If Mickey Thompson Performance Superbike Series standout Johnny Dobrin gives an inch, will his rivals take a quarter mile?
That’s a question that’ll be answered August 24-26 when a rules adjustment designed to maintain parity in the DME Real Street class gets its first big test during the 10th annual FBR Shop Nationals at Steve Earwood’s Rockingham Dragway.
Dobrin’s all-conquering, Sarasota-based turbo-Suzuki, winner of four straight MIRock events including all three contested this year at Maryland International Raceway, is expected to face new challenges from nitrous-injected two-wheelers given an additional inch of wheelbase in the new regulations.
“Real Street is a great class with a lot of different bike and powertrain combinations,” Earwood said, “and it’s a constant battle to maintain a level playing field. We’ll just have to see how it all plays out.”
Biggest benefactor of a recent rule change allowing a one-inch wheelbase extension will be Ashon Dickerson of Newark, N.J, runner-up at the Honda-Suzuki of Sanford Spring Bike Open in his nitrous Suzuki GSXR1000, pictured 2nd on right.
In addition to “Super Dave” Stewart of Mooresville, whom Dobrin defeated in the final round of last month’s Fast by Gast Bike Fest at MIR, Dobrin and Dickerson will face strong challenges from reigning series champion Jeremy Teasley of Orient, Ohio, Rickey Gadson of Hammonton, N.J., among others.
Teasley, who is in the Top 10 in three different MIRock categories, is the only rider other than Dobrin to have won a Real Street race this season. He did so in last month’s Schnitz Summer Sizzler when the point’s leader was guilty of a final round foul start.
Meanwhile, three-time series champion Rodney Williford of Rougemont will resume his pursuit of point’s leader Joey Gladstone in the featured Orient Expess Pro Street class. Gladstone, from Townsend, Del., got out to a quick start but Williford has closed to within 53 points with wins at the most recent events at both host tracks.
Champions also will be crowned in the Mickey Thompson Pro Modified, Trac King/APE Top Sportsman, House of Speed Crazy 8s, FBR Shop 5.60 Index, Nitrous Express Pro ET and Brocks Performance Street ET classes. The event also will feature a full grudge racing program including the popular Copper Performance “Afterdark Underground” which follows qualifying on Saturday
Although racing won’t officially begin until Saturday, the track will be open for private MiRock testing from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday, preceding an evening test-and-tune session from 6-11 p.m.
Highlight of Saturday’s program will be pro qualifying at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. along with day-long competition in the Pro ET and Street ET. Gates open Sunday at 8 a.m. with single elimination finals beginning at 12 noon.
Adult admission is $10 Friday, $20 Saturday and $20 Sunday. Special combo tickets also are available – $35 for Saturday and Sunday or $45 for all three days. Kids six to 11 are $5 daily. Those under six are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult.