NHRA: Pro Stock Motorcycle Results from Virginia Nationals

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

NHRA Mello Yellow drag racing series

Virginia NHRA Nationals
Virginia Motorsports Park
June 8-10, 2018

Pro Stock Motorcycle

Tonglet earned his first victory of the season in Pro Stock Motorcycle, using a 6.841 at 196.76 on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to take down points leader Andrew Hines in the finals.

“Getting this win was huge, especially going against a Harley-Davidson bike because we know they are always going to be tough to beat,” Tonglet said. “Our bike is just flying and is fun to ride right now.”

After qualifying fifth, he bested John Hall, defending champion Eddie Krawiec, and No. 1 qualifier Hector Arana Jr. to notch the win.

Hines now has three runner-up appearances on the season, as he still chases his first win of the year.

The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn. from June 15-17.

Click here to view our weekend photo gallery by Kenneth Charlton

Eliminations Round 1

The only upset (based on seeding, of course) in the first round came at the hands of Angie Smith, who delivered a blow to Steve Johnson on her Denso Spark Plugs bike. Her 6.9-second run won’t get her lane choice against pole-sitter Hector Arana Jr. in the second round, but it gets her a chance to unseat him nonetheless. All other top seeds advanced, including Arana, who ran the quickest e.t. of the session (6.867). The only other bike in the same area code was Matt Smith (6.874). Smith will race Jerry Savoie (6.881) in a battle between the most recent race winner and the 2016 champ.

Eliminations Round 2

Nobody stood much of a chance against No. 1 qualifier Hector Arana Jr., least of all Angie Smith, who went about 20 feet before losing power. Arana powered to the best run of the round with a 6.849 and will meet LE Tonglet with lane choice in hand. That doesn’t put too much fear into Tonglet, who sent defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Eddie Krawiec home by a narrow margin on the back of a 6.871 lap. On the other side of the ladder is a pair of former world champs: Andrew Hines and Matt Smith, the latter of whom is the most recent winner on tour.

Eliminations Round 3

LE Tonglet muscled his way past Hector Arana Jr. with his best run of the weekend. The Nitro Fish rider powered to a 6.846 and secured lane choice over Andrew Hines, who got by a red-lighting Matt Smith.

That means there will be a new winner (for this season, anyway) crowned at the 2018 Virginia NHRA Nationals. Hines entered the day as the higher qualified bike, but Tonglet as gradually improved as the day has gone on. That should make for a close race between two former champions. Tonglet runnered up in the last race on tour, the JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals, but came up short against Smith. The Louisiana native has been on the upswing since rejoining White Alligator Racing and is looking to get back into the winner’s circle for the first time since St. Louis.

 

Eliminations Final

LE Tonglet, near lane, snagged his first win of the season in his second final of 2018. He hammered the tree with a .006 reaction time, but it won’t go down as a holeshot because the Nitro Fish Suzuki rider beat Andrew Hines down the strip by .007 second. Tonglet beat Hines in his last win, too, when the duo faced off in St. Louis in 2017. It’s the sixth time in eight tries Tonglet has defeated Hines in final rounds.

