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Team McBride in the Winner’s Circle after Long Hiatus
By: Jack Korpela

Five-time Top Fuel champion Larry McBride and teammate defending Top Fuel champion Jimmy “Hulk” Brantley dominated the season opening AMA/Prostar Bike Week Nationals from Valdosta, GA, March 4-5.

McBride won the event in his first race back from a long nine month hiatus due to health problems.

“I just wanted to prove to myself that I could still do this,” said McBride, who ran the fastest pass of his career at 248 mph. “I must admit, after being away for so long I had some doubts. After I made a couple of passes I felt like I never took any time off.”

Brantley seemed unaffected by his off-season as well. Brantley qualified No. 1 in the first session with a lap of 5.97, just one hundredth off his career best recorded at the final race of 2005. Brantley improved his personal speed record to 240 mph.

“I felt a little rust at first, like the bike was getting a head of me,” Brantley said. “After I settled down the 240 felt just like the 230’s I ran in Gainesville last season. The motorcycle was running really good and the air was great.”

Photo By Matt Polito,

The teammates met up in the final and raised the crowd to its feet with the quickest side-by-side run ever. McBride took the win with a big holeshot and a 5.92 at 245 mph to Brantley’s 6.01 at 228 mph.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” McBride said of the victory. “This is a great way for us to open the season. Jimmy did a great job. He’s going to be tough competition this year.”

“Last year I focused on learning to ride the bike and never really worried about my reaction times. With Larry back I’m going to have to cut a light too,” Brantley said. “I felt like I was catching him a little at half track, but after I saw his win light I shut it off.”

Friday night prior to the race at the AMA/Prostar 2005 Awards Banquet, Brantley received his first ever championship trophy and McBride, along with brother Steve, were awarded the crew chief of the year award for their excellence in tuning Brantley to a No. 1 plate.

“I had no clue,” McBride said. “I never thought I’d have a crew chief award to hang on the wall.”

“It was great to have Larry back racing,” Brantley said. “I think we will put on a great show this year. We want to run the first side-by-side five second pass.”

McBride went on to thank all of the dedicated sponsors that stuck with the team throughout his recovery.

“It means so much to me that they stayed with us,” McBride said. “I am very thankful of Dona and Wayne Pingel, Joe Koenig of Trim-Tex, Fred Fox of Drag Specialties-Parts Unlimited, Time Kerrigan of Red Line Oil, and Steve and Bob at Belt Drives.”

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, PR Factory Store, Muzzys Performance, Web-Cam, Kibblewhite Precision Machine, Vanson Leathers, Performance Machine, Belt Drives Ltd, Street & Competition, Traci 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



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