Team Latus Top Fuel – Las Vegas, NV – 2009

Well coming off the win and championship from the AHDRA we were looking forward to going to the Las Vegas WHRA / NHRA race the first weekend of November. Our goal was to use this for a test and tune for next year for a completely different clutch setup. We all arrived on Thursday and were supposed to get 2 test passes. The NHRA was running behind so we were told we would only get 1. We took a guess on the clutch and tune-up. I was expecting the bike to spin the tire right at the hit. Just the opposite, it hooked up very hard and about 60’ out I was heading toward the centerline. I was fighting it hard and was trying hard to hold on to the 330’ to get that time. I made it past then crossed the center and took out the 1/8th mile cone. We did get the 330’ time and it was very good. We made one small adjustment for the first qualifying pass the next day. Our pass was a 6.31 @ 221 mph. This qualified us for # 1. Phil Schmidt was # 2 with 6.39  Everyone else “13 bikes” were after mike Romine’s 6.44. The second pass we made a very small change and went a 6.299 @ 225 mph. Phil did no improve and Mike went 6.43.  3rd qualifying pass we went 6.37 and everyone else slowed as well. The 4th and final pass we went 6.248 and no else improved. We ended up #1 qualifier and with the 6.24 we set the Las Vegas et track record for Top Fuel Harley as well as the WHRA et record. The first round of eliminations we had a buy and decided to try to better the record. We added way to much and spun the tire. I was able to get out in time and roll back in and ran a 6.7  the next round we had Breckenridge and so we backed down to what we hoped would be a high 6.3 or a low 6.4. We ran a 6.39 to his 6.7. Second round we just left it alone. Damien was running mid 6.40s. I actually got a bad light to his great light but again we ran a 6.39 for the win. In the finals we had Mike Romine. He had qualified and ran low 6.40s all weekend. We knew the air was going to be better so we decided to just leave everything alone. I had to cut a good light. I had a .035 to Mikes .040. By about 150’ he was slowly going behind me and I never saw him again. We ran a 6.36 @ 221 mph for the win. It was a great way to finish a great year. I have to thank the crew Mike Slonaker, Mike Stegmann and Sonny Burres. This is only possible with everyone’s help. I want to thank George Latus and Team Latus Motors for all the help and sticking with us while we figured it out. I also want to thank Dan Baisley for the continued work on all the heads that enable us to run these numbers.

Below is a new press release from AHDRA.

Steve Dorn Takes AHDRA National Championship in Screamin’ Eagle Top Fuel

Steve Dorn from Milwaukie, OR, riding for Team Latus Motors Harley-Davidson, captured the ultimate title of Screamin’ Eagle National Top Fuel Champion.

Dorn remarked, “Well, it has been a long six years in Top Fuel; this is a very tough class if not the toughest. Any championship in most any class is tough. If you have 16 bikes qualify in Top Fuel even the number 16 guy has a chance of winning the race. It is very hard to win even one race in this class, let alone a championship. I think that everyone in Top Fuel will agree with this.”

“After my crash in 2006 I feel that this is the final step in the comeback. These last two years have been very close in points for the top five or six teams. Last year we went into the finals in second place, then ended up in first because Conner did not qualify. We got beat in the first round, though, and ended up in third place. This year going into the season finals in second place, I felt it was going to be even more of a challenge. We did not qualify as well as we wanted to, but we were able to step it up on Sunday when it mattered the most. We did not need to win the race to get the championship-we had it by just going one more round than Turner, who went out in the semis-but winning made for a very complete season and a great way to end the year.”

“Being from Oregon we have had to travel a lot of miles these last few years. It has been tough on everyone. I have to thank my crew: Mike Slonaker, Mike Stegmann, Digger, and Sonny. Everyone gives 100% and donates a lot of personal time and effort. It takes a good team to be able to compete in this sport and I feel we have one of the best. I need to thank George Latus and Team Latus Harley-Davidson for the continued support. Team Latus Motors has made this all possible.”

When asked if he was going to retire from racing now that he has achieved a national championship, Dorn stated, “I am not retiring from Top Fuel, and with just a little help we plan to be back next year to defend our title.”

Thanks to all who have supported us all the years