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With the ManCup’s Q-1 run on Friday evening, it was Saturday night when the three rounds of qualifying were completed for this race. Larry McBride’s 5.83 at 247.29 was tops in T/F, Tracy Kile was the quickest in T/F Twin (6.55), but the real excitement happened in Pro Fuel. Michael Ray, who’s in his first season of Nitro Harley Pro Fuel racing, stunned all present by putting a 7.06 up on the score board that just floored everyone. In Pro Mod, Eric McKinney delivered the quickest ET with a stellar 3.99; in Pro Open Travis Davis was quickest with a 6.34 elapsed time; in Pro Street Rodney Williford’s 6.78 was a stand-out; and in Real Street Joey Gladstone’s 7.76 led the way.
When eliminations began on Sunday, it was the Pingel Top Fuel bikes out first in a session that will never be forgotten. Larry McBride, who came into the last race of the season 19 points behind Sam Wills, qualified number one ahead of Sam and he needed that badly for a chance at winning his 16th T/F motorcycle title. Larry unleashed a 6.05 @ 245 on Sam, who spun the tire at the hit and shut off early. Larry’s win gave him a shot at the championship but that’s not what people will remember this round of racing for: it was Korry’s Hogan’s horrific crash that stunned all present.
Hogan was matched up with Chris Hand and they left the line together side-by-side to half-track and it looked like a pair of 5-second runs in progress, then tragedy struck. Something in the motor let go and it perforated the oil pan, unleashing five quarts of hot oil at about 165 PSI. The spray oiled the rear tire severely and the bike just laid down about the 1,000-foot mark. It impacted the wall in the left lane, threw Horgan into the wall head first at 200 mph, and then the bike ricocheted across the track, burst into flames briefly and came to rest down track.