News & Updates

Lower your Harley-Davidson the “EZ” way

lowered harley-davidson softail ez rider kit

For some, it’s about adding some more functionality to their bike. Others just want extra support for their passengers. However, for many it’s just about that sweet, sweet low-rider look. You can do it the hard way, or the “EZ” way.

 

No matter the reason for lowering your Harley-Davidson motorcycle, EZ Rider Motorcycle Air Shocks provide the ultimate solution.

How EZ Rider Air Shocks glide past the competition



The EZ Rider Motorcycle Air Shocks feature an exclusive design that puts it head and shoulders against other lowering kits. For example, Strutmasters has fitted a custom rubber bump stop. This eliminates the harsh “bounce” that you typically get when air shocks are completely “down.”

 

The additional shock travel comes with more benefits. Shorter riders can jump on the bike more easily by lowering the bike. Taller riders can get a more comfortable ride by raising it. Best yet, controlling these air shocks is so, so simple. They’re operated with just the push of a button.

One of the biggest benefits of the EZ Rider suspension system is the added support it gives passengers. The air shocks provide a little extra lift off the ground to keep the rear ride from being too bouncy.

“EZ” to install, too!


A lot of engineering went into making sure EZ Rider shocks are easy to install. If you’re at all handy with a wrench and have a little bit of time, installation should be a breeze!

Each kit comes with ultra-high-density poly bushings that are designed specifically for your Harley. No adjustments needed. To make things even easier, each kit comes packaged with detailed installation instructions. However, if that’s not enough for you, we even have a host of online videos to guide you through.

 

Designed, tuned, and tested just for motorcycles, you won’t find a better lowering option than the  complete EZ Rider Motorcycle Air Shock System. These kits are proudly made in the USA by Strutmasters, the industry-leading family-owned “Suspension Experts” for more than 20 years.

graphic with benefits of ez rider air shocks

WATCH: Audrey Worm talks about her experience in Bristol

Audrey Worm talks about her race at Bristol to Strutmasters.com

Strutmasters.com Top Fuel driver Audrey Worm continued her rise to prominence in Bristol. Though she drew a tough first-round matchup in former world champion Antron Brown, she put down a good clean run at one of the season’s biggest events.

Worm explained that even though she didn’t win her round, the competition brought out the best in her.

“I definitely had to be on my A game with Antron,” said Worm. “He is killer on the light and all I kept telling myself was, ‘Just don’t red light but try to tree him.’ It was actually my personal best light. It was a 96 and normally they’re about 180 so I was happy with that. We had a good run.”
Worm has seen her profile rise quickly recently.

Audrey Worm star on the rise

She won her first round win at the 2019 NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Soon after, she laid down a three-second pass at the Virginia Nationals in Richmond. Soon after, she picked up support from Strutmasters, wearing the logo for the first time in Bristol.

Perhaps the biggest news to come out of Worm’s camp, however, is that she plans on taking over ownership of the team by the start of the 2020 season. She would be one of just a few women to own a professional racing outfit.

Watch her talk about her Bristol performance here:

Strutmasters racing well represented at Thunder Valley in Bristol

Strutmasters.com owner and founder Chip Lofton checks Audrey Worm's car before a race.

Strutmasters.com was well represented during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals June 14-16 at one of the most scenic stops on the NHRA trail — historic Bristol Dragway nestled in the mountains of eastern Tennessee countryside.

Strutmasters.com newest driver Audrey Worm

Audrey Worm of  Grantville PA qualified 13th in the Strutmasters.com Top Fuel Dragster from the shops of Leverich Family Racing.  This left her with a first-round match up with fourth-fastest qualifier Antron Brown, a former NHRA champion with 50 Top Fuel victories.

Worm had a solid reaction time of .096 seconds at the start, but Brown got the advantage with a .064-second RT and won with a pass at 3.863 seconds and 318.24 miles an hour.  Worm averted a skirmish with the wall on the bumpy Bristol track and pulled out a 4.082-second run.  She hit a top speed of 271.79 miles an hour before shutting it down early in the 1000-foot race.

“We found some things after that run and I know we can go a lot faster,” said Worm during an autograph session with throngs of fans in attendance.  “We are encouraged that our time would have been good enough to win in several of the other first round matchups, but you have to give Antron and his team credit.  Proud of all our Strutmasters.com team.  They did an awesome job.  We are knocking on the door of winning some rounds.”

Mike Salinas of San Jose, CA topped reigning series champion Steve Torrence of Longview, TX in the Top Fuel event finals at Bristol.  Salinas hit 325.69 miles an hour, completing the final pass in 3.836 seconds.

Johnny Pluchino makes his 1/4 mile debut

Second generation driver Johnny Pluchino made his quarter-mile debut in the Strutmaster.com Ford Mustang in an exhibition of Mountain Motor Pro Stock cars at Bristol.  The Mountain Motor cars are hence named for their massive engines – ranging from 818 to 840 inches of cubic displacement.  The regular NHRA Pro Stock Class features engines at 500 cid.