Eliminations Round 1
LANEDRIVERRT60 FT330 FT660 FT660 FT MPH1000 FTETMPH
WINAngie Smith0.0231.0562.8564.393158.525.7446.9193.9
Steve Johnson0.0621.0822.8994.444158.545.7936.948193.52
1:30 p.m. - Weather conditions: air temperature 85 degrees, relative humidity 62 percent, barometer 29.71 inches, adjusted altitude 2,940 feet, track temperature 129 degrees. Johnson has six wins and four losses against Angie Smith in prior competition. Seven of their prior meetings were in the first round and Johnson won four of them. Smith got off the starting line first and led this race all the way to take the win.
WINJerry Savoie0.0681.0512.8654.395159.895.7346.881194.63
Jim Underdahl0.021.0892.9184.463158.115.826.98193.16
Savoie and Underdahl have raced each other six times before this race, with Savoie winning five of the six. Underdahl was first off the starting line and led the race for 60 feet. After that, Savoie got by him and pulled away for the win.
John Hall0.0391.0742.9034.447158.655.7976.956191.97
WINLE Tonglet0.0491.0542.8684.402159.635.746.886195.08
Tonglet and Hall have meet six times before this, with Hall winning five of those races. Hall was first out of the gate but could not hold the lead. Tonglet got by him within 60 feet and pulled away for the win.
Mark Paquette-0.0861.0812.9134.458158.595.8066.962193.38
WINEddie Krawiec0.0291.1062.9114.446159.145.7896.935195.28
Krawiec raced Paquette in the first round at Charlotte last September and won that race. It is the only time they have raced each other before this. Paquette lit the red light so Krawiec got the win. Krawiec will race Tonglet in the next round and Tonglet will have lane choice.
Kelly Clontz0.081.1022.9274.485156.485.8497.013192.63
WINHector Arana Jr0.0531.072.874.401160.15.7346.867198.09
This is the fifth start of Clontz's career and her second this season. She faces Arana, Jr. in the fall Charlotte race last year and lost. Throughout his career, Arana Jr. has won the event five of the seven times he qualified number one. Arana had this race from start to finish. He'll have lane choice over Angie Smith in the second round.
WINMatt Smith0.051.0552.8564.391159.425.7296.874195.51
Cory Reed0.0341.082.9054.453157.745.8146.982191.65
This is only the third time Matt Smith and Reed have raced each other. The two previous times were in 2016 and Smith won both races. Reed was quicker off the starting line but the lead did not last 60 feet. Smith took the lead right away and pulled away for the win. Smith will have lane choice over Savoie in the next round.
Hector Arana0.051.0952.9174.453159.555.7986.95194.52
WINAndrew Hines0.0371.0632.8544.393158.995.7386.885195.19
Andrew Hines has 21 wins and 7 losses to Arana in previous competition. This is only the eighth time they've raced each other in the first round. Hines won four of their previous seven first round meetings. Hines was first out of the gate and never looked back.
Joey Gladstone0.0311.0522.8754.429157.595.7896.955191.62
WINScotty Pollacheck0.0241.0542.874.417158.485.776.936191.43
Pollacheck and Gladstone have raced each other twice before this event. Pollacheck won both those races. Pollacheck was first out of the gate and easily took this race. He'll race Hines in the next round and Hines will have lane choice.
Eliminations Round 2
LANEDRIVERRT60 FT330 FT660 FT660 FT MPH1000 FTETMPH
Eddie Krawiec0.0341.062.8444.378158.865.7246.875194.94
WINLE Tonglet0.0331.052.8614.3911605.7276.871195.45
3:49 p.m. - Weather conditions: air temperature 84 degrees, relative humidity 67 percent, barometer 29.65 inches, adjusted altitude 2,913 feet, track temperature 115 degrees. Tonglet got out of the gate 0.001 seconds before Krawiec but Krawiec had the lead at 330 feet. Tonglet started to close the gap but Krawiec still led at 660 feet and 1,000 feet. After that, Tonglet edged ahead to take the win. LE Tonglet's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.011), 330 ft(-0.016), 660ft(-0.012), 1,000ft(-0.002). MOV: 0.0057 seconds (approximately 20 inches).
Scotty Pollacheck0.0331.0492.8734.423158.325.7756.933193.02
WINAndrew Hines0.0351.0542.8424.375159.765.7146.859195.08
Pollacheck got off the starting line first and led at 60 feet. After that, it was Hines all the way and he'll be back for the next round.
WINMatt Smith0.0381.0542.8564.396158.765.746.888194.86
Jerry Savoie0.1041.0512.8734.417158.545.7676.927192.33
Smith was quicker at the starting line and quicker to the finish line to take the win. He'll race Andrew Hines in the next round and Hines will have lane choice.
Angie Smith0.0311.0643.2576.09176.679.29212.57164.41
WINHector Arana Jr0.0391.0582.8524.379160.335.7136.849197.65
Smith was quicker off the starting line but backed off the throttle and sat up just past the 330 foot marker. Arana will have lane choice over Tonglet in the next round.
Eliminations Round 3
LANEDRIVERRT60 FT330 FT660 FT660 FT MPH1000 FTETMPH
Matt Smith-0.0351.0652.8694.408159.085.7466.89195.82
WINAndrew Hines0.0371.0892.8934.436158.715.786.926195.48
4:56 p.m. - Weather conditions: air temperature 86 degrees, relative humidity 60 percent, barometer 29.64 inches, adjusted altitude 3,095 feet, track temperature 124 degrees. Smith lit the red light so Hines will be moving on to the final round. He'll be going to the final round for the third time this season and the 84th time in his career.
WINLE Tonglet0.0311.0552.8584.38161.275.7056.84196.96
Hector Arana Jr0.0561.1012.9464.492159.045.8346.976196.59
Tonglet was quicker out of the gate and sped away to take the win. He'll have lane choice over Hines in the final round. This will be Tonglet's second final round this season. He was runner-up in his one prior attempt this season. He has a 16-7 record in his 23 prior final round appearances of his career.
Eliminations Round 4
LANEDRIVERRT60 FT330 FT660 FT660 FT MPH1000 FTETMPH
WINLE Tonglet0.0061.0522.8564.378161.115.7056.841196.76
Andrew Hines0.0291.0672.8514.375160.675.7076.848196.22
5:49 p.m. - Weather conditions: air temperature 88 degrees, relative humidity 54 percent, barometer 29.62 inches, adjusted altitude 3,162 feet, track temperature 127 degrees. Tonglet got off the starting line more quickly than Hines and stayed out in front to take the win. This was Tonglet's first win of the season and 17th in his career.

