The 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals proved to be one of the most difficult races yet for the Sovereign-Star Racing Team and their drivers John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck this past weekend in Denver, Colo.
After tuning mishaps, a broken crankshaft, a missing wheelie bar bolt and clutch issues, the team's two Pro Stock Motorcycles only ended up getting a total of six good runs throughout the weekend. Luckily, one of those runs was enough to get Pollacheck in the show on Sunday, where he went on to win in Round 1 Eliminations.
"For the first qualifying run, we didn't realize that the new software on the bikes had a 100 percent barometer correction program enabled in it, so it ended up tuning all the fuel out of the bikes. It was a double correction, so it cost John and Scotty the first round," Star Racing owner George Bryce said.
"John was also having trouble getting the tire to spin in the burnout box because the concrete was very aggressive. Because of that, his clutch would creep at the line and cost him a couple of rounds, which kept him from qualifying. During the second round, Scotty broke a crankshaft, so we had to put a new engine in his bike for the third round," he said.
"During the last qualifying round, I was just getting ready to stage when George shut the bike off because he noticed that one of the wheelie bar bolts was missing. Thank goodness he did because that would've been disastrous," Pollacheck said.
After qualifying at No.11 with only one run, Pollacheck and the team worked hard to turn these challenges around in time for Sunday Eliminations.
"Qualifying gave us some good information for what we needed to go to as far as the tuneup," Pollacheck said. "Everything we had learned from those rounds we put into that Sunday pass and went 7.30 which was .05 faster than that 7.35 qualifying pass. We beat Steve Johnson again in Round 1 Eliminations."
After claiming his fifth round win of the season in Round 1 Eliminations, Pollacheck faced Andrew Hines on his Screamin' Eagle/Vance and Hines Harley-Davidson in Round 2 on Sunday.
"During the second round against Andrew Hines, we went a little left and kind of spun the tire again, and you definitely can't let stuff like that happen when you're racing one of the Harleys," Pollacheck said of his loss to Hines.
The Sovereign-Star Racing crew remains positive and patient with their overall progress during their first season as a Pro Stock Motorcycle team.
“I think we keep learning more and more with what the engines want and what they’ll take. One of the big things about the weekend is that we were actually closer to the Harleys and the Aranas than we’ve ever been. As far as the numbers, we’re getting closer to the leaders of the pack,” Pollacheck said.
Bryce said, “After being out of NHRA for three years, we came out to try a new season at the (NHRA Gatornationals). We got both bikes in the show but were about 1.5 to 2 tenths behind. Now, with seven races done and 38 runs with each bike and driver, the boys are driving better and we are working smarter.
“John, Scotty and I understand each other better and they are going straighter and shifting better. We’ve gained lots of power, and we are .05 to .08 behind now. We are gaining.
We have lots of folks helping us, and our program is steadily improving,” he said.
Hall said, “The great thing about it is that we still have a shot at getting in the Countdown. This thing isn’t over yet; we still have a few races left to move up in the points. One bad weekend isn’t going to change the forward progress that we’ve made so far this season. We’ll just have to dust ourselves off and get ready for Sonoma this weekend.”
The Sovereign-Star Racing Team will continue their western journey as they compete at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals on July 27-29 at Infineon RacewayinSonoma,Calif.
“I think this weekend in Sonoma with a good, sea-level track and no adverse weather conditions will make it a little easier on everyone. We won’t have these wild tuning calls to adjust for the weather so it will make it easier to get ready for runs,” Pollacheck said. “I’m also looking forward to this weekend because two of my kids will get to go, and they haven’t been to a national event before. They’ve seen me drive the KillaCycle and race my bike before, but they’ve never gotten to see me race Pro Stock.”
“We’re glad Jeno is staying for another race where the altitude won’t be such an issue. We really want him to see the progress we’ve made as a race team this season,” Bryce said.
“With every new race, you have to go into it with a fresh attitude and not let the past get to you. We’re constantly trying to learn from our mistakes and concentrate on not making the same ones twice. Hopefully, we can put that to good use in Sonoma this weekend,” Hall said.
The 2012 Sovereign-Star Racing Team is a partnership between Georgia-based Star Racing and the Hungarian-based Sovereign Racing Team, the 2011 UEM European Pro Stock Bike Championship Team, owned by sugar distributor Jeno Rujp.
The Sovereign-Star Racing Team would like to thank the following sponsors: Sovereign, Star Racing, S&S Cycle, Daytona Sensors, Worldwide Bearings, CP Pistons, Permatex, Americus Motorsports Complex, Who’s Up Next?, and Quality Tire.
Star Racing Online:
John Hall Fast Facts:
- From: Hamden, Connecticut
- Job: Real Estate Investor
- Years in racing: 16
Scotty Pollacheck Fast Facts:
- From: Medford, Oregon
- Job: Owns “Quality Tire” store
- Years in racing: 27
Star Racing Fast Facts:
- Based in Americus, Georgia
- Six-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Championships
- 78 NHRA national event wins with nine different riders
- Owned by George & Jackie Bryce
Sovereign Racing Team Fast Facts:
- Based in Budapest, Hungary
- 2011 European UEM Championship Team with rider Jesper Thiel
- Owned by Jeno Rujp
Star Racing/G2 Motorsports
Americus, GA. 31709
Tech & Information: 229 924-0031