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.
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.