By MIKE BURGHARDT
The thundering two-wheeled beasts, known as Top Fuel Harley, competed in their second event of the 2020 season at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. The Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley series features 1000 H.P nitromethane burning Harley Davidson powered motorcycles, which often carry the front wheels in the air for nearly the entire quarter-mile run. They utilize parachutes to safely slow down from speeds often exceeding 220 mph.
Ricky House captured the number one qualifying spot with a strong 6.285 at 222.62 mph. Winter Nationals winner, Randal Andras was second with a 6.297 a 222.62 mph effort. Inclement weather in the form of heavy rainstorms played havoc on the qualifying schedule, but the due diligence of the NHRA Safety team paid off with a sellout crowd and great track conditions for Sunday’s eliminations.
Ricky House thundered into the final round, taking out Tyler Wilson and Tracy Kile, with 6.659 and 6.697 second performance efforts. On the other side of the ladder, Andras advanced to the second round when his first opponent, Mike Scott, broke on the burnout and had to shut off. He then met up with a resurgent Jay Turner in the semifinal round. Both riders left together, but Andras was no match for Turner, who set low elapse time and top speed of the event with a 6.209 at 233.76 mph to march into the final round. His 233.76 mph speed was a new class record.
In the final round, House realized the performance advantage he was up against, in his match up with Turner. With this knowledge, he attempted to gain the necessary starting line advantage needed to capture a possible win. Unfortunately, House left too early (-0.100 seconds red) throwing away a 6.729 at 213.64 mph performance, handing the event win to Turner. Ironically, Turner could have been an easy walk over. His engine damaged the valve train during the burnout process, resulting in a 9.054 at 99.99 mph final round run for the win.
The Mickey Thompson Top Fuel Harley series next competes at the NHRA 4-wide event in Charlotte, N.C. during the weekend of April 24-26, 2020.