Tuesday, 19 October 2021 18:02

Tharpe repeats as Top Fuel champ in Nitro World Finals at Rockingham Dragway

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Tii Tharpe repeated as winner of the featured Ray Price Top Fuel Challenge in Sunday’s 30th annual Jim McClure Memorial AMRA Nitro World Finals at Rockingham Dragway. Tii Tharpe repeated as winner of the featured Ray Price Top Fuel Challenge in Sunday’s 30th annual Jim McClure Memorial AMRA Nitro World Finals at Rockingham Dragway. Rockingham Dragway

ROCKINGHAM — Flashing the form that powered him to NHRA series championships in 2018 and 2019, Pfafftown’s Tii Tharpe repeated as winner of the featured Ray Price Top Fuel Challenge in Sunday’s 30th annual Jim McClure Memorial AMRA Nitro World Finals at Rockingham Dragway.


Although he qualified behind teammate and multiple time McClure champion Jay “Bulldog” Turner of Julian and newly crowned NHRA champion Ryan Peery of Milford, Ohio, Tharpe dominated eliminations, taking out Turner in the semifinals with quick time (6.30 seconds) and top speed of the event before stopping Peery in the final round for the second straight year.

The result not only denied Peery his first Ray Price trophy, it also kept him from doubling up at The Rock after earlier winning the track’s AHDRA Top Fuel title. In the final, Tharpe stopped the timers in 6.350 seconds at 220.04 mph. Peery trailed in 6.471 seconds at 216 mph.

The Tharpe-Turner semifinal easily was the best of the day. Tharpe coupled low ET and top speed to a .062 reaction time while Turner, the 2016 and 2017 NHRA champion and NHRA winner earlier this year at Charlotte, was .066 on the ‘Tree with a time of 6.346 seconds at 216.03 mph after running 6.314, second quickest of the race, in the previous round. 

Other winners included Sam White of Chapin, South Carolina, who returned to the winners’ circle as Pro Fuel champion for the first time since 2018 by beating reigning series champ Jim Martin of Palestine, Illinois, in the final; Jim Doyle of Chicopee, Massachusetts, who scored in Nitro Funny Bike after Armon Furr, the former McClure Top Fuel champ (2017) from Orangeburg, South Carolina, upset series champ and defending event champ Chris Smith of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in the semis.

Another Murfreesboro standout, Shane Pendergrast, extended his domination of Pro Modified, and Bill Doherty of Lake Charles, Louisiana, the McClure Pro Mod winner in both 2017 and 2020, won this time in Pro Gas from the No. 1 qualifying position. Overall, the event winners represented 10 different states.

The only rider able to double-up on the weekend was Casey Smith of Musella, Georgia, who, after winning Pro Eliminator, also scored in Dial-In Eliminator in which he beat Kirby Shearin of Roanoke Rapids in the final.

Reigning series champ Gary Douglass of Staunton, Virginia, won Modified; David Doremus of Loveland, Ohio, scored in Top Eliminator; John Terry of White House, Tennessee, got the Super Gas title; David Dennick of Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania, was the last man standing in Pro Dresser, many-time series champ and Pro Gas runner-up Donnie Huffman of Lakeland, Florida, claimed Street Eliminator; and a pair of Carolinians, Bob Maier of Cleveland and Rich Stamey of Wilmington, prevailed in Super Pro and Street Dresser, respectively.

RESULTS

Results from the 30th annual AMRA Jim McClure Memorial Nitro World Finals at Rockingham Dragway. Hometowns are North Carolina unless otherwise indicated.  Results include reaction time, track time, target time (where applicable) and finish line speed:

TOP FUEL (for the Ray Price Trophy)

Qualifying – 1. Ryan Peery, Milford, Ohio, 6.425, 213.57 mph; 2. Jay Turner, Julian, 6.445, 214.42 mph; 3. Tii Tharpe, Pfafftown, 6.464, 203.52 mph; 4. Tim Kerrigan, Novato, Calif., 6.534, 204.32 mph; 5. Jake Stordeur, Goshen, Ohio, 6.587, 200.20 mph; 6. Rich Vreeland, Danville, Pa., 6.627, 200.17 mph; 7. Frank Capone, Wakefield, Mass., 6.808, 188.20 mph; 8. Tracy Kile, Ashville, 6.835, 174.93 mph.  Did Not Qualify: John “J.T.” Toth, Charleroi, Pa.; Mark Conner, Robertsville, Mo.; Curtis Heisler, Phoenix, Ariz.; Robert Stewart, Gloucester, Va.; Jim Doyle, Chicopee, Mass.; Jimmy McMillan, Deland, Fla.

