NHRA: Texas FallNationals – Pro Stock Motorcycle

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NHRA Mello Yellow drag racing series

AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals
Texas Motorplex
October 04-08, 2018

Pro Stock Motorcycle

Tonglet earned his fourth victory of 2018 and 20th of his career with his run of 6.892 at 194.80 to team owner Jerry Savoie’s 6.907 at 193.88. Tonglet took the points lead after his second win at the track on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki. He picked up round wins against Andrew Hines, Angelle Sampey, and defending world champion Eddie Krawiec en route to the finals.

“It was just a lot of fun,” Tonglet said. “It was fun in the pit while we were trying to get the bikes cooled off (after semi-finals). Once we came up to the start line though I didn’t even look at him and he didn’t look at me. It was just all business. We’re leading the points now though and we’re not going to look back.”

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 12-14 with the fourth race in the Countdown to the Championship, the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C.

ROUND 1

Karen Stoffer, who has struggled badly all season, got a huge lift by beating points leader Matt Smith on a holeshot, 6.96 to 7.04, while rookie rider Kelly Clontz also pulled a huge upset over fourth-place Hector Arana Jr., whose Lucas Oil EBR bogged just off the line. Low qualifier Eddie Krawiec, third in points, posted a 6.890 while second-place LE Tonglet ran right behind with a 6.896.

ROUND 2
LE Tonglet took full advantage of incoming points leader Matt Smith’s first-round exit to assume the points lead by beating Angelle Sampey and third-place Eddie Krawiec closed the gap on Smith as well by beating Angie Smith, and the two championship challengers will face off in a huge semifinal battle. On the other side of the ladder, veteran Steve Johnson will have lane choice against former world champ Jerry Savoie.

SEMIFNALS
White Alligator Racing teammates Jerry Savoie and LE Tonglet will meet in the final round of Pro Stock Motorcycle. Savoie, a runner-up in Dallas a year ago, rode his Suzuki to a 6.92 60 7.00 win over Steve Johnson. Tonglet followed with a huge win against the Harley-Davidson of Eddie Krawiec, 6.88 to 6.94. Tonglet and Krawiec came into this event ranked second and third in the standings behind Matt Smith, who lost in the first round. Tonglet took over the lead with the win and will remain there regardless of the outcome of the final round.

FINAL
LE Tonglet, near lane, will head into the final three events of the season with he points lead after a clutch win in Dallas. Tonglet won for the fourth time this season and the 20th time in his career when he beat teammate Jerry Savoie in the final. Tonglet got off the starting line first with a .014 light and extended the lead to win with a 6.892 to Savoie’s 6.907.

