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Vol. 5 Issue 4

APRIL 2014

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OWNER PRESIDENT – Scott Robinson 612-730-3719

OFFICE STAFF AR/AP – Stacy Robinson 763-421-4400 SALES SUPPORT – Vince Griffith 651-280-8658 JUNIOR BOSS – Zack Robinson 763-421-4400

Special Features


TCBA Racing, still going strong ................4


BIR - Finally! Racing Season Starts! ........20


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Rally’s & Shows


Ogilvie Raceway .................................16



Princeton Speedway .............................26

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Running of the Bulls ..............................30


Donnie Smith Bike Show........................32

NORTHERN SALES – Scott Robinson 612-730-3719

Reviews & Tech

Billet Connection Engine Bracket Kits .....29

SOUTHERN SALES - John Lentzkow 319-239-1375

SUBSCRIPTIONS $34.99 - PHONE: 763-421-4400 All content published herein is owned exclusively by Midwest Wheels of Thunder Magazine. Reproduction or further dissemination of the content herein is strictly prohibited without the express written authorization of Midwest Wheels of Thunder Magazine.

April 2014

They’re called Funny Cars .....................36

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Garage Built.........................................10

Boiling Point .........................................14

ABATE of MN ......................................35

Game On! ...........................................40

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2013 marked the 50 year anniversary of the Twin City Power Boat Association. After 50 years of boat racing, we are still going strong. The TCPBA is the largest OPC (Outboard Performance Craft) racing affiliate in the country. We have eight classes of boats racing at speeds from 50 mph to 135 mph, making our race the hottest show on water! We typically have 40-50 boats at each of our races. Page 4

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GT Pro is a great class for beginners! The boats have 25 or 35 hp stock Evinrude or Johnson outboards, where kids as young as 13 years old can begin their racing career and build their driving skills. These classes are very competitive, and we have many members that start this class, and stay with it throughout the years. Boats in this class range in price from $2000 to $4000, and there is also the option to build a boat from your own set of plans. These boats will reach speeds of 50 mph. Sport C is a natural progression from GT Pro. These boats are typically a tunnel hull

design, but can also be a v-bottom. The most preferred outboard power of choice for this class is a Nissan or Tohatsu 40 hp. Drivers in this class must be at least 14 years old. Speeds in this class are over 60 mph Hobby Stock (V Bottom) was designed for the weekend enthusiast that has a boat, wants to race, but also needs to keep a tight budget. Hobby Stock has to run a Johnson or Evinrude 70 hp motor and weigh in at a minimum weight of 1050 lbs. These boats can be purchased, set up and turnkey ready for $2500 or less depending on resourcefulness. VP 75 is our most popular V bottom racing class. Unlike Hobby Stock, these boats typically run custom built racing hulls, or enhanced ski boats. The VP 75 class is able to run the 70, or 75 hp Evinrude or Johnson. This class also has a 900 lb minimum weight requirement, which allows for a bit more speed and performance. Price for a VP 75 set up is in the $3500-$9000 range. Racers in Hobby Stock and VP75 race together, but are scored separately, making for a very exciting show to watch from the beach. Speeds are between 50-55 mph. SST 60 is TCPBA’s most popular class by boat count. A 14 ft tunnel hull boat racing a factory 3 cylinder race motor built by OMC. These boats are also known as Formula 3, which is a very popular class in the national race circuit. Many of our TCPBA

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mph, then turn 180 degrees, reaching 4.5g’s in the turn. These are known as the fastest turning vehicle on the planet! Skill is required to drive these boats! The high speeds of these boats make them candidates for spectacular blow overs (360 degree flip). These classes are very popular at national circuits races where many TCPBA members are “regulars”. Prices for these boats start around $10,000 -$25,000.

SST 60 racers also travel to other parts of the country to vie for championships and prize money. These boats are designed to fly more than they are to be on the water. They reach speeds of over 80 mph, and turn on a dime. This class is always exciting to watch, very competitive, and they often seem to be on the brink of blowing over backwards. SST 60 is a great racing class as it includes beginners and seasoned veterans. Prices for these boats will run between $5000-$15,000.

When the TCPBA comes to your town to put on a race, be assured that you will see a family friendly, exciting race event full of competition and comradery. We also put safety of our members, staff, and fans as out top priority. We always welcome our fans to come to the pits to check out the boats, and meet the drivers in person.

SST 120/Formula 150/SST 200 are the big boys (Pro Division). These 3 classes all utilize the same boat hull and in minutes can change powerplants to compete in the other class. These are 16 foot tunnel hull boats with factory V6 Mercury Racing outboards. Horsepower ranges from 215 to 325. Speeds are between 105 and 135 mph. These boats will speed down the course at over 100 Our drivers are always willing to sign autographs, answer questions, and even have their photo taken with you after the race. We also welcome any newcomers that would be interested in racing. There can usually be arrangements made to accommodate a trial race with just about any class of boat. We also welcome any volunteers that would like to become involved in boat racing, from score keepers, administration, boat ramp bosses, rescue boat drivers, announcers, and many others. Please visit out facebook page, or contact our website for more information. Hope to see you at the races this summer!