NHRA NOTEBOOK

Kelly Clontz qualified for the second race of her career with a 6.969-second pass in the fourth and final qualifying session. The Pro Stock Motorcycle rookie nestled into the No. 16 qualifying position just ahead of fellow rookie Ryan Oehler (6.996), Karen Stoffer (7.017), and Ron Tornow (7.027).

Her gain came at the expense of Angelle Sampey, who failed to qualify for just the third time in her career and the second week in a row. This is just the second DNQ for Sampey that did not involve an injury that prevented the future Hall of Fame racer from competing and continues a string of bad luck.

“I didn’t want to post another DNQ so soon,” Sampey said. “But, the silver lining is Ken [Johnson], Derrell [Mullis], and I now can go testing before Norwalk together and get this bike all sorted out and on the right path.”

A tough break for Sampey provides an opportunity for Clontz to take on a tough customer in Hector Arana Jr., who surged to the top of the field on his Lucas Oil TV EBR. Arana ran a 6.795 in the second qualifying session and owns lane choice over the rookie, who is looking for her first career round win. Clontz plans to run the whole schedule and will chase the Auto Club Road to the Future Award, which honors the top rookie each season.

 

Joey Gladstone made an incredible run to start the season at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, but his season since then has left something to be desired. He qualified third at the Gators but lost in the first round, a trend that has continued through every race following the season-opener for the two-wheel class.

“We’re learning what the bike wants and what it doesn’t want,” said Gladstone. “The motor is fresh and it’s still breaking in. We were close on the tune up on the first lap. The front half was spot on, and we kinda fell off on the back half.”

The front half of the run was paced by one of the best 60-foot times of the entire season. His 1.046 put him a little off the incredible pace set by Jerry Savoie, who ran a 1.035 in Gainesville. Gladstone ran into issues throughout the rest of qualifying but ended up in the No. 10 position.

“(The third pass) we tried something different and it went the wrong way,” said Gladstone. “Now on the second pass, we had a ground wire break and that causes the bike to shut off. On these transmissions you can’t just decal like that and it ended up breaking the transmission. So, we put in a new transmission and it’s just as good.”

Nobody gets to the 60-foot block as well as Gladstone, who averages 1.059 seconds to the marker. That’s better than Savoie, who averages 1.062, and Scotty Pollacheck (1.071). That’s great news for the rider, because he doesn’t fare so well at the other incrementals.

“If you look at the charts, in at least two of the qualifying runs from every race I’m at least top two,” said Gladstone. “We know the bike 60 foots and we know the clutch setup is right. Greg Underdahl is very good at tuning the clutch and his son (Jim) is incredible at making timing graphs, so we know we can 60 foot the hell out of the bike. So, after that it’s just keeping up with the V-Twins.”

