Springtime in September!

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            ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - Rodney Williford, Mike Slowe and Vince Demito lead the stars of the Mickey Thompson Tires MiRock Superbike Series back to Rockingham Dragway this week where they hope to bring springtime to September in the long-delayed completion of the Honda-Suzuki of Sanford Spring Open.


            The two-day event, postponed from March where it was besieged by inclement weather, begins with an informal private test session on Friday at 9 a.m. followed by the track's regular weekly test-and-tune program. 


            In its new position on the MiRock schedule, the Spring Open has championship implications, particularly in the featured Orient Express Racing Pro Street division in which past series champions Williford, Slowe and Demito are separated by a scant nine points with only three races remaining.


            Williford, the veteran from Rougemont whose twin turbo hybrid was an intimidating presence in the series before being legislated out of the MiRock mix after winning a 2006 championship, rolls into Rockingham with the points lead on the strength of an April 26 win at Maryland International Raceway.


            One of the most successful straight-line motorcycle franchises ever created, the MiRock Series consists of four events at The Rock and four more at MIR.  Rockingham is host to the final event, the Lee's Performance Fall Bike Nationals, Nov. 6-8.


            In addition to Pro Street, champions will be crowned Sunday in Pro Sport Bike, HTP Performance Real Street, Honda-Suzuki of Sanford 5.60 Pro Comp, FBR Shop Quick 32, Nitrous Express Pro ET and Schnitz Racing Street ET classes.


            Gates open Saturday at 9 a.m. with pro qualifying at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. followed by Rockingham's popular "Afterdark Underground" grudge racing spectacular.  Gates open Sunday at 8 a.m. with time trials at 9 and racing at 10 a.m.


            Spectator admission is $20 per day, $35 for two days or $40 for all three days.  Kids, 6-12, are $5 daily; children under six are free with a ticketed adult.  Although parking is free in Rockingham Dragway's main lot, VIP parking is available for $10 daily.


            Slowe and Demito both are past champions in the Pro Sportbike division who this year have moved up in class.  Slowe, from Croydon, Pa., won the Sportbike title in 2003, 2004 and 2005.  Demito, from Plymouth Meeting, Pa., was the Sportbike champ the last two years.


            Also expected to figure in the Pro Street mix is veteran Bud Yoder of Flint, Mich., winner of the two most recent events in the series including last month's Schnitz Summer Sizzler at Rockingham.


            While championships still are up for grabs in Pro Street, Real Street, Quick 32 and Pro Comp, the drama is over in Sportbike where Anthony Navarro of Royersford, Pa., has won all five races this year and owns an insurmountable lead over second place Sean Walsh of Patchogen, N.Y.


            Keith Thompson of Upper Marlboro, Md., leads Rickey Grayson of Stafford, Va., by just 13 points in the battle for the HTP Performance Real Street title; Michael Rankin of Staunton, Va., has a narrow nine-point advantage on Jay Windson of Felton, Del., in the FBR Shop Quick 32 standings; and Charlotte's Curtis Griggs Jr., leads Rankin and John Loney of Dalzell, S.C., by four points in the Honda-Suzuki of Sanford Pro Comp standings.

 For more information visit www.rockinghamdragway.com

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e-mail: Nicole@NicoleHayden.com  


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