday’s Gamblers’ Race was won by Jeremy Himes over final round runner-up Tony “Toni! Toné!” Roberson.
Richard Gadson got some testing in on his James Johnson-owned, “Stop Soldier Suicide,” Monster 4 valve, George Babor motor, Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The event was visited by the international meeting of the Gunfighters Motorcycle Club. Comprised entirely of law enforcement officers, members from all over the world were represented at the event and four of them took to the track on the bikes they rode in on.
Ashley Shellhaas beat Keith Joyce in Saturday’s scooter race, and Les Stimac’s HighRisk Motorsports along with Eric "Vansboy" Yost picked up the tab for every child on the property to get some of Norwalk’s famous pound of ice cream.
Brian and Niki Welch love taking their NHDRO family out for the most fun to be had at the best tracks in the Midwest. “Thanks to everyone for a great season,” said the Welch’s.
Find out more about the NHDRO at http://www.nhdroracing.com/.
NHDRO thanks M2.Shocks https://www.m2shocks.com/ , Kevin Dennis Insurance http://www.bettercoverages.com , MPS http://www.mpsracing.com/default.asp , Liguori Drag Racing https://liguori-drag-racing.myshopify.com , Schnitz Racing https://store.schnitzracing.com , Voodoo Custom Motorcycle Components https://www.voodoomoto.com/ , Vanson Leathers https://vansonleathers.com/ , BB Racing https://www.facebook.com/BBracingllc/ , Hard Times Parts and Service , MTC Engineering https://www.mtceng.com/ , Grothus Dragbikes https://www.grothusdragbikes.com/catalog.html , Klemme Performance Motorcycles https://www.facebook.com/KlemmePerformanceMotorcycle/ , Green Bay Anodizing https://www.gbanodizinginc.com/ , and Advanced Sleeve https://advancedsleeve.com/ ,APE
This report prepared by Tim Hailey. Enjoy everything there is to read, see and watch about motorcycle drag racing and more at http://www.eatmyink.com