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010 SSportster 22010 portster CChopper hoppe r Owner: Peter Ström Stockholm / Sweden

Photographer: Ulf Engborg +46 708682700

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I came across that ignorance when I was building my Sportster Chopper! Often I was asked, “Why didn’t you build a real bike?” I wanted to show that I could build a good looking bike from a Sportster and I think my bike is more real and handles better than many Big twins. The idea for the bike is all mine, Calles Chopperdelar Sweden built the frame from my spec. My friend “Kenta” who owns Ace

Performance helped me with fabrication at his shop, where we built it together! I have had some trouble with misfire in very heavy rain, but the bike is great, smooth to ride, easy to handle, fast and very reliable. I love the MOON derby/point covers and the shift nobb (The finger) from Death Machine. The “Hard ass” seat was much more comfortable than I thought! This is my personal bike and have ridden it 40000 km so far. I have built an HD Trike for my wife and a Sportster bobber for my Stepdaughter. (both will be featured in the next two months of the Wheels of Thunder Magazine) The summer of 2010/11, we started our vacation on a lovely island in Sweden called Gotland which has long, white beaches and beautiful roads around the island. After a great week in Gotland, we took the boat to the mainland and to the south of Sweden to meet some good friends on the west coast, in Borås. We went along the west coast to Halmstad, Varberg and to Båstad. During the ride across the country, we realized that Sweden is a very beautiful to ride the bikes in. We crossed the country once again and visited Kalmar and Öland on the east coast

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and the beautiful castle of Borgholm. Very nice trip on very nice roads. We have been visiting several exhibitions e.g MC dagarna in Västervik and Wheels in Barkarby and we won some prizes for “the most outstanding bike” with my wife’s Trike. On our vacation we drove approx 10000 km around our country. As soon as we can, we take short rides to and around our capital of Sweden, Stockholm. The Hot Rod Culture is a big inspiration to me and the Bike builders that have stood out to me are Tom Foster’s "Captain In-

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sane" and Jesse James "El Diablo". I have thousands of ideas for a new bike but it will have to wait some time for finance. It will probably be going to be the same style like this bike, or a “Swedish Style Chopper”. SHOWS AND AWARDS: 1st Place – Easy rider bike show 2010 in Sweden 1st Place – Easy rider bike show 2011 in Sweden 3rd Place – HD-Chopper HojRock Västervik -13 3rd Place – HD-Chopper Scandinavian Motor Show -13

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2010 Sportster Chopper SPECS YEAR/MAKE/MODEL 2010

FRONT WHEEL 21X2,15 60 spokes

FABRICATION Calles Chopperdelar Sweden / Ace Performance

REAR WHEEL 18x5,5 60 spokes

ASSEMBLY Peter Ström / Kenta Falkered / Ace Performance BUILD TIME 10 Month ENGINE HD XL 1250cc CASES HD XL RODS Jims PISTONS 1250 Sledge Hammer Pistons CYLINDERS 1250 from Hammer Performance HEADS HD 883 Custom made by “Tassen” / Rocker cover, Custom Cycle Engineering CAM Andrews N4 IGNITION 2000i CARB CV 40 / Thunder Jet PIPES FSD Design “ Inferno” AIR CLEANER Ram Flow TRANSMISSION HD XL Primary HD XL POINT/DERBY COVER MOON (not on the photos) CLUTCH HD FRAME Calles Chopperdelar Sweden, from my spec RAKE 39 STRETCH 3" stretch, single down tube FORKS Ultima with “Järnhästen” Tripple Trees Fork length (+ or -) +10” Additional rake in trees: 6

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FRONT TIRE Avon 90/90-21" REAR TIRE Avon 200/55-18" ”Cobra” FRONT BRAKE Ultima 4piston REAR BRAKE Ultima 4piston FUEL TANK 22” Choppertank 4.1 gallon with British style gas cap “Snap-lock” OIL TANK Horseshoe with British style gas cap “Snap-lock” FENDER “Fatty” by Paul Yaffe HANDLEBARS Fred Kodlin "Bonanza" RISERS FRC 2” from Flyrite Choppers HEADLIGHT Jammer cycle "Retro" TAILLIGHT The Stop HAND CONTROLS Tolle GRIPS Jammer vintage black FOOT CONTROLS HD Mid controls PEGS Battistini round hole ELECTRICAL Kenta Falkered PAINTER Juri Haglund COLOR Satin Black GRAPHICS Pinstriping, Gold Leaf SEAT Crime scene choppers "Hard Ass" SPECIAL THANKS TO Kenta Falkered at Ace Performance for his bike building skills and to Roffe at The Partsstop for getting all the right parts.

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Written by Billy Boyle

SPRING HAS SPRUNG! ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE? can reduce visibility you should also clean the inside of the glass to remove film that increases moisture buildup. TIPS FOR THE MOTORCYCLE I guess the word “tips” isn’t a good word to use for motorcycle safety. TUNING UP FOR SPRING

Now that you’ve survived driving in one of the most brutal winters in our nation’s history, getting around in spring should be a breeze, right? Wrong! And that mode of transportation includes automobiles, semis and motorcycles. Spring presents its own unique challenges for all motorists, experts say. For starters, there can be a “letting your guard down” or as I say in the safety world being complacent. The mentality that sets in as the ice and snow has melted away, and the excitement over rising temperatures prompts a sense of abandonment of the rules and the fear. Have you ever heard “it won’t happen to me”? With every season there are special challenges and techniques that drivers need to keep in mind. TIPS FOR THE AUTOMOBILE AND OVER THE ROAD VEHICLES A wet road can be just as slick as an icy one. Tires will hydroplane and lose contact with the road, which is as dangerous as hitting pure ice. After one of those “April Showers” that rain causes oil dripped from passing vehicles to rise to the top of the water surface, increasing the slick factor. Stay in the middle lanes as water tends to pool in the outside ones. Page 14

Increase the distance between you and the vehicle you’re following in the rain. Three seconds is considered a safe distance in normal circumstances. During a storm, increase this to eight seconds. The three second rule is a simple way to double-check that you are driving at a safe following distance. Choose a fixed point (like a road sign or a building) that is even with the car in front of you. If you reach that same fixed point before you can count to three, then you’re driving too close to the car in front of you and you need to fall back a bit. Replace worn tires. Worn treads will cause a loss of traction, increasing your chances of sliding. Even if the tread is fine, you need to make sure the tires are properly inflated. An easy way to check that your tire has an acceptable tread is to do the penny test. Simply put a penny into the groove of the tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head, your tire needs repairing. Check out some of the Wheels of Thunder advertisers that specialize in tires and rims.

There is not a sweeter sound than the revving of the engine that has been sitting idle since the fall. But think about this as a rider we also have been sitting idle all winter long. Sharpening the riding skills might take a few trips, swiveling your head looking out for the crater like pot holes and cautiously turning on roadways that resemble a beach from the ruminants of sand left by the plows. POTHOLES Speaking of potholes as bad as the winter has been on us human beings mentally and physically the cold, snow and ice has played havoc with our road conditions. The potholes, cracks and heaving will take months for the road crews to repair. From my travels around the state, the depth and width of these craters hitting one with your automobile might rattle your teeth; take out a rim, a tire or the underside of frame. Hit with a two wheeled vehicle and it might be the end of the ride. Take this recent fatality as an example;

Check wiper blades. A winter’s worth of snow, ice and salt can beat down the wipers, so you may need to replace those, too. Also, clean your windshield with good window washer to improve wiper performance. This will also remove oily film that

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Motorcyclist going 100 mph hits pothole thrown to his death - A motorcyclist with a passion for fast bikes was going at least 100 miles per hour when he struck a pothole or a crack along a winter-worn stretch of a Minneapolis interstate and was thrown to his death. As efforts to fill in potholes continue, “people need to slow down and watch for them” said a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Preliminary reports show that 60 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in Minnesota 2013. There were 55 motorcycle fatalities on Minnesota roads in 2012, according to the Office of Traffic Safety. SAND AND DEBRIS AS ROAD HAZARDS Although the plan to use less or no sand on the highways and secondary roads this winter the subzero temperature we experienced Salt loses its effectiveness as temperatures drop. Sand – Increases traction for motorists on slippery roads, mostly used at intersections and ramps. It may also be used in extreme cold temperatures when salt is less effective. Having said that there is another reason to pay attention during

the first several times you take your precious machine out for the joy of riding. There is nothing worse than laying the bike down due to the road conditions and not your driving skills. Another thing to keep an eye on is roadway debris as in pieces of those vehicles that didn’t quite make it through one of those treacherous winter driving ventures. Much like the potholes the left over debris is just a hazardous. For you gamers out there isn’t this similar to playing “frogger”? From a serious perspective trying to avoid these hazards has led to some of those 60 fatalities that we mentioned above in 2013. SKILLS, TECHNIQUE AND DISTRACTIONS Professional sports teams all have the couApril 2014

ple of months prior to the season opener to prepare the team, sharpen the skills and create real game situation scenarios to get them physically and mentally prepared. This paragraph is for all people that behind the wheel whether its 2 or 4 wheeled. Like the motorcyclist needs to watch out for the road hazards we the drivers of 4 wheeled vehicles need to watch out and be prepared for the number of motorcycles that will hit the roadways across America. In the last 3 years statistically in April – June there are approximately 1600 motorcyclist killed. Many of these fatalities were not the result of the motorcyclist driving habits, but the lack of awareness by 4 wheeled motorist. The increasing number of motorcycle accidents is greatly due to distracted drivers on cellphones, daydreaming and loud music. Those crashes often involve other vehicles making a left turn, pulling in front of motorcycles that are going straight. The problem is people in cars and trucks fail to see or hear motorcycles. That's partly because they have smaller profiles. When you really take a look at the individual cause the distracted driver was the culprit. THE WASTING OF TWO LIVES AND PAINFUL MEMORIES FOR BOTH FAMILIES As a society we have become so dependent on instant communication, calling and texting has become a way of life, however it has also become a way to end a life. From a personal standpoint I can vividly remember a tragic accident that involved friend of mine’s dad. Her dad had been a motorcycle enthusiast for decades and had always preached to his kids about safe motorcycle

driving habits. It was April 2005, a beautiful spring Saturday the sound of the bikes hitting the road for the first ride of the season. The dad rolled the bike out and just wanted to a drive a few miles to the local Harley shop to pick up fluids. As he made his way on a well-traveled frontage road a small pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction without warning turned quickly in front of his bike. The pickup’s turn was so sudden there was no time for the bike to stop. He hit the pickup broadside and was launched 20 feet landing on the other side of the vehicle striking his head on the curb. My friend’s dad had died on the scene. The root cause of this tragedy was found to be driver distraction; the teen driver of the pickup had been engaged in a cell phone conversation and lost focus while driving. What a tragedy for both families, the victim was a healthy man with a wonderful family. Personally knowing the victim’s family there isn’t a day that they don’t have that reminder of the accident as they have to pass the scene every day. And the young girl and her family will have to live with that day the changed the life for everyone involved forever. THE BOILING POINT My friends the spring is here, eventually the roads will be drivable – the bikes will be revving up – most of us will be glad just to get outside and the summer will be right around the corner. Take the spring seriously, be safe, drive safe, keep the car stereo volume moderate and take the call or text when you stop. We all will be glad you did.

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Nationally televised and known monster trucks from a premier promoter will put on a dazzling and exciting show that is guaranteed not to be soon forgotten!








Also from the monster truck show promoter will be an exciting heart pounding motorcycle stunt show that will entertain the whole family with this one of a kind experience!

Four classes of demo derby cars organized and promoted by Minnesota’s premier derby promoter. Top Notch Motor Sports. $11,150 plus Purse and additional prizes for Mad Dog picks in each class and MORE!


A well known Minnesota tribute band to perform that will rock and entertain the spectators.


Bounce Houses and other inflatables. Costume Characters. Face painting. Caricature Artists.








Raffles, Door Prizes and Giveaways. Plenty of food options.


Professional pyrotechnic creates a finale fireworks display.

To Purchase Tickets Call:

6 1 2 - 4 9 9 -7 6 0 1



35 $ 55



20 $ 30


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Photograph provided by Rick Corwine

rainerd International Raceway’s race tracks may still be buried beneath a couple inches of snow but the racing season is right around the corner. (#It’sabouttime) By the end of April, the telltale signs of spring at BIR will return: the smell of burnt rubber, the growl of big horsepower, the clanking of wrenches and the joys of speed.

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BIR’s 2014 schedule features wall-to-wall racing action from April 25 through October 6 and includes an increasingly diverse lineup of motorsports events. BIR continues to target a cross-section of racing fans with a variety of motorsports, including drag racing, road racing, snowmobile watercross, cruising events, drifting and autocross competitions, the BIR Performance Driving School and a lot more. BIR’s drag strip and 2.5-mile Competition Road Course are busy nearly every weekend, giving fans a lot of different options. April 2014

Written by Geoff Gorvin

The main attraction again this year is the 33rd Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, set for Aug. 14-17. The entire drag racing universe will be watching as the best drag racers, the fastest cars and thousands of crazy race fans descend on BIR to celebrate the largest motorsports event in the Upper Midwest. BIR’s infamous campground, called The Zoo, takes on a life of its own the week of Nationals with live music nightly, bonfires, a parade of “partywagons,” rickshaw races and a lot more. Advance tickets are now on sale. New to BIR’s schedule this year is the

Pirelli World Challenge Championships, the fastest-growing road racing circuit in the country and North America’s top racing series for production-based cars. Now in its 24th season, Pirelli features professional drivers from Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Pro Racing who will compete in 50-minute races on BIR’s Competition Road Course Saturday and Sunday during the 28th Annual Muscle Car Shootout Labor Day weekend. Pirelli joins the Trans Am Series (Sunday) and the SCCA Jack Pine Sprints on the road course that weekend, with the grand finale of the three-race Muscle Car Series on the drag strip. The Muscle Car Series kicks off Memorial Day weekend during the 6th Annual Street Car Showdown, which will include SCCA divisional road racing on the road course. The second leg of the Muscle Car Series is the Fourth of July weekend during the 28th Annual Show & Go, a perennial favorite for race fans. With drag racing on the drag strip and regional SCCA divisional road racing on the road course, the event will mark the debut of the Cheerios Racing Great North Legends Car Series, which features 5/8-scale 1930s coupes and sedans. They will have two heats and a finals race both Saturday and Sunday during the Show & Go. Off the track, fans are also treated to a classic car show, fireworks, live music and camping. The imports and sport compacts invade BIR for two weekends this season: June 20-

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races again this year that feature nationallevel pro racers along with regional amateur drivers. And most of the racing is fun and affordable family entertainment.” When most people think of BIR, they think of spectator races, but there are many opportunities for people to get behind the steering wheel and test their fortitude and driving skills. For example, the Wednesday Night Drags – Street Legal Style is a program where BIR opens its drag strip to anyone with a street legal car, truck or bike, and a helmet.

Photograph provided by SDE 22 and Sept. 5-7. The Modern Automotive Performance Proving Grounds is one of the fastest-growing events at BIR, attracting racers from throughout the country who compete in drag racing, drifting, autocross, open lapping, car shows and burnout contests. For those who enjoy racing on the edge, the Central Roadracing Association (CRA) is bringing its insane brand of Superbike racing to BIR again for five weekends. Riders take on the 13-turns on the Competition Road Course in a number of different classes.

cruise is back for a fourth year, giving fans the chance to participate in driving events throughout the weekend. The World Racing League makes its debut at BIR with a 12-hour endurance race on the road course for teams of three drivers. “We’re always looking for different and unique types of racing for our fans,” Copham said. “We have a great mix of

The same thing is available on the road course, where the BIR Performance Driving School combines classroom instruction and on-track driving to teach drivers how to handle a car at high speeds. Most racing events have classes for those who want to try racing, using their street car, truck or bike. “I think that’s one of our best-kept secrets at BIR,” Copham said. “Many people don’t know that they can come here and compete rather than sit in the grandstands and watch. Most of our races are open to anyone, as long as their car or bike meets safety and tech requirements. Some of the races require a short instructional session as well, but most of our events are open.”

The Bracket Drag Racing Series is back this summer with six race weekends on the schedule. It’s super-competitive amateur drag racing with series championships on the line in 10 classes. Winners are crowned Saturday and Sunday each weekend. The schedule is full of fun, affordable and “non-traditional” racing as well, such as the ChumpCar World Series, where teams of four drivers race $500 junkers during seven-hour endurance races. Another one is the International Watercross Association’s Snowmobile Watercross Racing, which will be at BIR two weekends and features snowmobiles racing around a course on open water. The Aussie-style Power-

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INSURANCE SOLUTIONS You have a choice when selecting insurance and want the best coverage available at a fair price. Your Farmers® agent can offer you a policy that provides you with a superior combination of coverage and value that helps protect your important investments.


MOTORCYCLE Rev. It. Up. You can count on specialized standard and optional coverages for all types of motorcycles; from sport bikes, cruisers, imports, customs, classics – even trikes and scooters – chances are we have the policy for what you ride! • Replacement Cost Total Loss coverage available for new bikes • Towing and Roadside Assistance with Trip Interruption coverage • Safety Apparel coverage – up to $1,500 of coverage included – for covered collisions

OFF-ROAD VEHICLE Get back to nature. We offer policies with important available coverages for dirt bikes, three-wheelers, sport and utility ATVs, dune buggies, golf carts and neighborhood electric vehicles. • Optional Equipment coverage for towed trailers, sport racks, after-market parts and accessories • Annual policies mean you can ride whenever you choose

SNOWMOBILE Let the snow fly. The Snowmobile policy covers all kinds of popular snowmobiles including standard, utility and highperformance models with the available coverages that matter to snowmobilers. • Safety apparel coverage for gloves, boots, goggles and all those layers of clothing • Optional Equipment coverage for accessories such as winches and towable sleds • Transport Trailer coverage for the trailer used to transport your sled





Over two million policy holders trust us to insure the things that are important to them.

We offer payment plans to help you budget. You can also pay by credit card or Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), whichever option is right for you.

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We design specific policies to fit each product. This gives you the insurance coverage you want that fits you.

MOTOR HOME AND TRAVEL TRAILER It’s a wild world when you take the road less traveled. No matter what you use to escape – a type A, B, or C motorhome, a travel trailer, pop-up or fifth-wheel – we offer specialized coverages for your rig. • Full-timers coverage for people who live in their RV • Personal Property coverage available with higher limits • Total Loss Replacement coverage for new-model RVs • Traveline® Towing and Roadside Assistance available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year anywhere in the U.S. and Canada • Accessory coverage included for awnings, antennas, satellite dishes and other attached supplementary parts

BOAT / PERSONAL WATERCRAFT Make a splash. There is a policy with important coverage options for pretty much everything on the water, including power boats, sail boats, personal watercraft and many other types of popular boats. • Personal Property coverage covers any property while on board including GPS units, fishing equipment and apparel • Waterskiing and Towing Sports Liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage • Trailer coverage for trailers specifically designed to transport the covered vessel

COLLECTIBLE AUTO Cruise in style. Classic, antique and modified cars and trucks need more than what’s offered in a standard auto policy. That’s why we offer specialized standard and optional coverages for everything from American muscle to foreign sports cars. • No Attendance Clause requirement at events for loss settlements so you can enjoy every minute of every show • $250 of Spare Parts coverage automatically included

Your Single Source for Insurance

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SEND TO: WHEELS OF THUNDER, 13915 RADIUM ST. NW, SUITE D • RAMSEY, MN 55303 ___ YES! I want to subscribe to the Wheels of Thunder Magazine & receive 12 issues for $34.99! Charge my credit card: _____VISA


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ENGINE BRACKET KITS Billet Connection’s Engine Bracket Kits are CNC machined out of 6061 billet aluminum. We make Alternator, Reverse Mount Alternator, Air Conditioning, and/or Power Steering Bracket Kits for Hemi, BB Chrysler, BB Chevy, and SB Chevy. The billet parts are sanded to a hand brushed finish for non polished kits or a high luster buffing for the polished kits.

machined with Silver Highlights. Also available are Water Pump Plates threaded to #12 O-Ring fitting for Boat applications or Engines with external or no Water Pumps. Also in Polished or Black An-

odized with Silver Highlights. All Timing Covers are Ball Milled for the Nostalgia look! More info at

The billet parts are extensively cleaned and ceramic clear coated for easier maintenance. All of our bracket kits come with stainless steel or plated fasteners. The polished kits come with polished stainless steel fasteners unless otherwise noted. The bracket kits come with all the brackets, spacers, bolts, washers, and nuts you will need to mount the engine accessories without any fabrication. Our kits also come with easy to follow instructions to make installation easy. Billet Connection’s bracket kits are engineered to fit tight and low against the motor. The reason for this much effort to mount all the accessories close to the crank pulleys is because on high rpm engines the longer the belt the more stretch and back lash is produced which causes belt slippage or even problems throwing the belt at high RPM’s. It also looks a lot better not having your accessories sitting on top of your engine when popping the hood. These bracket kits are Designed for Big Engines in Small Engine Compartments. Billet Connection also developed Billet Timing Covers for Hemi and Big Block Chrysler Engines. Timing Cover have adjustable Pointers, Crank Seal Retaining Bolts and come with the Front Seal installed. The timing covers are machined for a Fuel Pump drive. They can be ordered either Polished or Black Anodized and reApril 2014

