16th Annual Schnitz Summer Sizzler
June 30-July 1, 2012
Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, North Carolina, USA
"That's the hottest track temp I've ever seen, and I've been doing this a long time," said Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood. Measurements showed the concrete positively glowing at up to 167 degrees. Still, the 16th Annual Schnitz Summer Sizzler—fourth round of the 2012 Mickey Thompson Performance Tires MIRock Superbike Series—went off without a hitch during the weekend heatwave of June 30-July1.
Two time defending Orient Express Pro Street champion Rodney Williford’s strategy each year is to develop a hot weather tune-up that keeps him winning while others are spinning. But this year Williford started off hot in the cool of spring, joining the exclusive 6 second club with his newly stretched out, turbocharged, Suzuki Hayabusa. As the weather warmed, Williford was lost—struggling to get off the line, overpowering the street tire, then launching the bike into wild wheelies down track. Even in Saturday qualifying at The Rock, Williford could muster no better than eighth, nearly 3/10ths behind number 1 qualifier Greg Wallace’s 7.36 at 200 mph on one of the DME Racing ‘Busas.
The weekend’s excessive heat started rearing its ugly head with a slew of round 1 no-shows in all classes on raceday, giving Wallace, teammate Joey Gladstone, and Carl "Junebug" Lucas all byes. Lucas lost to Eric Hart in round 2, Gladstone beat Wallace for the bye to the final, and Williford beat Danny Cox before taking out Hart to meet Gladstone for all the marbles. But Joey’s bike wouldn’t fire for the final and Williford had the track to himself for his first win of the year.
Robbie Hunnicutt stung fellow Legion of Doom racer Ronnie Procoppio with a win in Mickey Thompson Pro Mod eighth mile class. Number 1 qualifier Mac McAdams (4.24) lost to Hunnicutt in the semifinals, and Procopio beat Ryan Schnitz and the HTP Performance Hayabusa in the other semi. Hunnicutt caught Procoppio absolutely sleeping (.070 to .142) in the final and held the advantage all the way to the finishline for the win.
DME Real Street bikes always handle challenging conditions better than the other pro classes, and this race was no exception. Ready to end the thrashing being dished out this season by Johnny "Turbo" Dobrin, two time defending champion Jeremy Teasley qualified number 1 with a 7.84 on his Roger Starrette-tuned, nitrous Kawasaki ZX14. The two met in the final, and when Dobrin pushed the tree to erase Teasley’s performance advantage, he pushed too hard and redlit. “I’m hot, I’m tired, I’m old, and I was thinking about my boat,” said Dobrin.
Fun For All Motorsports racer Ron Arnold made the long trip from Kentucky pay off with a House of Speed Crazy 8s win. Arnold beat champion “Fearsome” Andy Baumbach when both bikes spun at the hit and broke out at the big end.
Durham’s Jack Durant won FBR Shop 5.60 on his Outlaw Pro Street style bike with a better light vs. Jimmy Shifflett, who broke out chasing Durant down. Shifflett’s trailermate Michael Rankin won Trac King/APE Top Sportsman when he put 5/100ths on MIRock veteran Boo Brown at the tree. Brock’s Performance Street ET wins went to Shayne Proctor on Saturday and Barry Purnell on Sunday. Barry Pryer Sr. won Nitrous Express Pro ET on Saturday, and Maryland’s Wardell Pinkney won on Sunday.
Saturday night’s Afterdark Underground saw three hours of grudge racing before an enthusiastic crowd that was anxious to get out after being cooped up in the air conditioning all day.
The Mickey Thompson Performance Tires MIRock Superbike Series returns to action July 21-22 with the huge and popular Fast by Gast/WPGC Bike Fest at Maryland International Raceway.
Find out more about the Mickey Thompson Performance Tires MIRock Super Bike Series at www.mirockracing.com