Round 1 – Jake Stordeur, Goshen, Ohio, .027, 9.944, 83.01 mph, def. Tim Kerrigan, Novato, Calif., foul; Jay Turner, Julian, .080, 6.311, 215.20 mph, def. Frank Capone, Wakefield, Mass., .169, 8.441, 179.09 mph; Tii Tharpe, Pfafftown, .093, 6.351, 215.37 mph, def. Rich Vreeland, Danville, Pa., .094, 6.732, 181.89 mph; Ryan Peery, Milford, Ohio, .088, 6.514, 214.79 mph, def. Tracy Kyle, Ashville, .080, 6.560, 211.69 mph.

Semifinals – Tharpe, .062, 6.300, 221.16 mph, def. Turner,.066, 6.346, 216.03 mph; Peery, .119, 6.393, 216.79 mph, def. Stordeur, no time.

FINAL – Tii Tharpe, Pfafftown, .073, 6.350, 220.04 mph, def. Ryan Peery, Milford, Ohio .099, 6.471, 216.34 mph. 

PRO FUEL

Qualifying – 1. Sam White, Chapin, S.C., 7.311, 172.70 mph; 2. Jim Martin, Palestine, Ill., 7.358, 165.60 mph; 3. Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., 7.461, 165.72 mph; 4. Paul Anderson, Clarkston, Mich., 7.518, 168.56 mph.

Round 1 – Sam White, Chapin, S.C., .174, 7.386, 171.55 mph, def. Phil Lower, Vicksburg, Mich., .134, 7.778, 158.91 mph; Jim Martin, Palestine, Ill., .177, 7.724, 141.08 mph, def. Jay Beasley, Winston-Salem, .135, 8.038, 150.03 mph; Walter Halonski, High Springs, Fla., .218, 7.655, 168.07 mph, def. Rocky Jackson, Youngsville, La., .200, 8.639, 157.87 mph; Paul Anderson, Clarkston, Mich., .262, 7.608, 166.39 mph, def. John McConnell, Darlington, S.C., .161, 28.755, 34.978 mph.

Semifinals – White, .190, 7.345, 170.88 mph, def. Anderson, .151, 7.694, 166.74 mph; Martin, .133, 7.403, 166.13 mph, def. Halonski, .156, 7.981, 153.26 mph.

FINAL – Sam White, Chapin, S.C., .071, 7.359, 169.34 mph, def. Jim Martin, Palestine, Ill., .098, 7.504, 163.97 mph.

NITRO FUNNY BIKE

Qualifying – 1. Jim Doyle, Chicopee, Mass., 6.955, 184.09 mph; 2. Chris Smith Murfreesboro, Tenn., 7.075, 180.24 mph; 3. Armon Furr, Orangeburg, S.C., 7.229, 177.60 mph.

Semifinals – Armon Furr, Orangeburg, S.C, .119, 7.181, 187.60 mph, def. Chris Smith, Murfreesboro, Tenn., no time; Jim Doyle, Chicopee, Mass., bye.

FINAL – Jim Doyle, Chicopee, Mass., .127, 6.930, 194.07 mph, def. Armon Furr, Orangeburg, S.C., .061, 7.275, 187.68 mph.

PRO MOD

Qualifying – 1. Shane Pendergrast, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 8.434, 155.31 mph; 2. John Price, Emmitsburg, Md., 8.636, 151.58 mph; 3. Loreto Pesce, Newark, Del., 8.734, 149.81 mph; 4. Gary Douglass, Staunton, Va., 8.923, 150.65 mph.

Round 1 – John Price, Emmitsburg, Va., .315, 8.623, 150.83 mph, def. Robert Dumas, Ayer, Mass., no time; Gary Douglass, Staunton, Va., .086, 8.716, 153.30 mph, def. Richmond Boone, Mint Hill, .020, 9.365, 141.91 mph; Loreto Pesce, Newark, Del., .081, 8.789, 146.02 mph, def. Billy Doherty, Lake Charles, La., .114, 9.844, 139.04 mph; Shane Pendergrast, Murfreesboro, Tenn., bye.

