With a roar of nitro thunder, season champions in the NHRA® Harley-Davidson® Drag Racing Series were crowned November 8 at the 2015 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Short Line Express Gambler Shootout in Las Vegas.
Dreamchaser Racing/Deschutes Brewery rider Janette Thornley snatched the Pro Fuel Harley title with a clutch performance at the finals. Thornley, of Statesville, N.C., started the weekend trailing class leader Dennis Fisher by five points. Thornley won in the first round of eliminations and clinched the title when Fisher lost his first-round match. Thornley advanced to the final round of eliminations before losing to defending Pro Fuel champion Johnny Vickers. Thornley, who was awarded an NHRA Wally trophy for her championship, notched four event wins during the season and scored 623 points. Fisher finished the season in second place with 595 points, followed by David Larson with 315 points.
A monster season earned Akea/Ray Price Motorsports rider Tommy Grimes Jr. a second-consecutive NHRA Wally trophy in the Top Fuel Harley class. Grimes, of Winston-Salem, N.C., guided his roaring Top Fuel Harley to the winner’s circle five times in 2015 and clinched the title before the Las Vegas event. Grimes advanced to the second round in Las Vegas before losing to Javelina Harley-Davidson rider Ricky House, who went on to win the final. Grimes finished the season with 617 points. Len Darnell Jr. was second with 414 points, and Joseph Sternotti Jr. was third with 299 points.
“All of the Sportsman Harley drag racers bring power and passion to the starting line at every event,” said Kris Schoonover, Racing Manager, Harley-Davidson. “Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle performance parts help these talented racers build some real V-Twin muscle into amazing drag-racing bikes that have thrilled Harley fans all season at tracks across the country.”
NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series, highlighted by the Top Fuel and Pro Fuel classes, will return to tracks nation-wide in 2016. A schedule released by the NHRA includes 14 Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series events. Competition in Top Fuel Harley will be featured at four NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events. The two-wheeled rockets will race at three new tracks in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series: Royal Purple Raceway near Houston, Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Maryland and Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina. The racers will vie for an exclusive NHRA Wally trophy awarded to winners in each category during winner’s circle activities. The season-ending champion in Top Fuel and Pro Fuel will receive a specially-designed Wally Trophy as well as a year-end bonus. The best seven of 10 races will count for points toward the year-end championship. The complete 2016 Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series schedule is available at NHRA.com.
For more than 30 years, Ray Price Harley-Davidson has served as the center of motorcycle culture in Raleigh, N.C., and among the Southeast’s top motorcycle dealerships. Home to Hall-of-Fame racing legend Ray Price, dealership staff have centuries of combined Harley riding experience to provide award-winning customer service and education programs for beginners-to-expert riders. Ray Price was again named a 2014 Dealernews Top 100 business, as well as a Powersports Business Power 50 Dealer. The team actively supports area charities through a wide range of philanthropy projects. Ray Price Racing won the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) Top Fuel Harley Championship in 2014 and 2015.