New York Rider Bidding for Third Straight Pro Mod Bike Win at Rockingham

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – At an age at which most of his contemporaries are content to ride nothing more exotic than a lawn mower, 72-year-old Paul Gast will straddle a 170 mile-an-hour Suzuki this weekend (Sept. 24-26) at Rockingham Dragway and resume his pursuit of a third consecutive Pro Mod Championship in the ManCup Motorcycle Drag Racing Series presented by Vance and Hines.

Gast, whose “Fast by Gast” brand is one of two-wheel racing’s most iconic, is heavily favored in the 40th renewal of the Nationals in which he has hoisted the trophy the last two years.

The Grand Island, N.Y., rider, who began racing motorcycles in 1964, was unbeaten in ManCup events in 2019, a year in which he also won the Pro Nitrous Motorcycle title at the PDRA race at Darlington Dragway in which he lowered the world record to 3.949 seconds at 179.34 mph. He repeated as champion a year ago and currently leads Connell Smith of Ashburn, Ga., rider of the world’s fastest nitro Kawasaki, by a whopping 129 points.

The two-day event will crown champions in 13 classes including Pro Street, Pro Open, Pro Mod, Top Gas and Ultra 4.60. Pro ET and Street ET will be contested both days. There will be Saturday qualifying for the previously mentioned categories along with Real Street, Street Fighter, Super Comp and V-Twin.

Defending series champion G.T. Tonglet of Metairie, La., who was the original developmental rider for the Vance and Hines Screamin’ Eagle Pro Stock program, will try to chase down current leaders Herman Myers of Orlando, Fla., and Sydney Marshall of Altamonte Spring, Fla., in Pro Street.

Former series champ Rob Giard of Ware, Mass., is favored in a Pro Open class in which Cleveland, Ohio pro Perry Paugh and a couple of Alabamians, second generation standout and former PDRA event winner Chris Garner-Jones of Harvest and Larry Hayes of Dothan are expected to challenge.

In Ultra 4.60, Charlotte’s Curtis Griggs Jr. and last year’s Rockingham runner-up, Ronnie Procopio of Wake Forest, will try to track down current point leader John Schwartz of West Seneca, N.Y.

Also expected to return is last year’s biggest winner, Pablo Gonzalez of Carolina, Puerto Rico, who not only won both the Saturday and Sunday Pro ET titles but also got the cash in Street Fighter.

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Current ManCup presented by Vance & Hines point standings. Hometowns are North Carolina unless otherwise indicated:

PRO OPEN – 1. Rob Giard, Ware, Mass., 198; 2. Perry Paugh, Cleveland, Ohio, 155; 3. Chris Garner-Jones, Harvest, Ala., 109; 4. Larry Hayes, Dothan, Ala., 102.

PRO MOD – 1. Paul Gast, Grand Island, N.Y., 317; 2. Connell Smith, Ashburn, Ga., 188; 3. Jeff House, Keller, Texas, 170; 4. Tyron Lemons, Atlanta, Ga., 167.

PRO STREET – 1. Herman Myers, Orlando, Fla., 173; 2. Sydney Marshall, Alamonte Springs, Fla., 110; 3. Ramon Collins, Liberty Hill, Texas, 78; 4. G.T. Tonglet, Metairie, La., 57.

ULTRA 4.60 – 1. John Schwartz, West Seneca, N.Y., 260; 2. Curtis Griggs Jr., Charlotte, 166; 3. Joey Brandgard, Norwalk, Ohio, 163; 4. Jeff House, Keller, Texas 130.
The NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals Features Xtreme Pro Modified, Street Car Drag Racing, & Car Show

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Rockingham Dragway has been confirmed as the newest host of the elite NMRA Muscle Car Nationals and Holley NMRA Ford Nationals championship street car and drag racing series, crowning champions in Xtreme Pro Modified, Street Outlaw, Factory Super Cars, Renegade/Xtreme Street, Coyote Stock, Chevrolet Performance Stock, Factory Stock, N/A 10.5 and Nitrous Pro Street classes, among others.

