NHRA: Pro Stock Motorcycles at 2019 U.S. Nationals

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

NHRA Mello Yellow drag racing series

Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
Aug 28 – Sep 02, 2019

photos by Matt Polito

Pro Stock Motorcycles

Savoie claimed his second career win at Indy, going 6.851 at 195.25 in the final round on his Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki to beat points leader Andrew Hines. It is Savoie’s 10th career victory and first this year. The veteran and former world champ beat Ryan Oehler, Joey Gladstone and Eddie Krawiec to reach the final round, earning the victory after Hines went red. It led to an emotional celebration on the top end, as Savoie enjoyed the first win for a Suzuki in 2019.





Hines beat Kelly Clontz, Scotty Pollacheck and defending world champ Matt Smith to earn his eighth final round appearance in 2019 and 94th in his career. He’ll start the Countdown to the Championship as the points leader, while Savoie, who entered the weekend in 10th, jumped all the way to fifth with his winning weekend.

“The Suzuki’s have been struggling, but we’ve been working and it paid off,” Savoie said. “I held my composure and we were able to make some good runs. When Andrew throws up a red light, you better thank God for it because that doesn’t happen very often. I didn’t know if I would ever win another one. It’s not easy. But we’re going to go for it and see what happens. It’s an honor to get this second one (at Indy).”

 

Jerry Savoie rides White Alligator Suzuki to second Indy Pro Stock Motorcycle title

Throughout his career, White Alligator Racing Suzuki rider Jerry Savoie has had a knack for stealing the spotlight on NHRA’s biggest stage. The winner of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in 2015, Savoie also mounted an impressive performance during the 2016 playoffs to win the NHRA Mello Yello series Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. Savoie struck again when he topped points leader Andrew Hines in the final round to win his second Indy title. The race ended early on a red-light start after Hines’ Harley-Davidson FXDR apparently rolled out of the starting line staging beams, but in all honesty, he would have been hard pressed to keep pace with Savoie, who made the four quickest runs on race day to win his tenth career final round.

Savoie fought back tears when he described the feeling of being a competitive racer well into his 60s.

“When I started doing this, I said all along that I just wanted to win one race,” said Savoie, who also defeated Hines in the final for his first win at the 2014 St. Louis race. “You’ve got to realize at my age; I’m 60 years old. My day is coming. I only planned to be out here for a couple of years. I’ve been here for eight now. It’s tough. To all the armchair quarterbacks out there, if you think this is so easy, come and get you some. Also, after Sonoma, I was eating a piece of pizza and broke a tooth and my jawbone, and I’d made up my mind I wasn’t even going to come here. Finally, my wife told me to just go and have fun.

“Anyway, the Suzuki’s have been struggling lately but thanks to Vance & Hines and Tim [Kulungian, crew chief] they’ve been working on a couple of combinations and it paid off. We found the sweet spot and I maintained my composure all day and we made some good runs. The Harley guys, you can’t take anything away from them. They win races because they’re not only the fastest, but they are the most consistent. When I dumped the clutch, I saw Andrew’s red-light come on. I knew we had him covered. He was a little nervous. They tested here, and this is his home track so I’m a little surprised he didn’t run better.”

Savoie was the No. 8 qualifier in the quick field, but his Suzuki came to life during Monday’s final eliminations with a string of 6.8-second runs that were among the quickest of the day. Savoie made the quickest run of the opening round with a 6.847 in his win against Ryan Oehler, and followed with an identical run in the quarterfinal round to stop Joe Gladstone. Savoie punched his ticket to the final with a 6.864 in the semifinal round to stop Hines’ teammate, Eddie Krawiec.

With seven wins in nine events and a 29-2 record in elimination rounds coming into Indy, not much had gone wrong for Andrew Hines this season, and the five-time Mello Yello series Pro Stock Motorcycle champion stretched his record to 32-round wins by beating Kelly Clontz, Scotty Pollacheck, and reigning champ Matt Smith. Despite the loss, Hines was able to lock up the top spot in the Countdown to the Championship standings.

 

ROUND 1 ELIMINATIONS

Driver Jerry Savoie – WIN Ryan Oehler
RT .069 .044
60 FT 1.043 1.081
330 FT 2.840 2.908
660 FT 4.365 4.473
660 FT MPH 160.35 156.73
1000 FT 5.700 5.835
ET 6.847 6.998
MPH 195.36 192.66

12:53 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 77 degrees, relative humidity 62 percent, barometer 29.18 inches, adjusted altitude 2,856 feet, track temperature 101 degrees. Jerry Savoie won this race in 2015 and was runner-up in 2011. This is the first time Savoie and Oehler have faced each other in eliminations. Oehler gets away first, but Savoie is out and front and quickly pulling away! Oehler bike has some smoke down track.

