Pro Extreme Motorcycle (PXM) rider Eric McKinney became the latest member of an elite club Aug. 4, when he won Dragstock IX at zMAX Dragway, near Charlotte. By defeating 2012 championship rival Casey Stemper in the final round, McKinney joined Pro Nitrous legend Shannon Jenkins, 2011 Extreme Pro Stock World Champion Cary Goforth and defending PXM champ Ashley Owens as the only two-time Dragstock winners when he added to his 2009 ADRL career-first win.
“I can’t thank my team enough, my mom, my dad, my Uncle Steve, Ashley Owens (who now tunes McKinney’s bike); I mean, they deserve all the credit for getting me here. This win is big,” McKinney declared after the victory extended his lead over second-place Stemper in the season-long points race.
McKinney practically ran the table at Dragstock IX, qualifying number-one with low ET of the meet at 4.074 seconds, setting low ET of each round of eliminations except the semis, and setting top speed of the weekend in the final when he ran 4.083 at 176.56 mph to beat Stemper’s 4.109 at 159.70 after both riders posted .007 reaction times.
In the preliminaries, McKinney beat Rob Hunnicutt, 2010 PXM champ Kim Morrell and Canada’s Terry Schweigert, while Stemper took care of Mac McAdams, Charlie Prophit and Ron Procopio on his side of the ladder.
After winning the previous ADRL event at Martin, MI, in July, the Charlotte victory marked the second time this year that McKinney won back-to-back events after also doing so at Reading, PA, and St. Louis earlier this summer.
McKinney described his final-round ride as “great, very smooth,” and said, “I heard him and I know we were close to at least the 330, but then I lost him.”
Still, despite his success, McKinney said he felt like he was struggling at the tree all day long. “In the semi-finals I had a .116 light and I’m not usually like that. I don’t know if it was the track or me, but I spent an hour practicing and practicing today to get ready for the final.”
And though he didn’t get to relive his first Dragstock win at Rockingham Dragway again, McKinney had nothing but praise for the event’s new home.
“This place is amazing,” he said of the ultra-modern zMAX Dragway. “I love it; I had a blast. When I came past the grandstands and looked up and saw the huge crowd there I was almost overwhelmed.
“I was probably as nervous as I’ve ever been before a round, but it was very cool to be there, too. It’s a shame we had to leave Rockingham as the home of Dragstock, but at least we moved up to a beautiful facility.”
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