Semifinals – Pendergrast, .067, 8.496, 155.06 mph, def. Douglass, .032, 8.647, 154.30 mph; Price, .074, 8.597, 152.16 mph, def. Pesce, .066, 8.745, 150.87 mph.

FINAL – Shane Pendergrast, Murfreesboro, Tenn., .074, 8.623, 152.81 mph, def. John Price, Emmitsburg, Md., .058, 8.976, 152.33 mph.

PRO GAS

Qualifying – 1. Billy Doherty, Lake Charles, La., .8.875, 150.40 mph; 2. Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., 9.016, 145.77 mph; 3. Keith Carper, Laurel, Md., 9.580, 142.63 mph; 4. Kevin Campbell, Southern Pines, 11.120, 116.93 mph.

Semifinals – Bily Doherty, Lake Charles, La., .099, 9.042, 149.71 mph, def. Kevin Campbell, Southern Pines, foul; Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., .043, 8.870, 146.88 mph, def. Keith Carper, Laurel, Md., .032, 10.903, 121.44 mph.

FINAL – Billy Doherty, Lake Charles, La., .065, 8.651, 151.15 mph, def. Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., .016, 8.904, 144.27 mph.

MODIFIED

Round 1 – Gary Douglass, Staunton, Va., .123, 9.440, 142.07 mph, def. Heather Van Fleet, Toledo, Ohio, .193, 10.132, 127.38 mph; Gary DeGrange, Babson Park, Fla., .060, 9.443, 138.51 mph, def. Troy Young, Wirtz, Va., .121, 9.493, 137.39 mph; Kimberly DeShields, Murfreesboro, Tenn., bye.

Semifinals – DeGrange, .001, 9.521, 138.27 mph, def. DeShields, .192, 9.650, 139.80 mph; Douglass, bye.

FINAL – Gary Douglass, Staunton, Va., .294, 9.460, 139.67 mph, def. Gary DeGrange, Babson Park, Fla., no time.

TOP ELIMINATOR (9.30 target)

Round 2 – David Doremus, Loveland, Ohio, .062, 9.663, 120.80 mph, def. Scott Schenkel, Palmerton, Pa., .059, 9.772, 133.08 mph; Chris Hoppe, Pennington, N.J., .106, 10.599, 103.79 mph, def. Gregory Hawes, Nakina, .116, 11.263, 114.88 mph; Freddie Frazier, Sanford, bye.

Semifinals – Doremus, .052, 9.935, 125.96 mph, def. Frazier, .102, 9.991, 119.55 mph; Hoppe, bye.

FINAL – David Doremus, Loveland, Ohio, .102, 9.431, 127.47 mph, def. Chris Hoppe, Pennington, N.J., .037, 9.594, 139.27 mph.

SUPER GAS (9.90 target)

Round 2 – John Terry, White House, Tenn., .171, 10.956, 82.12 mph, def. David Minton, Granite Falls, no time; Scott Schenkel, Palmerton, Pa., .032, 10.020, 119.63 mph, def. Heather Van Fleet, Toledo, Ohio, .083, 10.056, 125.34 mph; Raylen Mason, .104, 9.900, 135.31 mph, def. Vance Houdyshell, Vero Beach, Fla., foul; Steve Matthews, Chicago Heights, Ill., bye.

Semifinals – Terry, .062, 9.863, 132.48 mph, def. Schenkel, .084, 9.834 breakout, 127.87 mph; Mason, .051, 9.949, 136.86 mph, def. Matthews, .002, 10.147, 104.63 mph.

FINAL – John Terry, White House, Tenn., .064, 10.066, 112.85 mph, def. Raylen Mason, .262, 10.122, 135.97 mph.

SUPER PRO (10.30 target)

Round 2 – David Doremus, Loveland, Ohio, .068, 10.362, 126.35 mph, def. Brian Conelly Jr., Country Club Hills, Ill., .190, 10.208 breakout, 124.10 mph; Gray DeGrange, Ewing, N.J., .246, 10.911, 111.84 mph, def. John Wayne Stephens, Charleroi, Pa., .193, 11.065, 121.77 mph; Bob Maier, Cleveland, .025, 10.300, 117.21 mph, def. Rick Medford, Cherokee, .044, 10.528, 126.12 mph.

Semifinals – Maier, .045, 10.253, 126.70 mph, def. Doremus, .069, 10.235 breakout, 127.37 mph; DeGrange, bye.