Driver Karen Stoffer – WIN Steve Johnson
RT .034 .061
60 FT 1.074 1.063
330 FT 2.881 2.862
660 FT 4.413 4.407
660 FT MPH 159.74 158.54
1000 FT 5.756 5.759
ET 6.908 6.924
MPH 194.44 191.67

This is Karen Stoffer’s 17th trip to Indy and the 3rd time she has started from the top half of the field. This is Johnson’s 32nd Indy, the most for any Pro Stock Motorcycle race. He won here in 2005 and 2008. Since 1987, the only year he missed here was 1989. Stoffer is 16 – 9 against Johnson in prior events. Stoffer has all of the numbers and takes the easy win.

Driver Angie Smith Scott Pollacheck – WIN
RT .020 .185
60 FT 1.120 1.081
330 FT 2.944 2.929
660 FT 4.641 4.494
660 FT MPH 133.20 156.32
1000 FT 6.338 5.862
ET 8.065 7.038
MPH 122.43 190.51

This is Smith’s 11th start and she DQ’ed here last year. Pollacheck is making his 8TH Indy appearance. He went to the semi’s in 2013 and lost to Matt Smith. Pollacheck is 4 – 1 against Smith in prior events. Smith gets a huge starting line advantage, but the bike lets her down. Pollacheck gets lucky and takes an easy win.

Driver Eddie Krawiec – WIN Hector Arana
RT .052 .002
60 FT 1.077 1.167
330 FT 2.882 3.036
660 FT 4.418 4.593
660 FT MPH 159.16 157.82
1000 FT 5.763 5.947
ET 6.917 7.102
MPH 193.93 194.10

Eddie Krawiec won this race in 2014 & 2017. In his career Eddie wins 85% of his first round races but at this event he is just 8 -4 in round 1 (67%). Hector Arana won Indy in 2009 this is just the 3rd time these two have met in the first round. Krawiec is 20 – 10 against Arana in prior events. Arana nails the tree with a 0.002 light, but it’s not enough to hold off a charging Krawiec.

Driver Angelle Sampey Joey Gladstone – WIN
RT -.004 .008
60 FT 1.053 1.074
330 FT 2.856 2.909
660 FT 4.394 4.479
660 FT MPH 158.87 155.81
1000 FT 5.738 5.854
ET 6.895 7.037
MPH 193.13 189.02

This is Sampey’s first #1 qualifier of the year and the 50th of her career. Angelle has been to the final round 5 times in Indy and she won this race in 2001 & 2002 and in each of those races she started from the #1 spot like she does today. This is Gladstone’s 3rd Indy race. Since 1987 the #16 qualifier in the motorcycle class has won 5 times in the first round at this event. Sampey and Gladstone have each won 2 times against the other in prior events. UPSET! Sampey misses the tree by just -0.004 and gives the win to Gladstone. He cards a great eight light and will give up lane choice to Savoie next round.

Driver Hector Arana Jr – WIN Cory Reed
RT .032 .030
60 FT 1.071 1.087
330 FT 2.877 2.926
660 FT 4.422 4.490
660 FT MPH 158.02 156.48
1000 FT 5.773 5.855
ET 6.926 7.029
MPH 194.30 190.54

Hector Arana Jr.’s win here came in 2011. He also has two runner-up finishes at this race. Reed has been here two times before and made the semi’s in 2016. Arana Jr is 4 – 1 against Reed in prior events. Just 0.002 difference in RT’s and Arana pulls steadily ahead for a twenty-eight foot win.

Driver Andrew Hines – WIN Kelly Clontz
RT .050 .046
60 FT 1.062 1.094
330 FT 2.850 2.914
660 FT 4.382 4.565
660 FT MPH 159.63 149.98
1000 FT 5.719 5.975
ET 6.866 7.173
MPH 195.14 186.02

Andrew Hines has a pair of wins here and a pair of runner-up finishes. He is 13 -4 in the first round in Indy. Hines is making his eighteenth Indy appearance. He has 7 wins in 8 finals this year. This is the first Indy start for Kelly Clontz. Hines is 1 – 0 against Clontz in prior events. Just 0.004 difference in RT’s this time. Hines is out in front before sixty feet and continues to open his lead down track.