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27th Annual Dennis Kirk

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Donnie Smith Bike Show

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11TH ANNUAL BIKERDAY AT THE MN STATE CAPITOL their negligent driving behavior were well received. Our people hit a whopping 80% of legislative offices. And through the hard work of Todd Riba, Keith Efron and others, our information was dropped off to the rest. The bright sunshine and warming temperatures made for a “picture perfect” photo shoot when our entire group lined up on the Capitol steps. What a great bunch of people! I am proud to call these folks my friends. After the pictures it was time to get back on the bus for the trip home. The long ride is a great time to share stories of the day and learn from others.

On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, freedom minded motorcyclists across the state were awake early and ready to meet the bus that would bring them to ABATE of Minnesota’s 11th annual Bikerday at the State Capitol. The snooze buttons got a vigorous workout from our attendees in places like Warroad, Worthington, Hibbing, Albert Lea and Madison. It takes a great deal of dedication to take a day off work and be awake not long after midnight on a weekday for an hours long bus ride to St. Paul. You folks have my respect! By the busload and organized carpools ABATE members, along with people from many clubs and groups statewide, climbed the century old stairs of the Capitol to make their voices heard as one for freedom of the road. The Capitol Rotunda was full of black leather when Senator Lyle Koenen addressed the group. He is a great friend of motorcyclists and has attended many ABATE chapter and board meetings. The names of the speakers who followed him read like a “who’s who” of April 2014

prominent legislators. And others called me with regret that their schedule would not allow them to address our group. You just can’t be two places at once. When Senator Kiffmeyer said “If you are out riding your motorcycle the way you choose and not breaking the law you should be left alone, right?” I swear the solid rock walls of the Rotunda shook when the crowd answered back “RIGHT!”

To everyone who attended ABATE of Minnesota’s 11th annual Bikerday at the State Capitol - Thank You. And to everyone who could not be there, please add it to your “must do” list for 2015. You will not be disappointed. Yours in freedom, Mack.

ABATE of Minnesota scheduled appointments for all attendees to meet with their senator and representatives or staff. Throughout the day bikers could be seen walking the corridors of the Capitol and State Office Building. Our citizen-lobbyists did an outstanding job of informing Minnesota’s decision makers on our concerns. Issues such as no changes to the adult helmet law, no costly insurance mandates, protection of the Motorcycle Safety Fund, instituting a motorcycle awareness license plate and holding people accountable for

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he 1960’s saw the gasser wars between all of the big names in that category; Stone, Woods and Cook, K.S. Pittman, the Hill Brothers and Big John Mazmanian fill the stands at match races and national events. By the mid 1960’s a new type of car was on the track.


Dragway was memorable. When I look at a photo I took of that car, it surprises me that, like the other altered wheelbase cars, wheelie bars weren’t used. That explains the front-wheels-highoff-the-track launch the cars had when the lights on the Christmas Tree went green.

The earliest designation was A/FX; altered factory experimental. In their initial configuration the cars featured an altered wheelbase. To improve traction, the rear wheels were moved forward giving the cars a “funny” appearance. Among the A/FX cars I remember seeing in drag racing magazines are Bill Flynn’s Yankee Peddler, Dave Stickler’s Mopar entry and fellow Mopar racers the Ramchargers. The Flintstone Charger car I saw at Connecticut

For long time drag racing fans, it is still a blast to see them on the track at nostalgia races. They don’t come remotely close to the 300 plus MPH runs you see with modern Funny Cars but that doesn’t take anything away from them delivering some great side by side races. The gassers had been a lot of fun, but the page had been turned and it was a new day. The altered wheelbase cars quickly became fan favorites.

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Written by Tom Edwards

By the late 1960’s the cars had evolved significantly. They featured tilt-up fiberglass bodies that had some resemblance to their cousins on car dealer’s showroom floors. The bodies were mounted on tubular frames specifically designed and built for straight line racing. The slightly redesigned bodies help create the down force needed for a good run.

In 1967 I saw some of the premier Funny Cars of the day. When you are a fairly new fan of the sport and see Bill Lawton’s Tasca Ford, tuned by John Healey, The Farkonas, Coil and Minick Chi Town Hustler, Fast Eddie Shartman’s Air Lift Rattler Mercury Comet, Lew Arrington’s Brutus Pontiac, the Ramchargers Dodge Dart and Malcolm Durham’s Strip Blazer, the first Corvair Funny Car I had ever seen, it was easy to become a Funny Car fan. In 1965 driving a Factory Experimental car at the Winternationals, Lawton won it all in the Mystery 8 car. The number came from the elapsed time the team had hoped to run. Over the years as the E.T.’s kept getting quicker, the Tasca cars changed the Mystery number from 8 to 7, etc.; Mystery 7 is the car I saw. Two of the cars that stood out at one of my earliest races are Frank Federici’s The Shark, one of the first Funny Cars to use a Corvette body, and Roger Wolford’s Secret Weapon. It was a Jeep, not a common choice for Funny Car racers. Malcolm Durham didn’t have the only Funny Car with a Corvair body. Hayden Proffitt and

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best examples was Kenny Bernstein’s ’84 Ford Tempo, the first flopper with a 260 MPH run. The following season launched Bernstein to a 4 year run of championships. His 1987 car became known as the Batmobile. Although it was technically within NHRA rules, it was banned for the following season. My wife and I saw it in Pomona and it was certainly different.