Pluchino qualified third in a stellar field at Bristol with a quarter-mile pass at 6.364 seconds, just over 220 miles an hour.   The New York native had a mechanical issue just seconds prior to his first elimination run that prevented him from showing his hand.

“We were so disappointed for all the folks at Strutmasters.com,” said Pluchino.  “We were extremely happy with how consistent the car was in qualifying.  We ran 220 miles an hour both times we completed a run.  As it turned out, that would have been fast enough to be in the hunt for a victory here today.”

The 2018 PDRA Pro Outlaw 632 World Champion added:  “We learned a ton of things this weekend.  Once we get it all put together, we are confident we can be a factor at this level.”

Virginia driver Todd Hoerner prevailed in the Mountain Motor Pro Stock event at Bristol with a pass at 6.425 seconds at 219.36 miles an hour.

The “Nitro Granny” shows support for her Strutmasters family

The Nitro Granny, Janette Thornley of Statesville, was in attendance at Bristol, but did not participate in the Top Fuel Harley event for the fastest motorcycles that race in NHRA.

“Just here learning and gathering as many details as we can,” said Thornley, who is seeking to become the first female rider in the Top Fuel Harley class with backing from Strutmasters.com.  “We’re going to continue chasing wins on our Pro Fuel bike and test some with the Top Fuel bike.  The Top Fuel bikes are 25 to 30 miles an hour faster, but I look forward to the challenge.”

Til Tharpe of East Bend, NC, prevailed at Bristol in the Top Fuel Harley class with a run at 6.426 seconds and 218.90 miles an hour.

Johnny Pluchino ready to take on NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock

johnny pluchino drives a strutmasters.com ford mustang

Just a little more than a month after his surprise Extreme Pro Stock debut at the PDRA North-South Shootout in Maryland, Johnny Pluchino has his sights set on the NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock field. The second-generation driver will make his quarter-mile debut in the Mountain Motor Pro Stock exhibition rounds at the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, June 14-16.

Pluchino, the son of 2016 PDRA Extreme Pro Stock world champion John Pluchino, will drive his father’s Strutmasters.com ‘13 Ford Mustang at Bristol Speedway.

“This is a really big race for us,” said Pluchino. “There’s so many things going into this race. I’m preparing for it like it’s one of the biggest races of my life because it might be.”

Johnny Pluchino earns his spot

Pluchino got the opportunity to enter the Extreme Pro Stock competition after several test runs in the Strutmasters.com Mustang at the PDRA Virginia race. He was notified of the decision just hours before qualifying races began. Once he accepted the opportunity, he qualified at No. 4.

“I was actually a little torn,” said Pluchino. “I’ve been waiting to get in that car for, realistically, the last three years. I was also torn because my dad was the points leader going into that race and he pulled himself out of the championship hunt to allow me to race. From the team standpoint and as my father’s son, I was upset, but as the driver about to get in this awesome Pro Stock car, I was happy. My emotions were going in both directions, but at that point I understood why my dad made the decision he made. It was a long-term decision and I’m really grateful for it. It was a very unselfish decision and it got me a little more prepared to go to the quarter mile come Bristol.”

Not Johnny Pluchino’s first time around at Bristol

However, this won’t be Pluchino’s first race at Bristol. He actually competed nearly 15 years ago. At that time, he was racing in a Junior Dragster at the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League’s Eastern Conference Finals. He’ll now have the chance to compete in a championship-level vehicle.

“Bristol is a very exciting track with a lot of history, especially in Mountain Motor Pro Stock,” Pluchino said. “It’s a beautiful facility, but it also presents its challenges. We’re excited to go there and to face these challenges. I’m excited for this race because of the history of the track and being able to say I raced Pro Stock at an NHRA race after racing Jr. Dragsters there years ago, but I’m more focused on what we have to do to make sure we’re successful.”

Getting support from Strutmasters.com

It wasn’t until signing a partnership with Chip Lofton and his Strutmasters.com brand that the Pluchino Racing Team decided to dive into the NHRA Mountain Pro Stock field. Lofton, who started the suspension manufacturing company in 1999, has been adding pieces to his racing portfolio. He signed a partnership with Pluchino earlier this year, providing the team with financial support and brand support. Lofton and others from Strutmasters will be at the Thunder Valley Nationals. There, they will support The Pluchino Racing team as well as several other teams which they sponsor.

“Honestly, we wouldn’t be at this Bristol race if it wasn’t for Chip’s support,” Pluchino said. “It will be nice to have Chip there and it gives us a little more motivation to come out on top and get a trophy. It would be awesome to be in the final round and be able to hold the trophy in the winner’s circle with my dad, my crew and my sponsor.”

