Star Racing owner George Bryce, second row, left, poses with the staff of Master Body Works Thursday after presenting the Leesburg shop a national award for work they did to design motorcycles and apparel.
LEESBURG — Kevin Haase sat in his living room late Sunday night and waited.
And waited and waited ...
ESPN’s coverage of the Little League World Series pushed back the weekly episode of NHRA racing, forcing Haase to stay up until 2:30 a.m.
But the general manager of Leesburg’s Master Body Works wasn’t going to miss the show for anything.
After all, those are his custom paint jobs flying down the track at nearly 200 mph.
Haase finally caught a glimpse of the two motorcycles that he recently painted for Star Racing owner George Bryce — the same two bikes that recently helped the team win the 2012 Best Appearing Crew Award, which is given to just one of approximately 400 national entries each race.
On Thursday, Bryce presented Haase and his crew at Master Body Works a Wally trophy — drag racing’s most prestigious award — for their work customizing the team’s motorcycles.
“People race their whole life for a Wally,” Haase said. “For us to literally paint our first NHRA bike and get a trophy like this is incredible.”
The color scheme — a blend of yellow, red and blue — was created to reflect the partnership between Star Racing and the European team Sovereign Racing.
“The award was for the best appearing crew, which goes deeper than just the bikes,” Haase said. “It’s about the shirts and how they present themselves, and his 18-wheeler has the same color scheme. It’s really cool. When you see that truck, you expect bikes like that to come out.”
Bryce and Haase have worked together for years, so Bryce knew exactly where to turn when he decided to re-enter the world of NHRA after taking a three-year hiatus.
“They are really, really good at doing this body work and making these custom parts,” Bryce said. “We have done several motorcycle projects together, and I think they did a great job blending the colors on the bike and the shirts.”
Bryce, who opened Star Racing in 1979 and began racing in the NHRA in 1984, has had tremendous success at the national level, winning 78 events and six championships.
He left the NHRA for Eurupe in 2009 because of some rule changes and watched his bikes win six of seven races and a championship in the European Motorcycle Union for the Sovereign Racing team.
The same 2010 Buell XB12R motorcycles that won the championship in Europe were transported to Star Racing’s shop and Bryce chose John Hall and Scott Pollacheck — both graduates of Bryce’s drag racing school in Gainesville, Fla. — were chosen to ride the bikes this year.
Pollacheck (6th) and Hall (11th) are fighting for spots in the Top 10 of the NHRA Full Throttle Championship point standings with one race left before the field is narrowed down to 10 for the final six races of the season.
“We have a lot of long-time guys at Star Racing,” Bryce said. “One of the guys has been there 27 years and another has been there 25 years. Other guys have been there 20 years and 15 years, so we have a long-time crew there, and they need to get credit for getting us this far. Because we have all done this together.”