Doug Thorley also went with the small Chevy body. During an event at the Wally Parks Motor Sports Museum at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, my wife and I had the opportunity to meet Doug Thorley; he autographed our copy of Robert Genat’s book American Drag Racing. At the 1967 NHRA Nationals at Indianapolis driving his Doug’s Headers Funny Car, Thorley earned a place in the winner’s circle when his 7.6 E.T. topped an impressive field that included Fast Eddie Shartman, Dyno Don Nicholson and Bill Lawton in the Tasca Ford Mustang. The September event marked the first race with Funny Car as an official NHRA eliminator category. When I look back at the Funny Cars of the 1970’s one of the first names that comes to mind is Jungle Jim Lieberman. The West Chester, Pennsylvania racer is widely considered the first “showman” in drag racing. With assistance from Jungle Pam after a long smokey burnout you knew that whatever was going to happen next was worth the price of admission. Jim’s approach to racing seemed to be from the “too much is just about enough” school. I was pleased to see Bob Gilbertson offer a tip of the hat to Jungle Jim with a gold car at a Fall race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In 1971 Lew Arrington switched from his familiar Pontiac cars and joined the growing ranks of racers using a Mustang body. The engine was what he and others had used for years, a Chrysler hemi. Lew did have Boss 429 valve covers on it though to complete the Ford appearance. Big Jim Dunn had a rear-engine Barracuda and it made him the only driver to win a national event, the 1972 Supernationals, drivPage 38

ing a Funny Car with that unconventional set up. I remembering seeing photos of it and thought it had to have great traction. Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen teamed with Don “The Snake” Prudhomme to campaign Mattel sponsored Hot Wheels cars. They were among the earliest cars in drag racing with corporate sponsorship. The

2013 film “Snake and Mongoose” captures the highlights of their amazing careers.

The 1982 U.S. Nationals had what some consider one of the greatest runs in drag racing history. Don Prudhomme’s 5.63 second pass was, by 2 tenths, quicker than any other Funny Car had ever run. One of my favorite Funny Car racers in the 1980’s was Raymond Beadle, driver of the Blue Max cars. He was the NHRA champion in 1979, 1980 and 1981. During that final championship season he won the U. S. Nationals. The Chi Town Hustler team of Farkonas, Coil and Minick with driver Frank Hawley went to the final round and had a runner up finish at the 1983 Winternationals. At the next race, the Gatornationals, they went to the finals again and earned a trip to the winners circle. They finished the season as Funny Car champions. The 1983 season featured 4 national event wins. Frank Hawley went on to establish a successful drag racing school and Austin Coil teamed up with John Force. As history has shown, that worked out well for both of them. In 1983 Candies and Hughes went Funny Car racing after a decade in the Top Fuel ranks and won a couple of races. The 1984 season saw 3 wins, 3 runner up finishes and an NHRA world title. After Bernstein’s championship run, Bruce Larson won the 1989 title to close out the decade. With the exception of Cruz Pedregon’s championship in 1992, Funny Car racing in the 1990’s can be summed up in one name; John Force. Winning 90 per cent of the championships in a professional category over the course of a decade is amazing. Not surprisingly, Force became an

With the first Mustang II bodied Funny Car Billy Meyer had his first NHRA win at the 1977 Fallnationals in Seattle. He now owns and operates the Texas Motorplex. Don Prudhomme was the 1978 Funny Car champion and Raymond Beadle’s 1979 title rounded out the decade. The 1980’s saw a significant evolution in Funny Car body design. I believe one of the

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drag racing memorabilia collector I was pleased to see a 1/24 scale die cast version

extremely popular racer and the face of NHRA drag racing. Watching him during an interview after a run is almost as much fun as watching him race. Like his car, John usually speaks at more than 300 MPH; that pace occasionally leads to him forgetting the question. His fans will tell you that’s O.K., it always leads to an interesting, frequently funny answer. He started the 90’s with 7 wins and followed that with a season that had 5 wins in 10 final rounds in what was an 18 race season. He opened the 1993 season with a hole shot win over Del Worsham at the Winternationals. Of the 19 races during the 1994 season, Force had 10 wins and set speed (303.95) and elapsed time (4.93) records. He swept the 3 race western swing and shared the winner’s circle at Brainerd, Minnesota with his idol, Don Prudhomme. For The Snake, it was his Final Strike season. A 5th championship for Force was earned in 1995, a total that placed him ahead of Don Prudhomme and Kenny Bernstein. I thought the Elvis Presley paint design on one of his cars was nice. Hound Dog on the side windows was appropriate. ‘Hunka hunka burnin’ over the slicks made sense. Elvis fan that he is, I’m sure he enjoyed that car. It was a 6 wins in 11 final rounds season. In 1996 John Force did something no one else in drag racing had accomplished; a panel of motor sports writers named him the North American Driver of the Year. He opened the year with a runner up finish at the Winternationals. He first win came two weeks later at the Phoenix race. His win at the U.S. Nationals created a big pay day. In winning the race, the Big Bud shootout and a qualifying bonus, the total came close to half a million dollars. He had 13 wins in 16 finals and had the championship clinched at the Indy race. He wasn’t just winning, he was absolutely dominating Funny Car racing. In 1997 he led in points from the first to the last race of the season. During the year he switched from a Pontiac to a Ford with the backing of Bob Tasca, Sr.; someone April 2014

