After a developmental season in 2009 that saw Tommy Bolton perform a major redesign of the chassis and engine on Glen Nickleberry’s funnybike, 2010 has started with a bang for the nationally famous pair. After a runner-up finish at the first PMRA race of the season, followed by a win in Tulsa, the Penn Jewelers sponsored team was ready for the back to back races at Thunder Valley Raceway on June 26-27.
“After many sleepless nights at our race shop fine tuning the new Tombo Racing turbo draw through nitrous system, we were feeling excited for this weekend” says Tommy Bolton. “With all the developmental challenges of 2009, we considered going back to our 2008 setup, which was consistently posting times in the 6.6 second range. However, we were running three stages of nitrous to reach those times and after extensive development of our new system, we are just now reaching those same times using only one stage of nitrous. We are excited about the potential of this new bike and it is much more reliable than our old bike.”
The last weekend in June at Thunder Valley Raceway turned into one of the hottest of the year so far, limiting top speeds and ET’s for everyone. With track temperatures approaching 140 degrees, finding traction was a major challenge of the funny bike competitors. “With such hot track conditions, the challenge wasn’t having enough motor to win, the challenge was getting the bike to hook up with the blistering track” explains Bolton. “I had to detune the bike to get it just to go down the track without wheelspin. The track was so hot that I was happy just to get 60 foot times in the 1.20 second range.” Despite the intense heat, Bolton’s experience at tuning for less than ideal track conditions allowed Nickleberry to earn the top qualifying spot for the weekend.
Once the racing started, the Penn Jewelers sponsored bike consistently turned ET’s in the 7.1 second range. “With the detuning of the motor to get the bike ho
oked up, it just acted l
ike a bracket bike” s
ays Bolton. “Glen was able to make consistent passes in the 7.1 second range through each round.”
As night approached for the finals, the track temperatures dropped to a more bearable 124 degrees. Nickleberry was up against the well prepared Kawasaki of Champ Wagner. “I didn’t retune the bike for the lower temps” says Bolton. “I just let the track come to us. I knew with better track conditions the bike would hook up even better. “ The finals proved Bolton right. Nickleberry ran the fastest ET of the weekend at 7.09 at 194 mph and won a close race with Wagner. “It felt good to be back on the top step of the podium” says Nickleberry. “2009 was a challenging year for us.”
Sunday was a makeup day from a previously postponed race, so once again the Tombo Racing team was faced with qualifying in the intense heat. Like the previous day, Nickleberry earned the top qualifying spot. “I knew the track was going to be hot again. We ran so good Saturday and I just left everything the same” said Bolton. Once again Nickleberry ended up in the finals, this time against Rod Mansaw’s Pro Mod Suzuki. It was an easy win for Nickleberry, since Mansaw’s Suzuki broke during the semifinals and was unable to start against Nickleberry’s Kawasaki. “All we had to do was coast down the track for the win” said Bolton. “We prefer to race for the win, but we will take a “W” any way we can get them.”
Two days of tough competition, two #1 qualifying spots and two wins – the Tombo Racing team is back in 2010 with a vengeance!
FAMILY AFFAIR RESTAURANT
Special thanks to Robert Vega with Turbo Parts and Technology for building us great turbochargers. Glad to have Robert back on board the Tombo Racing Team. Robert built the turbos for Nickleberry's bike when it first reached the 6.60 range.