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The Mickey Thompson Performance Tires International Drag Bike League™ (IDBL) raced for the first time ever at its home base of Maryland International Raceway during the month of September, but the weather was pure July-August! At least it was during qualifying on Saturday for the inaugural MetalScorpio East Coast Nationals, before Sunday’s raceday broke less humid and some 10 degrees cooler.
No matter what the temperature, no one burned up the Budd’s Creek quarter mile better than three-time Orient Express Pro Street champion Joey Gladstone and his DME Racing, turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa.
Gladstone qualified number one with a 6.83, one hundredth quicker and immediately after his DME teammate Terence Angela had briefly taken over number one with a 6.84.
But Angela’s raceday ended early with a 6.97 to 7.04 holeshot loss to Michigan racer Mike Bayes and his Ronnie Mitchell Racing bike in round 1. Another Michigan racer, Chris Connelly, lost to Gladstone’s jaw-dropping 6.76 in round 2 -- Joey’s second .76 of the day. “The track’s come around completely,” noted Gladstone. “They’ve done a complete 180 (since May’s repaving).”
“I bet there are some racers who didn’t come this weekend who wish they had,” DME team boss Dimey Eddinger added after his squad’s quick laps.
Despite giving up a whopping .116 at the starting line to Bayes, Gladstone’s DME power kicked in to drive him around to a 6.84, 215-mph win and leave him only to show up and buy a tech card in October to secure his fourth straight PST championship.
“We tried a different motor combination in the bike, Andy (Sawyer) did a great job tuning it, and it worked out well,” said Gladstone, who the previous week entered Pro Stock Motorcycle at the NHRA U.S. Nationals. “I think the Pro Stock experience helped me with my precision on the Pro Street bike and taught me tucking techniques and riding positions. It definitely helped out.”