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Drag Bikes: Drama Unfolds as Qualifying Concludes at Atco

13 September 1998

ATCO, New Jersey - Final qualifying results from the 34th annual AMA/Prostar US Motorcycle Nationals, sponsored by Orient Express Powersports, the sixth of eight national events on the 1998 AMA/Prostar Motorcycle Drag Racing Series.

After four rounds of qualifying, Richard DeClerk captured the top qualifying position in the Funnybike class at Atco Raceway.

Amongst other racers who also qualified on top in other categories, Tony Sabino claimed the provisional top spot in the Pro Modified Category, Antron Brown in Pro Stock, and Rickey Gadson in Pro Super Bike.

In the final qualifying session, Tony Sabino stole the top spot from rookie Dave Lombardi by only .01-second. Lombardi had previously set the top mark at 6.93-seconds, elapsed time. On his final shot, Sabino blasted a 6.92-second, 195 MPH, run and shattered Lombardis day.

Odds are that both will meet in the final round tomorrow, and they Lombardi will be ready for the call to reclaim his glory.

In Funnybike, AMA/Prostar newcomer Richard DeClerk captured the top spot on his nitro-powered Harley Davidson with a 7.23-second run. Team Kawasaki rider Steve Rice set the top mark at 7.27-seconds earlier in qualifying, but transmission failure prevented him from bettering his time as the track and air conditions improved.

In the Pro Stock category, NHRA champion Matt Hines brought his Eagle 1 Suzuki to Atco hoping to continue the domination streak that he has had on the NHRA tour. He had underestimated the AMA/Prostar competition and he ended up in the fourth qualifying spot.

Antron Brown, the rider for NFL player Troy Vincent, qualified on top for his first time with an outstanding 7.33-second elapsed time.

Pro Stock rookie Shawn Gann captured the second position with a 7.37-second run, and reigning champ Paul Gast captured the third spot by running a 7.38-second pass, and Hines sits in fourth with a 7.44.

Pro Superbike looked as if Robert McCraw would capture his first top qualifier in his first race in this category, but Team Kawasaki's Rickey Gadson showed his dominance in the late rounds by running a 9.32-second, 143 MPH lap.

Keith Dennis has once again claimed the top spot in the 600 Super Sport class with a run of 10.31-seconds, and Michael Phillips rests in second place. Team Suzuki rider Brock Davidson pushed his way into the number three spot with a 10.42-second run, and Team Kawasaki's Rickey Gadson rests in the number four spot.

Top qualifiers in other categories include Ryan Schnitz (Top Gas), Juan Cintron (Super Comp) and Doug Emge (Super Gas).

Elimination's begin Sunday at 9:00 a.m. for sportsman categories, and opening ceremonies and professional elimination's are set to kickoff at 11:00 a.m.

Atco Raceway is located off Exit 4 of the NJ Turnpike. South on route 73 South to Jug Handle Route 534 East (Jackson Road), to track.