Who in the Sam hill is Sam Hurwitz?
No one from the New England drag-racing community would have to ask that. Neither would any motorcycle drag-racing fans who go way back.
Hurwitz, of Newton, Mass., races for Inline Motorsports and is a 27-year veteran of motorcycle drag racing who was most active in the NHRA from 2001-2005.
He's riding a Suzuki he's renting from Shawn Gann. But on his own bike that he races weekly in New England Dragway's Top Bike program, Hurwitz has clocked consistent seven-second E.T.s and run faster than 190 mph.
So he could surprise some in the class but probably not the local fans.
Longtime bike fans will know his crew chief, Rick Stetson, of Northborough, Mass., who has raced, built engines, tuned, and won championships in various sanctioning bodies and set land speed records since the 1980s. Dragbike.com contributor Guy Caputo went so far as to write, "If you've never heard the name Rick Stetson then you were captured by aliens and during the mind probe you never remember having been to a Prostar, NMRA or NHRA drag race event."
Caputo called Stetson "the mastermind and crew chief behind the world's quickest Funny bike (at 6.451 E.T., 219 mph) Rick is also [owner of ] the machine shop used by the worlds Fastest Aspirated Motorcycle builder, Mr. Dave Owens."
Also in Hurwitz's pit this weekend as crew members are New England Dragway Top Bike champion Ed Hughes and John Civitarese.
Tom McCarthy, of Cycledrag.com, wrote, "This will be a most interesting race weekend for Sam's crew chief, Rick Stetson. He's butted heads with Vance & Hines Racing and Star Racing on many occasions. Mr. Stetson loves playing the role of the spoiler. He'd like nothing better than to upset the apple cart in NHRA Pro Stock Bike.
"Also for their many years of efforts, both Sam and Rick would love once, just one more time, to stand in that NHRA winners circle with the Wally held high in Sam's hand," McCarthy said. "If it were to happen, it would be the win of a lifetime for these dedicated local veteran racers who are out to prove dreams really can come true."
Hurwitz was 15th in the order in his weekend debut, despite a bit of a glitch that left him with a 7.627-second, 180.55-mph showing. In his second pass, he improved both E.T. and speed but dropped to 18th place, as Jerry Savoie, LE Tonglet, and Scotty Pollacheck shook off unimpressive first runs and moved ahead of him.
Hurwitz and the rest of the class will have two chances to improve Saturday before the fields are set.
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