The DME Racing team made the short drive to Rockingham Dragway for the 29th Annual DME Racing Man Cup Nationals this past weekend. As the title sponsor for the event they were once again looking for a solid showing, especially considering the family and friends who would be in attendance.
The DME “Brain Trust” of Dimey Eddinger, Andy Sawyer, and Skip Gladstone would certainly be put to the test as they encountered temperatures hovering around 100 degrees all weekend. It would be a “tuner’s race” and with the 2015 Dragbike.com Tuner of the Year, Andy Sawyer, at their disposal they were confidant.
Friday’s test session went well as the team of Joey Gladstone, Terence Angela, and new comer Chris Connelly laid down passes. The team worked together to try to find useable tune-ups for the weekend’s scorching conditions. The hard work leading up to event certainly showed in Saturday night’s final qualifying session. Terence Angela ran his quickest pass to date with an awesome 6.829 pass at 216mph to take the number two qualifying position. Gladstone was just a tad bit behind him in third position with a stellar 6.849 pass. Rounding out the DME Pro Street contingent was Chris Connelly with a very respectable 7.276. Joey was also able to put the all-motor Real Street Hayabusa into the number two position with an incredible 7.878 pass despite the heat.
In between all of the qualifying passes being made on Saturday, Joey Gladstone was quietly working his way through the Street ET field on his stock wheelbase Hayabusa. Once the team had completed all of their qualifiers they became cheer leaders for their Pro Street Champion as he found himself in the final round of Street ET. Up against veteran bracket racer Bob Carlson, Gladstone knew he would have to cut a good light… And a good one he did! Joey put a .009 reaction time down to take a starting line advantage all the way to the finish line winning Street ET. Like many racers Gladstone got his start in racing in the ET classes and with this win it broke an almost seven-year-old stretch, dating back to his last ET win in 2009.
Sunday would bring the hottest temperatures of the weekend resulting in even trickier track conditions. The team methodically prepared for first round, unfortunately having to deal with a Connelly/Gladstone matchup in Pro Street. Team DME is working hard to get Chris Connelly up to speed on these high horsepower machines and they are all extremely happy with how quickly he has progressed. But there would be no historic upsets in the first round matchup as Joey ran a 6.96 pass to take the win. Terence would have a tough opponent in Ehren Litten and Andy Sawyer made sure to throw everything they had at the matchup. It was almost needed as the two racers were neck and neck until Litten power-wheelied at half-track causing him to lift. Although it would have been tough to beat Angela’s 6.842 pass (quickest of the round).
As part of the team hurried back to the DME pits to prepare for the next round, the other half helped Joey pull off two more round wins. In Real Street Gladstone was gifted a red-light from his opponent, giving him the automatic win. The crew might have missed the tune-up slightly as an 8.10 pass was the result. But, there was no time to mull over that pass as it was time for “Tink Tink” to make her first round pass. Displaying the World class riding skills he’s known for, Joey was able to recover the bike from spinning terribly during the first hundred feet… Recovering the bike and driving around his opponent on the top end gave the team another round win.
Second round would pit Gladstone against Pro Open rival Mark Rendeluk. This ongoing battle between these two fierce competitors is one that fans have grown to love. But despite the team’s best efforts, traction once again plagued “Tink Tink”, as the small seven-inch slick struggled with the tricky track.
Skip Gladstone wrapped his head around the first round Real Street pass and put a much needed killer tune-up in to get around 2015 IDBL Real Street Champion Anibel Merced in a close race. The 7.867 pass was more in line with their typical passes, but even more impressive in the mid-day heat.
Back to Pro Street action Terence matched up with Texan Brandon Mitchan. When the tree dropped Mitchan immediately went up in smoke, but Terence fought for traction as well. Both appeared to regain traction and the race was on, until Terence’s bike suffered a mechanical issue shortly before half-track, allowing Mitchan to take the win. Gladstone saddled back up to face Jeremy St. Julien to make it down to three bikes. St. Julien was prepared to battle and tried to throw down huge power early, causing a big wheelie around the 330 mark. It was all over after that as Joey took advantage of his opponent’s miscue and took the win.
The team now faced their biggest challenge of the day. Joey would have Mark Paquette in the semi-finals of Pro Street and they knew it would take a colossal pass to get by the new Man Cup record holder. The race itself unfolded somewhat as expected, as both bikes fought viciously to gain traction from sixty foot on. Aside from the tire smoke, it was similar to a top fuel peddle fest. Joey did all he could to win, even wheeling the bike at almost 1000 feet down track, but he couldn’t overcome Paquette.
Rebounding quickly from the loss, the team went to the water box for the Real Street final. An unfortunate mechanical issue for Dave Stewart would give them a broke bye in the final round. The team still made an all-out pass and once again surprised the crowd with a crazy fast 7.83 for the all motor Hayabusa in 100-degree heat.
This weekend was defined by the word ‘team’. The whole team rallied around one another and helped out wherever needed. From assisting Joey in one of the four classes he was competing in, to setting personal records with Terence, and all the way to getting Chris more acquainted with Pro Street. Unable to make this event and sorely missed, the Dunigan’s will join the team at the next event. The team will now work to prepare for the IDBL Summer Nationals at Maryland International Raceway, June 25-26, 2016.
The whole DME team thanks DME Racing , Penske Shocks, Catalyst Racing Composites, NLR , Vanson Leathers , Lucas Oil , CP/Carillo, Web Cams, Worldwide Bearings, Cometic Gaskets, Robinson Industries, VP Racing Fuel , Dunigan Racing, DCE, MTC , APE , Vance & Hines, Beringer Brakes, and Blouch Performance Turbo for their continued support.