One pass on Brainerd International Raceway's 2-year-old drag strip Thursday is all it took to build Doug Vancil's confidence.
Vancil, on his 750-horsepower nitro-burning Harley-Davidson, clicked off a pass in 6.58 seconds at 204 mph during a test and tune session for this weekend's All Harley Drag Racing Association Can Am Nationals and Big Race II.
"I should qualify pretty good here," said Vancil, the current points leader in the AHDRA Top Fuel class. "The track is pretty nice. It is smooth. I think it will be fast. We just kind of have this thing de-tuned but it still ran that so we're OK."
He said fans can expect to see 6.30 ETs during the weekend.
"There are a couple bikes out here that can do it," he said. "I think we can. I think we will go as fast as we need to."
Vancil's career-best elapsed time is 6.29 and his career-best top speed is 221.97 mph. He has been piloting a Top Fuel bike for 10 years. This one, which has a required wheelie bar, has a 160-cubic inch engine equal to 2,680 cubic centimeters.
He took over the points lead after his qualifying efforts at a series event in Maryland. He leads Steve Storeur, the current ET record holder with a pass in 6.378, by 26 points.
Vancil, who holds the ET record in the eighth-mile with a pass at 4.094 seconds, collected his first win of the season in the series at Seattle as his new clutch configuration finally started to work.
Vancil is a former series points champion and two-time International Hot Rod Racing Association points champion.
He said he has been racing Harleys all his career.
He said that unlike import motorcycles that come from the factory with efficient engines, "it takes a lot to make Harleys go fast."
When asked why he doesn't race imports, Vancil replied, "No imports."
Seconds later, an import racer drove by.
"That's the first time I've heard that sound at an all Harley race," Vancil said.
He and his wife, Julie, who also is his crew chief, are attending their 12th race of the season this weekend.
Vancil was hoping to face Australian Jay Upton, who races a Triumph. The pair could have met when Harley-Davidsons go head to head with imports in the Big Race II finale Sunday.
Upton's bike, which he shipped from Australia in the middle of June, was not cleared by Los Angeles customs authorities as of Thursday afternoon. Upton, who posted the quickest and fastest pass ever in Australia at 6.19 and 219 mph, wrote in an e-mail that 60 ships were backed up in port because of labor problems.
"I'm kind of bummed that (Upton) is not coming out," Vancil said, "we were going to stand on it and race with him."
Larry "Spiderman" McBride, who eclipsed his world record time at the event last year, also will not attend because of family obligations.
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