Johnny Pluchino and the Strutmasters.com Mountain Motor Pro Stock team will make qualifying runs on Friday and Saturday. The eliminations are set for Sunday.

Ever dream of having your name on a Top Fuel racer? Here’s your chance.

audrey worm racing for strutmasters.com

After getting a big boost from Strutmasters.com, Audrey Worm is looking to add a few more names to her car. Could one of them be yours?

We are offering racing fans a unique chance to be a part of Audrey Worm’s racing team. For $200, you can sponsor the exciting up-and-coming driver. Millions of people will see your name on national television this weekend at the NHRA Thundervalley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee.

Clicking this button will take you directly to Audrey Worm Racing’s PayPal account, where you can make the payment. Please include any instructions for the text in the “message” field.

Audrey Worm making a name for herself

Last season, Worm competed on in a limited number of NHRA Mello Yello Series. She finished 18th overall in the points standings.

Worm’s team is made up of all volunteers and she uses second-hand parts from other teams. In the early stages of her career she has shown remarkable heart and fortitude behind the wheel.

Her goal at Bristol is to make three qualifying runs and at least one semi final run.

This season, she is looking to continue her rise. To do so, she is breaking new ground in fan interaction. In addition to the name sponsorship opportunity, Worm is also offering fans a new way to keep in touch.

For the 2019 run, Audrey Worm Racing has a dedicated SMS system to send content and unique fan opportunities direct to her fans’ phones.

In addition to news and exclusive behind-the-scenes content, subscribers will be entered to win weekend ticket packages. These drawings will happen for every race in which Audrey Worm Racing competes. Winners will also be a special guest in the team’s pits.

Fans will also be offered subscriber-only deals from team sponsors and Audrey Worm Racing merchandise.

Audrey Worm Racing fans just need to text ‘RACEFAN’ to 555888 to join the team.

Look: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 Chevy on display

As if the Carolina Collector Auto Fest wasn’t exciting enough, Strutmasters had another trick up its sleeve during the weekend of May 17-19.

As guests walked into the Livin’ the Dream Cafe, they were greeted by a car driven by one of NASCAR’s most beloved drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Jr. doesn’t need any introduction for anyone with even a passing familiarity with NASCAR. In addition to his own illustrious career, Earnhardt Jr. bears the namesake of perhaps the sport’s most legendary driver.

Buying Earnhardt Jr’s car an easy decision

Strutmasters founder and owner Chip Lofton said the decision to buy the vehicle was a no-brainer.

“When you get a chance at something like this it’s hard to pass it up,” said Lofton. “Dale Jr. is an icon of racing, just like his father. When you love racing as much as we do and as much as our customers do, you just have to go for it.”

Earnhardt Jr. drove this particular number 88 Chevy just once before donating it. Since then, the car has been on display across the country. This has allowed racing fans a view inside the cockpit.

Reactions from the CCAF

Guests of the Carolina Collector Auto Fest were ecstatic to see the famous #8 car driven by “The Pied Piper of Daytona.”

“It’s really cool to see Dale Jr.’s car up close and personal like this,” said David Straughan, a CCAF attendee. “Normally on TV these cars are going so fast you don’t really get a good look at them. I am also surprised to see how simple they are on the inside.”

Acquiring a legendary driver’s race car is just another in a series of moves Strutmasters has made to build up their racing credentials. The company is quickly becoming a well-recognized name among fans of the sport.

Chad Finley is back and “super happy” to be part of the Strutmasters team

chad-finley-racing

Chad Finley returned to action at the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series after nearly seven weeks away from racing. Finley finished 15th at the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Before the race, Finley expressed his eagerness to get on the track.

“It feels like forever since I’ve been back in the Truck Series,” said Finley. “So I’m eager to get to the track this week and get down to business,”

Finley secures crucial marketing partnerships

After securing a number of marketing partners, the Michigan native has taken the wheel of the Chad Finley Racing (CFR) team’s No. 42 Chevrolet Silverado. The North Carolina Education Lottery 200 was his second race of the season.

Finley credited his sponsors for making everything possible.

“I’m super happy to have the support of Strutmasters.com, Air Lift Company and Auto Value Certified Service Centers a part of my Charlotte debut.”

Right at home in Charlotte

Charlotte was an ideal location for Finley to make his return. Charlotte Motor Speedway is just a quick 45-minute drive from the Chad Finley Racing team headquarters in Mooresville, NC. The race presented a solid opportunity for Finley & Co. to get back in the water.

“Everyone wants to run well at Charlotte, including us,” added Finley. “It’s important race because it’s in the backyard of where a lot of the teams are based, and the race certainly draws a lot of attention for those reasons. But for us, we want to draw attention for ourselves this weekend with our on-track performance and not necessarily where we come from.”