Round-by-Round

Eliminations Round 1
LANEDRIVERRT60 FT330 FT660 FT660 FT MPH1000 FTETMPH
WINJerry Savoie0.0241.0632.8824.431157.985.7866.944193.52
Joey Gladstone0.0381.0952.924.481156.525.8527.025191.13
12:18 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 87 degrees, relative humidity 64 percent, barometer 29.38 inches, adjusted altitude 3,477 feet, track temperature 116 degrees. Jerry Savoie won this race in 2015 and went to the finals in 2016 & 2017. Savoie is 1 - 0 against Gladstone in prior events. Savoie gets the holeshot and extends his lead all the way through the run. Jerry Savoie's incremental margins: 60ft(0.046), 330 ft(0.052), 660ft(0.064), 1,000ft(0.080). MOV: 0.0954 seconds (approximately 27 feet).
WINAngie Smith0.0181.062.8664.411158.355.7696.937191.67
Ryan Oehler0.0251.1092.9444.496157.825.8557.021191.7
This is the first time Oehler and Smith have faced each other in eliminations. Smith gets a little holeshot and starts to pull away. Oehler made a little move off the line and fell behind at every marker. Angie Smith's incremental margins: 60ft(0.056), 330 ft(0.085), 660ft(0.092), 1,000ft(0.093). MOV: 0.0911 seconds (approximately 26 feet).
WINLE Tonglet0.0171.0572.8634.402158.955.7486.896195.36
Andrew Hines0.0321.1963.0564.617157.175.9787.138193.35
Andrew Hines' win came here in 2014. L.E. Tonglet was the winner here in 2010. Tonglet is 17 - 13 against Hines in prior events. Tonglet gets out of the gate first and starts pulling away. Hines' bike bogged a little off the line, Tonglet makes his quickest pass of the weekend and pulls away for the win.
WINSteve Johnson0.0411.0692.8924.449157.285.8096.972192.11
Hector Arana-0.0511.1142.9454.479159.725.8236.968195.68
Hector Arana won this race in 2009. Arana is 19 - 14 against Johnson in prior events. Arana leaves a little too soon and goes red giving the win to Johnson.
WINAngelle Sampey0.0511.0672.874.412158.695.7626.915194.38
Scotty Pollacheck0.06--------------
Pollacheck is 4 - 1 against Sampey in prior events. Pollacheck hits the throttle and the engine goes silent, not sure why. Sampey makes a clean pass and takes the win. Tonglet will have lane choice over Sampey in the next round.
WINKelly Clontz0.1011.1013.0224.624153.826.0127.194189.47
Hector Arana Jr0.6111.1363.1395.58288.868.33911.19173.65
Arana Jr is 2 - 0 against Clontz in prior events. Arana hits the throttle, the bike makes a move toward the wall and he has to give up on the run. Clontz goes right down the groove with a clean pass to get her first career round win. Johnson will have lane choice over Clontz in the next round.
WINEddie Krawiec0.0441.0722.8674.407159.445.7476.89196.1
Anthony Vanetti0.0151.1142.984.55155.745.9347.147178.52
Eddie Krawiec is the only Pro Stock Motorcycle rider with multiple wins in Ennis (2013, 2016 & 2017). He has made the final round in four of the last five years here. Vanetti gets the advantage off the line but Krawiec reels him in and goes around him before they reach the 60 foot mark. Krawiec goes right down the groove with the quickest pass of the round to take the win. Krawiec will have lane choice over Angie Smith in the next round.
WINKaren StofferWIN0.0021.0642.9084.482155.475.8637.045189.31
Matt Smith0.1011.0892.924.467158.265.8126.96195.14
With his win in St. Louis, Matt Smith became just the 7th PSM rider to record 20 or more wins. Smith is 15 - 10 against Stoffer in prior events. Stoffer has an almost perfect light, Smith starts making up ground quickly, but he can't reel her in before they reach the finish line. Stoffer gets the win and will give up lane choice to Savoie in the next round. Karen Stoffer's incremental margins: 60ft(0.124), 330 ft(0.111), 660ft(0.084), 1,000ft(0.048). MOV: 0.0144 seconds (approximately 4 feet).
Eliminations Round 2
LANEDRIVERRT60 FT330 FT660 FT660 FT MPH1000 FTETMPH
WINSteve Johnson0.0371.0612.8644.416157.635.7756.942191.78
Kelly Clontz0.1231.0842.9494.542153.495.9357.122188.67
1:28 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 86 degrees, relative humidity 62 percent, barometer 29.33 inches, adjusted altitude 3,418 feet, track temperature 118 degrees. This is the first time Clontz and Johnson have faced each other in eliminations. Johnson gets the holeshot and extends his lead all the way through the run.
WINJerry Savoie0.0291.082.9094.47156.465.847.011191.16
Karen Stoffer-0.011.0582.8874.464155.265.8417.017190.24
Stoffer is 7 - 5 against Savoie in prior events. Stoffer is a little too quick off the line and goes red giving the win to Savoie. Johnson will have lane choice over Savoie in the next round.
WINLE Tonglet0.0241.0612.874.41159.025.7566.903195.39
Angelle Sampey0.0411.0792.8994.4511585.8086.968193.49
Tonglet is 2 - 0 against Sampey in prior events. Tonglet gets out of the gate first and makes an impressive pass for the conditions to take the win.
WINEddie KrawiecWIN0.0231.0792.8764.417158.915.7666.915195.31
Angie Smith0.0511.0812.894.685121.166.7158.82699.73
Krawiec gets the advantage off the line and goes down the groove with a good pass to take the win. Smith gets to half track and has problems with a gear change. Tonglet will have lane choice over Krawiec in the next round.
Eliminations Round 3
LANEDRIVERRT60 FT330 FT660 FT660 FT MPH1000 FTETMPH
WINJerry Savoie0.0421.0552.8684.404158.675.7616.927190.75
Steve Johnson0.0741.052.8764.45155.15.8287.006189.95
2:48 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 90 degrees, relative humidity 55 percent, barometer 29.29 inches, adjusted altitude 3,722 feet, track temperature 128 degrees. Savoie is 10 - 5 against Johnson in prior events. Savoie gets the advantage off the line and extends his lead all the way through the run with his quickest pass of the weekend. Savoie is going to his fourth final round this season.
WINLE Tonglet0.0251.0532.8584.395159.575.7386.886194.86
Eddie Krawiec0.0211.0792.8794.434157.215.7926.945194.97
Krawiec is 23 - 13 against Tonglet in prior events. Krawiec gets a small advantage off the line but Tonglet reels him in quickly and goes around before they reach the sixty foot mark. Tonglet goes on through with his quickest pass of the weekend for the win. Tonglet is going to his sixth final round this season and will have lane choice over Savoie.
Eliminations - FINAL
LANEDRIVERRT60 FT330 FT660 FT660 FT MPH1000 FTETMPH
WINLE Tonglet0.0141.0672.8714.4031605.7446.892194.8
Jerry Savoie0.0491.0572.8654.404158.865.7536.907193.88
3:42 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 89 degrees, relative humidity 59 percent, barometer 29.29 inches, adjusted altitude 3,689 feet, track temperature 120 degrees. Tonglet is 9 - 6 against Savoie in prior events and each has won 1 time against the other in final rounds. Tonglet gets the holeshot and extends his lead all the way through the run. Tonglet takes the win, his fourth win this year and the 20th of his career.

