Rolling through the gates a day prior to an event to test isn’t the norm for Grothus Dragbikes (GDB) but after a somewhat disappointing prior event with “Lucy” & a dissatisfied prior event with “Honcho,” testing seemed imminent for GDB. Testing was short lived for Lucy as the motor broke a camshaft coming out of the water box after the first burnout. Then Brunson threw his leg over Honcho with a brand near rear hide on it the first time since the bike was built new in the fall of 2014. The first lap was a planned shutoff after going thru all five gears & the second lap on the brand- new tire showed some promise with a slightly de-tuned 4.107 at 172.61 mph.
In addition to racing Honcho in Pro Extreme Motorcycle (PXM), Brunson was also riding “Chuck” in the Grothus Dragbikes sponsored Ultra 4.60 Index class. Brunson got the official weekend festivities out to a hot start by running a 4.600 at 148.86 mph to take the number one qualifying spot of the 15 4.60 bikes on the property.
The King of the Crown PXM qualifying is essentially a test session for all the PXMs on the property as there are no official qualifying positions or eliminations ladder for Sunday as numbered chips are drawn every round for pairings in the lanes. GDB made laps the first two of three sessions & sat out the third & final session having seen high 4.0 numbers on their time slip the second session. GDB also had another defending King of the Crown class champ working out of their camp that weekend, none other than Tom Klemme whose name speaks for itself.
Tom was aboard his famous three-time NHRA National Championship 73’ orange & brown 1500 Kaw in Pro ET & 5.60 Index & also on his recently acquired & GDB outfitted big CC Suzuki GS named “Sweet Potato” in Top Gas 5.10 Index. Tom was going rounds in all three classes & collecting white time slips as action heated up on Sunday. Brunson took his earned bye run first round of 4.60, won a tough/tight race against Dan McCarten in the quarters & then turned on the red eye by -.003 against 4.60 standout & former Pro Mod rider Broderick Jackson. Congrats to Broderick on picking up his GDB Ultra 4.60 event win hat!
As Brunson turned on a couple of win lights on Chuck he was starting to rack them up in the coveted PXM class as well. First round Brunson turned on the win light against Terry Wynn of Jacksonville, FL with a consistent 4.100 at 173.68 mph to draw a quarter final round matchup for the third PXM event in a row with Chris Garner-Jones. Chris is no stranger to turning on win lights or Huntsville Dragway which his family owns & operates. Unlike the previous two events, Brunson was able turn on the win light via hole shot with a slightly improved 4.093 at 175.52 mph to a slightly quicker but losing 4.08 elapsed time turned in by Garner-Jones.
As the lanes got shorter & the day grew on, Klemme continued to excel racing in all three classes he entered & Brunson & crew gathered more precious on-track data. Down to three PXMs in the semis, Brunson drew Ashely Owens of Decatur, AL who also happened to be the only man to eclipse the 4.00 barrier on a motorcycle at Huntsville Dragway doing it the very night before running a blistering 3.99! Meanwhile, Erik McKinney took his solo pass coming off a previous aborted lap he won via red light by local standout Montez Thompson. This time it was Brunson benefiting from the red light as Ashley left just a fraction too so with a -.001 handing the win to Brunson on his slightly improved & very consistent 4.086 elapsed time.
The finals paired Brunson with arguably the most successful PXM racer in the world, Erik McKinney of Hammersville, OH. Brunson & the GDB team saved their best for last with a very smooth & much improved 4.053 ET at 175.78 mph (backed by a 1.004 60 ft) to take the win & sweep the 2018 PXM King of the Crown events at Huntsville Dragway. Tom also enjoyed his second trip of 2018 to Huntsville Dragway as he was able to cash in on wins in Pro ET & 5.60 Index becoming a multi-event winner at the KOC events in addition to a runner-up finish in Top Gas 5.10 Index!
GDB will next take their show on the road over 1,000+ miles away to the PDRA Fall Nationals at the famed Darlington Dragway in Hartsville, SC. GDB has raced near, far & seems everywhere in between but is excited to race at a facility they have never been to & look to gain valuable points in the PDRA Championship points chase.