Finley made sure to credit his crew’s role in readying the truck for the upcoming races.

“Bruce and the guys have worked methodically on our No. 42 Strutmasters.com | Air Lift Company | Auto Value Certified Service Centers Chevrolet Silverado to make sure we can go out there and be competitive. A top-10 run would certainly feel like a victory for us and give us some much-needed momentum into the summer.”

Shortened season for the best

Chad Finley is the son of former NASCAR driver and ARCA winner Jeff Finley. The elder Finley now serves as team principal.

Although outside circumstances caused the team to adjust their expectations for the Truck Series this season, Jeff Finley said that the decision to skip some events was for the best.

“We’ve could have gone out and run every race this season,” explained the elder Finley. “But it would not have been up to the standard we set forth every time we leave the shop and head to the race track.”

“Chad Finley Racing prides itself on putting competitive equipment with an opportunity to run up front,” he continued. “Now, that we’re able to pick and choose our races and we’re confident in our capabilities and look forward to the chance to showcase that not only at Charlotte but in future races no matter who is behind the wheel.”

A whole host of new sponsors

The team was able to secure primary marketing partnerships with Auto Value Certified Service Centers, Air Lift Company and Strutmasters.com for the race.

Strutmasters has been an industry leader in suspension parts and air to non-air suspension conversion kits since 1999. The company has recently been aggressively expanding its racing partnership portfolio.
Finley’s team also earned support from Northsidetowing.net and XLT Engineering as well for the race in Charlotte.

After a top 15 finish, it would appear that Chad Finley is back and ready for more action.

Look: Carolina Collector Auto Fest Gallery

By all accounts the 2019 Spring Carolina Collector Auto Fest was a smash success.

Car owners got to show off their prized automobiles, and some even made a sale. Unlike many car collector shows, the Carolina Collector Auto Fest was not limited to cars of a certain era or type.

Everyone’s Welcome at the Carolina Collector Auto Fest

Everyone was welcome. The result was a vibrant mix of cars and people and a little something for everyone.

Guests from near and far enjoyed browsing an outstanding collection of classic automobiles along with food, music and plenty of fun.

Vendors also had a huge presence at the show, with all sorts of interesting car parts, folk art and brand paraphernalia.

A Great Day for Everyone

All in all, it was a great day for all in attendance. Some folks made some money, others won some prizes. However, nobody walked away with an empty stomach thanks to all the delicious food options on site!

The Strutmasters team is already gearing up for the next one this fall. Stay tuned here to be the first to know any new information!

Check the gallery below to see some of our favorite photos from the Spring 2019 Carolina Collector Auto Fest!

Carolina Collector Auto Fest Gallery

All photos by David C. Straughan for Strutmasters, LLC.

Janette Thornley earns Strutmasters.com sponsorship

janette-thornley-strutmasters

World Championship Pro Fuel rider Janette Thornley spent much of the previous offseason lining up sponsors for her 2019 season. All that work paid off as she announced she would partnering with Strutmasters.com.

Winning Ways

Thornley has been prolific winner in her time in motorcycle racing. Following a three-year streak of championships, Thornley quit her corporate day job. Since then, she has focused full time on racing and has opened her own racing outfit

The Oregon native most recently captured a title in 2017. She won both the American Drag Racing League Pro Fuel Championships and the American Motorcycle Racing Association. Thornley won the NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series Pro Fuel Championships in 2015 and 2016.

Why Strutmasters?

Thornley is part of Strutmasters’ growing portfolio of sponsored drivers. The North Carolina-based suspension replacement company has backed several high-profile drivers, like the NHRA’s Clay Millican and Johnny Pluchino. Company founder Chip Lofton took an interest in Thornley when he saw her compete in Gainesville.

“I saw something in Janette the day I met her in Gainesville,” said Lofton. “We have the same values and passions; chasing dreams, so I believe we have an exciting future together!”

The excitement has been mutual between the two. Thornley expressed her enthusiasm in a recent interview.

“I am honored to be selected by Chip Lofton of Strutmasters.com to represent his company through our racing program,” Janette said. “With my love for motorcycling, Chip’s love for racing, and our North Carolina base, this couldn’t be a better fit!”

Looking Ahead

Thornley is set to compete in 11 events during this season in both the AMRA and Manufactures Cup series. Her run starts in Bowling Green, Kentucky and finishes up in Valdosta, Georgia.

The Strutmasters blog will continue to follow Janette as she strives for another trophy to put up on her mantle. You can also follow her on her on her Facebook page.

Janette Thornley Career Highlights

2017 American Motorcycle Racing Association Pro Fuel Champion

2017 American Drag Racing League Pro Fuel Championship

2017 American Motorcycle Racing Association Lady Racer of the Year

2016 NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series Pro Fuel Champion

2016 Female Racer Of The Year By Horse Power & Heels

2015 NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series Pro Fuel Champion