FINAL – Bob Maier, Cleveland, .074, 10.221, 128.13 mph, def. Gray DeGrange, Ewing, N.J., .105, 10.182 breakout, 124.76 mph.

PRO ELIMINATOR (10.90 target)

Round 2 – Rick Medford, Cherokee, .050, 11.193, 102.37 mph, def. Ted Farley, Michigan City, Ind., .316, 11.145, 116.43 mph; Scott Barkley, Bradford, Tenn., .027, 10.824, 111.22 mph, def. Cody Hayworth, Concord, .060, 10.765 breakout, 113.04 mph; Troy Fittro, Milan, Iowa, .094, 10.967, 108.63 mph, def. Crosby Blain, Georgetown, Tenn., .063, 11.108, 100.14 mph; Casey Smith, Musella, Ga., .231, 10.993, 116.83 mph, def. Loren Potter, McDonald, Tenn., .040, 11.191, 116.73 mph.

Semifinals – Medford, .068, 10.947, 117.84 mph, def. Barkley, .063, 10.877 breakout, 110.61 mph; Smith, .078, 10.929, 117.40 mph, def. Fittro, .164, 10.901, 102.98 mph.

FINAL – Casey Smith, Musella, Ga., .024, 11.066, 111.82 mph, def. Rick Medford, Cherokee, .115, 11.055, 116.32 mph.

STREET ELIMINATOR (11.50 target)

Round 3 – Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., .106, 11.509, 104.28 mph, def. Dalton Lund, Greenville, Tenn., .019, 11.620, 105.47 mph; Terry Mason, Springhill, Tenn., .033, 11.535, 82.28 mph, def. Gary DeGrange, Babson Park, Fla., .100, 11.351 breakout, 90.48 mph; Casey Smith, Musella, Ga., .207, 11.482, 109.86 mph, def. Unknown #515OZ, .301, 11.354 breakout, 110.33 mph.

Semifinals – Huffman, .050, 11.514, 103.67 mph, def. Smith, 058, 11.491 breakout, 96.46 mph; Mason, bye.

FINAL – Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., .065, 11.613, no speed recorded, def. Terry Mason, Springhill, Tenn., foul.

DIAL-IN ELIMINATOR

Round 4 – Donnie Huffman, Lakeland, Fla., .007, 11.705 on an 11.600, 99.14 mph, def. Billy Buell, Center Point, Ind., .528, 12.868 on a 12.650, 100.37 mph; Kirby Shearin, Roanoke Rapids, .152, 12.981 on a 13.000, 103.79 mph, def. Russell Smith, no time; Casey Smith, Musella, Ga., .020, 12.323 on a 12.260, 103.14 mph, def. Randy Hammons, Hermitage, Tenn., .020, 11.680 on an 11.450, 115.20 mph.

Semifinals – Smith, .097, 12.227 on a 12.260, 105.05 mph, def. Huffman, foul; Shearin, bye.

FINAL – Casey Smith, Musella, Ga., .092, 12.235 on a 12.200, 105.12 mph, def. Kirby Shearin, Roanoke Rapids, .279, 12.780 breakout on a 12.880, 103.40 mph.

PRO DRESSER

Round 2 – Rylan Mason, Carolina Beach, .271, 10.024, 133.74 mph, def. Bert Baker, Haslett, Mich., .053, 12.212, 109.41 mph; David Dennick, Eighty-Four, Pa., .128, 9.550, 139.39 mph, def. Greg Quinn, .044, 9.696, 144.67 mph; Seth Locklear, Wilmington, bye.

Semifinals – Dennick, .051, 9.511, 140.34 mph, def. Locklear, .226, 9.354, 142.51 mph; Mason, bye.

FINAL – David Dennick, Eighty-Four, Pa., .203, 9.520, 141.03 mph, def. Ryland Mason, Carolina Beach, .192, 10.865, 101.15 mph.

STREET DRESSER

Semifinals – Jim Kennedy, Matoon, Ill., .272, 11.273, 118.70 mph, def. Don White, Markham, Ill., .198, 19.438, 58.99 mph; Rich Stamey, Wilmington, .220, 11.714, 112.90 mph, def. Terry Wright, Portland, Ky., .212, 12.217, 105.55 mph.

FINAL – Rich Stamey, Wilmington, .238, 11.743, 111.99 mph, def. Jim Kennedy, Matoon, Ill., .230, 11.807, 111.90 mph.