DME Racing team report
Mickey Thompson MIRock Superbike Series
Rider Joey Gladstone and Dimey Eddinger’s DME Racing team finished off 2013 with two Orient Express Pro Street championships—one in the Mickey Thompson MIRock Superbike Series and the other in the Manufacturers Cup. Sealing the deal in style, Gladstone took wins at both the Lee’s Performance Finals at Rockingham Dragway and the Haltech Finals at Bradenton Motorsports Park. Gladstone qualified number 1 on the turbocharged DME Suzuki Hayabusa and broke track records at both events.
Clearly the dominant force in Pro Street motorcycle drag racing, DME swept the last third of the season, starting with Gladstone’s win at the NHDRO/Manufacturers Cup Pingel Thundernationals in early August. DME’s Jason Dunigan collected his first win at the Atco MIRock race, followed by teammate Terence Angela’s $10,000 Battle Royale win at Maryland International Raceway. “I really couldn’t ask for a better performance from my team than what we have going on right now,” said Eddinger, who saw his riders sweep the top three qualifying positions at Bradenton.
Gladstone rolled off the trailer with a 7.05 in testing and ran an .01 in the first round of qualifying. As rounds ran later in the evening on raceday, the atmospheric conditions came to what the team was tuning for and, in the final, the last round of the year, Gladstone ran his best pass ever—a 6.93.
Eddinger cites the combination of personnel under the DME awning as the secret to the team’s success. “My dad always told me you’re only as smart as the people you’re around, and having tuner Andy Sawyer and engine builder Skip Gladstone on board has really helped DME. Andy’s been working with me since he was 15 years old, so we’ve been together forever. He came along as a kid that didn’t know anything, but he learned what little bit I knew and went way past that. He’s really smart and has helped the business out more than anybody. He’s pretty much a partner here.
“We’ve always built our own motors here in the shop, but we didn’t have the time to build motors for others. Skip came to me with an idea about how we could expand, so now we’re building engines and complete bikes for others. Skip knows how an engine works from the inside out and he brings a lot of insight on that to the team. He’s taught us a lot that we’ve overlooked in the past. Andy and I were spread thin around here, and now Skip’s always thinking about what can help us. He’s like having a dad around.”
Quite literally, since Skip is Joey’s father. The pair burst onto the motorcycle drag racing scene when Joey was still in high school, immediately competitive in Super Sport, then Real Street and finally Pro Street. “I wanted this so badly,” Skip said about Joey’s championships. “Most people look at Joey as a veteran, but this was only his second season in Pro Street. A year of confidence under the belt helps. The more confident the rider, the easier it is for them to support team. We’re all really starting to work together at DME without having to communicate, so that was a big factor this year.”
DME’s previous success, and their professional results despite having fun all weekend long, lured in Angela and Dunigan. “With Jason and Terence, we were able to put more resources into developing the bikes and it’s paid off for all of us,” said Eddinger. “Terence came in for a one year deal and he did ten times better than anybody thought he would have, from going to his first final, then winning the Battle. He placed third overall in both series, and was rookie of the year in both.”
“It’s not just about the winning, it’s also the way you all have fun,” Angela said to Eddinger. “I’m gonna do it again next year.”
“And Jason’s running the best he’s ever ran and winning also,” added Eddinger. “Financially, the team is more sound than we’ve been in the past.”
“Tuning-wise, having Terence and Jason’s bikes gives us more feedback,” noted Skip. “All the engines are identical and the mapping is very, very close. Most of the year, Terence and Joey’s bikes were the same wheelbase, so there’s lots of crossover between them and you can overlay runs. You see it in the NHRA and other forms of racing—multi-car teams do well. In one round of qualifying or eliminations, we get three runs. There’s three times the stuff to maintain, but it makes us more efficient and reinforces the team philosophy of consistency. We try to give the rider the same bike every pass rather than surprising the rider.
“Joey’s become a big part of the tuning process. After the semis at Rockingham, Joey came back and said we had to take power out of the bike, even though we were facing the ‘Beast Bike’ of Tony Ficher. But Joey said we had to dial the wheelie out of it in the middle of the track if he was going to win this race, and we ran a .97 and won.”
You can watch an interview with Joey and Sawyer following the Rockingham win here:
The team’s success has the DME shop buzzing. “We have a couple of new customer bikes that we’re starting on right away,” said Eddinger. “I’m not trying to push anybody to do anything, but time goes by fast and if people want bikes for next year, we have to start on them now.”
DME is also finishing a European spec machine for British champ Steve Venables. “Steve will be joining us at the spring Manufactuers Cup race to make some laps,” said Skip. “It doesn’t fit US rules because it has a Chromoly chassis, but he’ll have three complete engines and should have the quickest and fastest bike in Europe.
“Each of our bikes has two engines, and we’re building Joey a brand new bike for next year. We’re keeping Joey’s old bike, and Ehren Litten will be riding it in all the MIRock races. The new bike will be on display at the PRI show at our new sponsor DCE’s booth.”
And so as 2013 winds down with a trade show exhibiting the team’s new Hayabusa, there is precious time to reflect on what has been an exceptional year for DME. “It was the best year I’ve ever had,” Eddinger said. “Working with people I didn’t know before and making new friends—it was something new every time and we were always looking forward to the next race.”
So it will be again in 2014.
Pro Street results from Rockingham: http://www.mirockracing.com/results/2013/race9-rock/Sunday/ORIENT_EXPRESS_PRO_STREET_2013-11-02.html
Dimey Eddinger, Joey Gladstone and the whole DME team thank DME Racing, Penske Shocks, Catalyst Racing Composites, NLR, Vanson Leathers, Lucas Oil and CP/Carillo, Web Cams, Worldwide Bearings, Cometic, R&D Motorsports, VP Racing Fuel, Dunigan Racing, DCE and MTC.