 

POINTS

POSITION DRIVER POINTS  BEHIND VEHICLE
01 Matt Smith 2263 0 Elite Motorsports Denso Auto Parts EBR
02 LE Tonglet 2242 -21 Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki
03 Eddie Krawiec 2222 -41 Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson
04 Hector Arana Jr 2214 -49 Lucas Oil Buell
05 Andrew Hines 2201 -62 Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson
06 Jerry Savoie 2154 -109 White Alligator Racing Suzuki
07 Angie Smith 2115 -148 Denso Racing Buell
08 Steve Johnson 2108 -155 Steve Johnson Racing Suzuki
09 Scotty Pollacheck 2094 -169 Suzuki Extended Protection
10 Angelle Sampey 2085 -178 Team Liberty Buell

Eddie Krawiec

The good news in the Vance & Hines camp was that Eddie Krawiec’s Street Rod scored the No. 1 qualifying spot, stealing some momentum from Matt Smith and making the reigning world champ a prohibitive favorite in eliminations, where he desperately needs an event win.

“We’ve been getting better each session, picking away at it,” he said. “We’ve been struggling in Sundays as it gets hotter and hotter, and I think we’ve finally nipped that. We’ve got such good competition right now – there are probably four or five bikes that could be on the pole – but I could really use a win today.”

The bad news in the V&H camp was that while Krawiec’s bike was screaming, teammate Andrew Hines qualified just 12th.

“I’d love to tell you we know the problem is, but we don’t,” Krawiec admitted. “The bike is being difficult. We think there’s a gremlin, so we’ve changed everything electrical on it and if it picks up first round, we’ve got a big pile of scrap sitting there because it’s so hard to diagnose where it comes from and what slows you down; it’s not even worth it.”

Regardless of that happens with Hines’ bike. Krawiec is focused on winning his third straight title at this event and taking home the trademark cowboy hat given to winners.

“As racers you have certain tracks you go to where you click, and everything works for me here,” he said. “If we can win again I guess I’ll have to get a bigger hat rack. I’m not really a cowboy, but I love wearing those hats.”

Angelle Sampey

It’s likely too little too late to contend for the Mello Yello championship but Angelle Sampey’s newfound horsepower is enough to convince the three-time champion that she is in a position to win the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. Sampey qualified her Liberty Racing Buell in the No. 4 spot and picked up three qualifying bonus points along the way. She’ll begin eliminations with a tough round one battle against Scotty Pollacheck.