The NMRA/NMCA All-Start Nationals, featuring drag racing, a Manufacturers’ Midway, and massive, two-day American-built car and truck show, will debut April 22-24, 2022 as one of three events in the joint NMRA/NMCA series which also includes stops at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois (just outside of St. Louis) and US131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.

“Becoming a part of this prestigious series has been on our bucket list for quite some time,” said Rockingham owner Steve Earwood. “We’ve had many inquiries from racers and fans about the possibility of bringing an NMRA/NMCA event to the Carolinas and we’re excited to finally make it happen.”

The All-Star Nationals will bring even more distinction to a schedule already considered among the most diverse in the country.

“You have to cater to the customer,” Earwood said. “Some folks would say that’s ‘old school’ but, trust me, it still applies. If you look at the events we were producing when we first bought the track, they’re entirely different from the races on our current schedule, but that’s what make’s this business so interesting and so competitive.”

Rollie Miller, National Event Director and General Manager of the NMRA/NMCA championship racing series shared, “Rockingham Dragway has a long, storied history in drag racing and we are honored to bring our series to this legendary facility. The region offers so much to our segment of drag racing and we are excited to create a new home in Rockingham.”

Significantly, the series brings professional Pro Mod racing back to The Rock for the first time in several years and Roxboro’s Chip King is expected to be one of the prime contenders in an All-Star field.

“We have a history with Pro Mods at The Rock,” Earwood said, “going back to the days of the original ADRL. The most questions I get from casual fans are ‘when will John Force be back’ and ‘when are we going to run Pro Mods’? Well, Force may not be back next year but now we can say that Pro Mods will run in April.”

The drag racing portion of the event, which also includes a Stock/Super Stock combo class as well as Open Comp, Super Stang, Modular Muscle, Nostalgia Super Stock, Street King, Nostalgia Muscle, Rumble, Truck & Lightning, Dodge/Mopar Hemi Shootout, Bracket Open and True Street classes, share billing with an all-American car show.

Not only will judges identify winners in 22 GM, 22 Ford and six Chrysler classes, there also will be awards for Best GM Muscle Car, Best Ford Muscle Car, Best Chrysler Muscle Car, Best Late Model, Best Street Rod, Best Traditional Hot Rod, Best Truck, Best Race Car plus Best Engine, Best Interior, Best Paint and Body and, of course, Best of Show.

According to Earwood, there will be an announcement on ticket pricing and availability in the near future.
Lucas Oil Series Titles on the Line October 23, Final NHRA National Open on 24th

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – The schedule for racers to double up on the participation points used by the NHRA to determine eligibility for future national events was released this week.

The Weekend Double, October 21-24, again is expected to lure some of the nation’s most prominent sportsman racers to Rockingham Dragway for the doubleheader featuring the season’s final Lucas Oil Series divisional event and the year’s last NHRA National Open.

One day of open testing and two days of racing on The Rock’s quarter mile course for championships in eight Lucas Series categories will be followed on Sunday by an NHRA National Open contested on the eighth mile. Both races award series points along with the valuable grading points the NHRA will use to determine who will and won’t be eligible to file entries for specific events next year in the Camping World national series.

The Lucas Oil Series event will crown champions in Super Street, Super Gas, Super Comp, Stock, Super Stock, Top Sportsman, Top Dragster and Competition Eliminator. Sunday’s National Open will award trophies in the same categories with the exception of Competition Eliminator.

Thursday’s test-and-tune on October 21 will be followed by a full day of qualifying the following day featuring sessions in Competition Eliminator, Top Dragster and Top Sportsman at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Time trials for Jr. Dragster League racers will kick off the Saturday program at 9 a.m. followed at 9:30 but the start of eliminations in Super Street, Stock, Super Stock, Super Gas and Super Comp. First rounds in Top Dragster, Top Sportsman and Competition will begin at 11:30 a.m.

National Open qualifying will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday with eliminations starting at 11:30.