Nitro-burning motorcycles are little more than carefully-curated highlight reels on wheels, and Top Fuel Harley rider Mike Pelrine ensured his class lived up to the billing during the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas this weekend as he wrestled his 220 mph bike and nearly lost in spectacular fashion.
The Saskatchewan, Alberta native entered the third and final qualifying session dead-last in the order with a slowing 11.11-second best to his credit in the two previous attempts and was down to one last make-it-or-break-it run to get in the show. Pelrine, instead, opted for both the make-it and break-it option, as the bike drifted to the centerline, causing him to take a wild evasive maneuver, nearly laying the 1,000-plus pound bike on its side at speed … but never lifting. And, somehow, he didn’t touch the centerline despite getting super-cozy with it, making his 6.44-second, 211.23 mph run — likely the most exciting 6.44-second run ever on a Top Fuel Harley — official, thus placing him in the field at number four.
“It was a heck of a ride,” Pelrine said. “The crew put on a great show to get the bike running that way and it was up to me to make sure I got it from point A to point B, and I was making sure I did that to get in the show.”
After checking the bike over following its high-speed grinding of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway racing surface, Pelrine advanced to the final round on Sunday afternoon, ultimately dropping the match to Jay Turner.