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Team McBride Battles Adversity

It’s been a rollercoaster like season of ups and downs for Team McBride. The team has faced everything from record setting performances to serious health problems.

Perhaps the highpoint of the season occurred at last month’s AMA/Prostar Pingel Thunder Nationals from Indianapolis, IN. Under the tutelage of six-time AMA/Prostar Top Fuel champion Larry “McBride” McBride, Jimmy “Hulk” Brantley made an unpredicted rapid progression, running an astounding 6.003 at 230 mph in only the eighth race of his career.

“It was the smoothest and fastest pass I have ever been on. I didn’t really have do anything to the bike. It just went straight,” Brantley said of his career best run. “I shut off the throttle 5.99 seconds into the run.”

“I was extremely excited,” McBride said. “He is just a top of line competitor and a very easy guy to deal with. I’m proud of him.”

Even more impressive, many signs indicate Brantley’s nitro-guzzling machine has much room for improvement.

“The bike has got so much more potential in it,” Brantley said excitedly. “We really didn’t have that much fuel in it and the computer wasn’t working properly. Right now I think the bike has probably got another 30 or 40 percent that I can ride.”

Proudly representing the team’s sponsors on his Hulk-green motorcycle, Brantley went on to defeat Chris Hand in the final, scoring his second career victory. Brantley currently maintains a 19 point lead over Hand in the championship points series.

As for McBride, his condition is steadily improving from health problems that included a case of pancreatitis in early June and a lacunar stroke in mid-July.

“I’m getting better and working hard in rehab but it’s a slow process,” reported McBride. “I really wanted to be ready for Memphis but I am still having some coordination problems. It feels like I have a heavy left leg and arm,” McBride said. “My goal is to be able to race the World Finals but that’s all in the good lord’s hands.”

Although McBride is focused on returning in November, he has contemplated the bleak yet slim chance that he may never be able to race again. During his hiatus McBride, who has piloted a nitro bike for the last 26 years, has found out just how much drag bike racing has become a part of him.

“I will always be involved. I just love the sport too much,” McBride said. “Not being able to race would be a hard one to take for me. I lay awake in bed at night thinking about it. I’ve always done this for the love.”

McBride remains optimistic and says the fun and excitement of tuning Brantley along with brother Steve McBride and co-crew chief Roland Stuart has made his recovery stage much more tolerable.

Next up for Team McBride will be the Schnitz Memphis Blues Nationals October 1-2, where Brantley will attempt to become the second rider in history to run in the fives.

“I want to be the second man in the fives and the first bike over 250 mph,” Brantley said

The Team thanked; Pingel Enterprise, Trim-Tex Drywall Products, Drag Specialties-Parts Unlimited, Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation as well as his other sponsors:

Vance & Hines Motorsports, Muzzys Performance, Web-Cam, Kibblewhite Precision Machine, Vanson Leathers, Performance Machine, Belt Drives Ltd, Street & Competition, Trac Dynamics, Simpson Race Products, Nitrous Express, APE, EK Chain, Arias Pistons, R&D Spring Corp, Autolite, MSD, Protect ALL, Whipple Industries, Cometic Gaskets, B&J Transmission, Carolina Cycle, L.A. Sleeve, PJ1 Nology Engineering, Mickey Thompson Tires, Corbin Seats, Stark Masonry, and Valco.


Cycle Specialist • 11115 Jefferson Avenue •  Newport News, VA 23601 • 757-599-5236 •

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