“We finally had time to do some R&D and some testing and we’ve been trying a lot of new stuff,” said Sampey. “It seems to be working in our favor at just the right time. I am excited that we are improving our performance on a regular basis now.”

In the previous 12 events, Sampey has qualified in the top half of the field just three times including a best of third in Norwalk. She attributes the performance improvement to additional horsepower found by engine builder and Pro Stock veteran Larry Morgan and his son, Nick. While the Liberty team is based in Georgia, most of the engine development is done in Morgan’s shop in Newark, Ohio.

“Qualifying third in Norwalk was a little misleading because we got rain at that race and qualifying was shortened,” said Sampey. “We just happened to make a good run. Now, I think our [power increase] is genuine. We have a bit of momentum going and it feels so rewarding. I’m very proud of the whole team for working so hard. We are having fun and it shows.”

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class has only raced at the Texas Motorplex 15 times but Sampey has appeared in a pair of final rounds. She was a runner-up at the track’s Spring event in 1999 and 2000, losing to Antron Brown and Matt Hines.


Saturday

POSITION DRIVER ET MPH
01 Eddie Krawiec 6.873 196.07
02 Matt Smith 6.876 197.65
03 Hector Arana Jr 6.882 195.45
04 Angelle Sampey 6.906 194.86
05 LE Tonglet 6.915 194.83
06 Steve Johnson 6.922 194.41
07 Jerry Savoie 6.930 195.22
08 Angie Smith 6.933 192.6
09 Ryan Oehler 6.938 189.84
10 Joey Gladstone 6.943 193.65
11 Hector Arana 6.946 195.45
12 Andrew Hines 6.950 194.97
13 Scotty Pollacheck 6.950 193.93
14 Kelly Clontz 6.982 191.95
15 Karen Stoffer 7.015 190.38
16 Anthony Vanetti 7.162 187.83

Krawiec, defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion, powered to the top of the class with his pass of 6.873 at 196.07 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson during the third qualifying session. This is his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and will face off with Anthony Vanetti in the first round of eliminations.

“Was fortunate during Q3 to go to the pole,” Krawiec said. “I made a good, clean run that pass and had a great tune-up in the motorcycle. We’ve been getting better each session with my bike by running better E.T.’s and picking away at it a little at a time. We’re struggling on Sundays when it just continues to get hotter and I think we’ve nipped that in the bud to move in the right direction.”

Current points leader Matt Smith is second on his Elite Motorsports DENSO Auto Parts EBR after his run of 6.876 at 197.65 and will race Karen Stoffer in the opening round of eliminations. Hector Arana Jr. is third with his pass of 6.882 at 195.45.

 

Matt Smith

Matt Smith continued his torrid race with his sleek red EBR-bodied machine, grabbing the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot Friday with an opening pass of 6.876. With that confidence, he experimented in Q2 and it didn’t pan out with a 6.941, but at least he knew what had changed.

“It was pretty hot both runs yesterday but the track was actually pretty good for how hot it was,” he said. “We went 1.06 [60-foot clocking] on both runs but I tried something on the second run that it didn’t like, so we’ll go back to that setup.”

The obvious change for Smith seems to be the expensive and coveted EBR body, but Smith says it goes beyond that.

“The biggest difference with the body is the back end of the bike; it allows the air to get out from underneath the body,” he explained. “Last year, the front of my bike was good but the tail section with the bagger, went all the way down to the wheelie bars and it didn’t let the air out going downtrack.

“But we’ve been working on our power all along; it first started to show in Sonoma where we won the [Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Bike Battle]. The new body just helped everything out. We’ve been running real good since Brainerd and with two final rounds in a row hopefully we can keep this thing going. I told people after Indy we’re going into the Countdown strong, They knew we’re here and I made the comment then that we can win three of the six races in the Countdown and run for this championship. We’ve dug down and worked on these motors. We’re going to do our best, try to stay focused and try to do our job. As long as we don’t have any parts failures, we’ll be good.”