with a long history of drag racing sponsorship support. With 9 final round appearances in 1998 it was his seventh consecutive championship. He closed out the decade with another title and drove one of my favorite John Force cars; it had a Superman paint scheme. At a race my wife

and I attended that car appeared to be faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. Cathy and I didn’t see him leap a tall building with a single bound. He won 7 of the first 11 races, set speed (324.05) and E.T. (4.788) records and had a 61-11 won-loss rounds record. The 1990’s were very good for John Force, his fans and his sponsors. The start of a new century showed familiar results for everyone driving a nito Funny Car; John Force extended his championship win streak to 8 in a row. Incredibly, he moved that number to 10 in a row with 2001 and 2002 titles. One of my favorite paint schemes used during the ’02 season was a look back at the early Tasca Ford cars.

It was the same color and had the Mystery numbers on the rear quarter panels. As a

of the car for sale at a motor sports collectors show. For the 2003 season, one of the Pedregon brothers, this time it was Tony, finished the season as the Funny Car champion. Force apparently wanted to let everyone know he was still a racer you didn’t want to be in a hurry to see in the other lane and was back on top for 2004, his 13th championship. Former Top Fuel driver Gary Scelzi finished the 2005 season as one of the few racers with championships in both nito categories. For the next 2 seasons John Force and Tony Pedregon alternated as champs, again. Cruz Pedregon helped maintain the families winning ways when he earned another Funny car title in 2008. The next season saw a member of John Force Racing, his son in law Robert Hight, with a first place finish. Ensuring JFR kept the championship in their camp, Force won, for the 15th time, in 2010. Don Schu-

macher Racing drivers Matt Hagan and “Fast” Jack Beckman won it all in 2011 and 2012. For 7 races during the 2013 season Beckman drove the very popular Mail For Wounded Warriors/Mail Terminal Services car. For the 2013 season, the Funny Car champion was, you guessed it, John Force. From their early days as A/FX cars to the current high tech machines, Funny Car continues to be one of the categories that will put fans in the seats. Top Fuel dragsters are quicker and faster but the fuel coupes are right up there in fan interest and support. From the body-up work the crews take care of behind the starting line before a burnout to the parachutes deploying to bring the car to a stop, these cars are unlike anything else in motor sports.

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reetings Wheels fans! Here's to spring and GameON! TV is excited to join you again! This issue of Wheels of Thunder gets it done as it continues to excite race fans with interesting stories and magnificent pictures. GameON! TV continues to grow & reach so many of you with our sports programming and we reach into the Dakota's and western Minnesota via MidCo Sports Network. As you know, GameON! loves sports, from the professional, college & high school sports to all the outdoor events that dot our regional landscape. GameON's partnership with Wheels of Thunder is strong and just like you, we also enjoy the most comprehensive race magazine and website to be found! Wheels of Thunder magazine is like no other, full of the great stories, fibrant pictures and information we need here in the region. Wheels of Thunder gets it and gets "you", THE most passionate motorsports fans in the country! GameON! broadcasts, each and every week, crystal clear full High Definition and if you miss us on TV, catch us on the go with our APP (it's free to for Apple & Android phones). GameON! TV is now offering a weekly PODCAST available @ our show website It's full of bits and pieces of sports from the region and what's ahead on our weekly TV show. GameON! still serves as the lead-in to the award winning FOX NFL pre game show on FOX's MY29 here in the Twin Cities during the NFL Season.

GameON! does what no other TV sports & entertainment interview show does. We offer a diverse and entertaining half hour of TV as we bring you the most visible and popular Minnesota sports figures. From the new look Vikings, to the WNBA Champion Lynx, the NBA Timberwolves, the NHL Wild, the Twins and we visit with the Lacrosse Swarm. There's NASCAR and we're all over your favorite drivers now that the summer season of racing approaches.

This show is interactive so we'd love to hear from you! Please visit our Facebook site (friend us @ GameON on facebook), our website @ and 24/7on twitter #gameontvmn. And we're always planning bigger and better shows at the best location, Bar Abilene in UPTOWN Minneapolis. You are always welcome to visit our live tapings and each week we list guests and updates on the GameON! website as well as our Facebook site. Get upclose and personal with us!! We also partner with the one of the largest Vikings fan sites in the world, I've said it before and I'm saying it again! Get off the couch and get your GameON! Be a part of the exciting effort we're putting on! Keep your GameON!

April 2014

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Wheels of Thunder April 2014  

Motorsports, Wheels, Wheels of thunder, Motor, Racing, Trucks, Mud trucks, Monster trucks, NASCAR, ISOC, Snocross, Terracross, Side by side...

Wheels of Thunder April 2014  

Motorsports, Wheels, Wheels of thunder, Motor, Racing, Trucks, Mud trucks, Monster trucks, NASCAR, ISOC, Snocross, Terracross, Side by side...