ROCKINGHAM — In a field that included a reigning NHRA Top Fuel Harley champion, a newly-crowned American Motorcycle Racing Association title holder and an international standout, Armon Furr wasn’t even a blip on the radar entering Sunday’s Ray Price Top Fuel Challenge at Rockingham Dragway.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, it was the second generation rider from Orangeburg, South Carolina — the eighth and final qualifier — who hoisted the hardware. Although he has a solid racing pedigree as the son of Nitro Harley legend Bill Furr, the younger Furr has raced infrequently the past several years, which made Sunday’s success all the more gratifying.
Other race winners included Dennis Fisher (Dayton, Ohio) in Nitro Funny Bike, Johnny Vickers (Millers Creek) in Pro Fuel and Billy Doherty (Lake Charles, La.) in Pro Mod. Vickers won Pro Fuel for the third straight year, beating former protégé Janette Thornley (Statesville) in the final — which took just a little of the luster off Thornley’s series championship.
She was one of eight riders who secured championships on Sunday joining Fisher, Jake Stordeur (Goshen, Ohio), Shane Pendergrast (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Andy Horn (St. Louis, Mo.), Kevin Winters (Richmond, Ill.), David Doremus (Loveland, Ohio) and Bill Rowe Jr. (Hellertown, Pa.).
With 10 riders vying for eight starting spots in the Ray Price challenge, Furr just barely made the show with an almost-pedestrian 7.209 second quarter-mile.
However, in the first round, he stunned No. 1 qualifier Tii Tharpe with a much improved 6.891 at 200.16 mph. That sent him against Stordeur in the semifinals where his 6.745 was good enough to hold off Stordeur’s troubled 10.33.
It should have been no contest in the final round against Jay “Bulldog” Turner (Julian), the five-time former IHRA Nitro Harley champ and multi-time Rockingham winner, but races aren’t run on paper. And when Turner had mechanical problems, Furr singled for the win.
Final-round results from the 26th annual Jim McClure All-Harley World Finals, presented by the American Motorcycle Racing Association (AMRA), at Rockingham Dragway:
RAY PRICE TOP FUEL CHALLENGE FINAL — Armon Furr (7.043, 199.40 mph) def. Jay Turner (no time).
NITRO FUNNY BIKE FINAL — Dennis Fisher (6.776, 202.39 mph) def. Rich Vreeland (6.788, 202.48 mph).
PRO FUEL FINAL — Johnny Vickers (7.241, 173.49 mph) def. Janette Thornley (7.386, 171.86 mph).
PRO MOD FINAL — Billy Doherty (8.471, 155.08 mph) def. Shane Pendergrast (8.577 152.33 mph).
MODIFIED FINAL — Troy Young (9.466, 137.61 mph) def. Gary Douglas (10.982, 103.61 mph).
OUTLAW STREET FINAL — Charley Douglass (8.349, 163.41 mph) def. Tim Gridle (foul).
DRESSER FINAL — David Dennick (10.262, 133.71 mph) def. Eric Henderson (10.204, 136.93 mph).
TOP ELIMINATOR (9.30 target) FINAL — David Doremus (9.245, 132.63 mph) def. John Toth (9.244 breakout, 124.33 mph).
HOT STREET FINAL — Dave “Paco” Cartwright (9.316, 142.60 mph) def. John Toth (foul).
SUPER PRO (10.30 target) FINAL — David Doremus (10.268 on a 10.300, 119.86 mph) def. David Higgs (foul).
PRO (10.90 target) FINAL — Kevin Winters (10.831, 117.34 mph) def. David Higgs (10.771 breakout, 118.81 mph).
ELIMINATOR FINAL — Troy Phillips (9.928 on a 9.900, 127.87 mph) def. Nate Carnahan (10.462 on a 10.300, 116.50 mph).
OPEN GAS FINAL — Don Ratliff (8.860, 146.56 mph) def. Billy Doherty (8.866, 149.96 mph).
SUPER COMP (8.90 target) FINAL — Freddy Frazier (8.910, 151.92 mph) def. Don Ratliff (8.957, 133.14 mph).
SUPER GAS (9.90 target) FINAL — Bill Rowe Jr. (9.933, 128.81 mph) def. Joe Glaze (9.876 breakout, 127.67 mph).
STREET ELIMINATOR (11.50 target) FINAL — Donnie Huffman (11.510, 99.52 mph) def. Kevin Winters (foul).
South Carolina native Armon Furr grabbed upset Jay Turner, a five-time IHRA Nitro Harley champ, in the Top Fuel Final this past weekend at the 26th annual Jim McClure All-Harley World Finals at Rockingham Dragway.
Stateville’s Janette Thornley couldn’t get past Johnny Vickers, a Millers Creek native, in the Pro Fuel final but was able to secure an AMRA title Sunday afternoon.