“That’s why I try to do the best I can on the tree. We just haven’t had good luck this year. We’ve been blowing up motors to just stupid stuff. I ran Angie last weekend and I ran 30 to her 95 and she ran around me. The key is we need to qualify better and we need to get into the top six. Once you get into the middle of the pack there anyone can pick up at any time.”

 

The current points leader in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Andrew Hines, won’t start from pole position on Sunday, but he does ride the quickest bike by elapsed time average. That is, he does for now. Hector Arana Jr. is quickly climbing the charts on his Lucas Oil TV EBR and Hines, as one of the tuners of the Harley-Davidson Street Rods, knows there’s room to improve.

“We typically are really good between the 60 and 330-foot mark and we’re leading the sheets all the time there, and even 330-600 I think I had the best number every run in Chicago,” said Hines. “Your time to the 1/8th mile is a big indicator of horsepower, but right now Hector Jr., the 200-mph motor they have and the aero package they have is putting a hundredth on us in the last 300 feet. You can’t tune that out of the bike, that’s built right into it.”

There’s a lot of good information there, so let’s try to break it down to make sure nothing got lost. NHRA provides a time to riders (and fans, via live timing and detailed results) at the 60-foot, 330-foot, 660-foot (aka 1/8th mile), 1000-foot, and 1320-foot. Speeds are given at the eighth and quarter mile. When Hines says his team leads between the 330-660 foot mark, he’s referring to an interval time. That’s derived by subtracting the 660 time from the 330 time.

Hines is right, by the way. He leads the field in average 330 to 660-foot time and is followed by Krawiec. The Harleys traditionally struggle in one area: The first 60 feet of the track. They make most of it up by the 330-foot mark and really start to pull away over the last 300 feet. That’s not been the case when up against the EBR ridden by Arana, at least not as of late. By average, Arana leads the field by only .003 second, but this weekend he leads the field by a full hundredth.

“If we get within a hundredth of them in the last 300 feet of them, we know we’re doing something right,” said Hines.

They have closed the gap at least that much, so now it’s up to the team to make up ground in other areas of the run. That didn’t exactly come to fruition during the second qualifying session on Friday night, where Hines was outpaced in nearly every increment. The second-place finisher from 2017 looked much better in the final session on Saturday, when his 60-foot time clocked in at 1.058 – well below his season average of 1.077. If he rides like that on Sunday, he’s got a chance to secure his first win of the season.

Saturday

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class is led by Hector Arana Jr., who used a 6.795 at 198.15 on his Lucas Oil Racing TV EBR from his second qualifying run on Friday to lead the pack throughout Saturday. He is set to take on Kelly Clontz in the first round on Sunday.

“We are always trying to run faster each round, but we wanted to figure out which direction we needed to go on Sunday,” Arana Jr. said. “Tonight, we will go through all of the data and notes and try to put a winning combination together for tomorrow.”

Andrew Hines qualified second and prepares for Hector Arana in the first round.

POSITIONDRIVERETMPH
1Hector Arana Jr6.795198.15
2Andrew Hines6.833196.24
3Matt Smith6.837193.74
4Eddie Krawiec6.85195.99
5LE Tonglet6.858195.39
6Jerry Savoie6.863195.11
7Scotty Pollacheck6.872193.24
8Steve Johnson6.886194.86
9Angie Smith6.887193.68
10Joey Gladstone6.889192.82
11Jim Underdahl6.922193.77
12John Hall6.929192.44
13Mark Paquette6.932192.96
14Cory Reed6.936193.05
15Hector Arana6.967195.56
16Kelly Clontz6.969193.1
17Ryan Oehler6.975190.3
18Karen Stoffer6.987191.29
19Ron Tornow6.995189.68
20Angelle Sampey7.039191.59
21Andie Rawlings7.302176.26

 

Friday

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class was paced by Hector Arana Jr., who used a 6.795 at 198.15 on his Lucas Oil Racing TV EBR from his second qualifying run as he had low E.T. of both qualifying sessions to lead the pack.

“Our bike is really consistent right now and has responded well to the changes we have been making,” Arana Jr. said. “This track is one of the best I have been on, and we knew we could throw everything we have at this track to have a few solid runs.”

The category points leader Andrew Hines is currently second after a 6.833 at 196.24 as he looks to become the first Pro Stock Motorcycle winner in Richmond since his brother Matt in 1998.


Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com