 


Friday

Matt Smith, current points leader, finished atop the qualifying order in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 6.876 at 197.65 on his Elite Motorsports DENSO Auto Parts EBR. He is chasing his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season and second of his career at Texas Motorplex.

“The conditions are pretty hot today,” Smith stated. “The track seemed good for how hot it was. We were low first round by a hundredth and we will go to that set up tomorrow. We’ve been to two finals in a row and hopefully we can just keep that momentum going.”

Hector Arana Jr. is second after going 6.882 at 195.45 on his Lucas Oil Racing TV EBR and defending world champion Eddie Krawiec follows in third with a run of 6.892 at 192.25.

POSITION DRIVER ET MPH
01 Eddie Krawiec 6.873 196.07
02 Matt Smith 6.876 197.65
03 Hector Arana Jr 6.882 195.45
04 Angelle Sampey 6.906 194.86
05 LE Tonglet 6.915 194.83
06 Steve Johnson 6.922 194.41
07 Jerry Savoie 6.930 195.22
08 Angie Smith 6.933 192.6
09 Ryan Oehler 6.938 189.84
10 Joey Gladstone 6.943 193.65
11 Hector Arana 6.946 195.45
12 Andrew Hines 6.950 194.97
13 Scotty Pollacheck 6.950 193.93
14 Kelly Clontz 6.982 191.95
15 Karen Stoffer 7.015 190.38
16 Anthony Vanetti 7.162 187.83

Eddie Krawiec 

A year ago, Eddie Krawiec ran the table in Dallas when he qualified No. 1 in the Pro Stock Motorcycle field, set low elapsed time of the event, and breezed his way through four elimination rounds on Sunday to extend his points lead and set up a run to an eventual fourth Mello Yello world title. This time, things are different. Krawiec has dropped to third place after his shocking round one loss in St. Louis and a win in Dallas would be viewed as more of a necessity than a luxury.

“Yeah, we sort of have our backs against the wall but it’s not the end of the world,” said Krawiec. “We’re still in this thing; I just can’t afford to have another bad race. That’s the bottom line. We need to win some rounds, and hopefully win the race. If we can pick up ground on the guys ahead of us that will be a big deal.”

Krawiec currently trails leader Matt Smith by 41 points and he’s 20 points, or one round, behind second-ranked LE Tonglet. Due to a schedule change, the Dallas race is No. 21 this year, not No. 22, with Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Pomona still to go.

“I wouldn’t say we’re in a bad spot at all, and that also goes for Drew [Hines, teammate],” said Krawiec. “He’s still in this. Honestly, there’s about six or seven of us that could still win it. That’s what makes this time of the year exciting.”

As a side note, the Vance & Hines team will not run their third Harley-Davidson this weekend with part-time rider Chip Ellis. He will return in Charlotte and is scheduled to run the final three events of the year.

Anthony Vanetti 

Anthony Vanetti is racing in his first NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle event since the 2016 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, but he hasn’t exactly been idle. Vanetti, an inside sales representative at Lucas Oil Products in Corona, Calif., has enjoyed a successful season in the NHRA Pacific Division Sportsman Motorcycle class, and now he’s back for a shot at the “big show” in Dallas.

“I can’t put into words how excited I am to get the opportunity to be racing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series again,” said Vanetti. “It’s been a long time coming to make it back and I feel like I have some unfinished business. I’d like to thank Lucas Oil and SpillVak for their support and for believing in me and I hope to make them proud.”

Vanetti will be piloting a Vance & Hines-powered Suzuki owned by Gary Tonglet and tuned by GT Tonglet. The team plans to compete at the remaining four rounds of the 2018 season in Dallas, Charlotte, Las Vegas, and Pomona. The bike is backed by SpillVak and Lucas Oil Products.

In Friday’s opening qualifying run, Vanetti slowed to a 7.855 after it appeared that his bike didn’t shift into fourth gear.

“I’m lucky and blessed to say the least to pilot the Tonglet family Suzuki this weekend and the remainder of the Countdown events,” said Vanetti. “We had a planned test session that was rained out but being able to have GT Tonglet make the tuning calls, I’m comfortable and confident that we can make clean passes off the trailer and improve our performance each run.”


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