Driver Matt Smith – WIN Chris Bostick
RT .093 .085
60 FT 1.078 1.060
330 FT 2.878 2.897
660 FT 4.415 4.466
660 FT MPH 159.31 156.05
1000 FT 5.751 5.843
ET 6.892 7.043
MPH 196.59 185.59

Andrew Hines has a pair of wins here and a pair of runner-up finishes. He is 13 -4 in the first round in Indy. Hines is making his eighteenth Indy appearance. He has 7 wins in 8 finals this year. This is the first Indy start for Kelly Clontz. Hines is 1 – 0 against Clontz in prior events.  Just 0.004 difference in RT’s this time. Hines is out in front before sixty feet and continues to open his lead down track. He will have lane choice over Pollacheck next round.

 

ROUND 2 ELIMINATIONS

Driver Eddie Krawiec – WIN Hector Arana Jr
RT .087 -.007
60 FT 1.096 1.073
330 FT 2.897 2.873
660 FT 4.437 4.412
660 FT MPH 159.04 158.99
1000 FT 5.780 5.761
ET 6.932 6.916
MPH 194.63 193.93

12:53 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 77 degrees, relative humidity 62 percent, barometer 29.18 inches, adjusted altitude 2,856 feet, track temperature 101 degrees.Jerry Savoie won this race in 2015 and was runner-up in 2011. This is the first time Savoie and Oehler have faced each other in eliminations. Oehler gets away first, but Savoie is out and front and quickly pulling away! Oehler bike has some smoke down track.

Driver Matt Smith – WIN Karen Stoffer
RT .075 .038
60 FT 1.075 1.075
330 FT 2.876 2.886
660 FT 4.411
660 FT MPH 159.42
1000 FT 5.744
ET 6.883
MPH 196.82

This is Karen Stoffer’s 17th trip to Indy and the 3rd time she has started from the top half of the field. This is Johnson’s 32nd Indy, the most for any Pro Stock Motorcycle race. He won here in 2005 and 2008. Since 1987, the only year he missed here was 1989. Stoffer is 16 – 9 against Johnson in prior events. Stoffer has all of the numbers and takes the easy win.

Driver Andrew Hines – WIN Scott Pollacheck
RT .044 .025
60 FT 1.075 1.094
330 FT 2.866 2.937
660 FT 4.395 4.500
660 FT MPH 160.10 156.79
1000 FT 5.729 5.862
ET 6.872 7.029
MPH 195.82 191.92

This is Smith’s 11th start and she DQ’ed here last year. Pollacheck is making his 8TH Indy appearance. He went to the semi’s in 2013 and lost to Matt Smith. Pollacheck is 4 – 1 against Smith in prior events. Smith gets a huge starting line advantage, but the bike lets her down. Pollacheck gets lucky and takes an easy win.

Driver Jerry Savoie – WIN Joey Gladstone
RT .014 .013
60 FT 1.049 1.085
330 FT 2.834 2.912
660 FT 4.362 4.468
660 FT MPH 160.18 157.43
1000 FT 5.699 5.827
ET 6.847 6.997
MPH 195.08 191.46

Eddie Krawiec won this race in 2014 & 2017. In his career Eddie wins 85% of his first round races but at this event he is just 8 -4 in round 1 (67%). Hector Arana won Indy in 2009 this is just the 3rd time these two have met in the first round. Krawiec is 20 – 10 against Arana in prior events. Arana nails the tree with a 0.002 light, but it’s not enough to hold off a charging Krawiec.

 

ROUND 3 ELIMINATIONS

Driver Andrew Hines – WIN Matt Smith
RT .022 .041
60 FT 1.081 1.094
330 FT 2.880 2.901
660 FT 4.425 4.447
660 FT MPH 158.71 158.82
1000 FT 5.768 5.789
ET 6.914 6.933
MPH 195.14 195.93

Driver Jerry Savoie – WIN Eddie Krawiec
RT .056 .019
60 FT 1.060 1.085
330 FT 2.855 2.896
660 FT 4.383 4.443
660 FT MPH 160.21 158.41
1000 FT 5.718 5.790
ET 6.864 6.941
MPH 194.91 194.55

 

FINAL ELIMINATIONS

Driver Jerry Savoie – WIN Andrew Hines
RT .025
60 FT 1.060
330 FT 2.847
660 FT 4.372
660 FT MPH 160.38
1000 FT 5.705
ET 6.851
MPH 195.25

Savoie has one prior win here in 2015 and a runner-up in 2011 and 2014. He has one runner-up this year and a 9 win – 6 runner- career record. Hines already has seven wins this year. He won here before in 2012 and 2016. He was the runner-up in 2008 and 2010. Career 55 wins and 38 runner-ups. Hines is 15 – 8 against Savoie in prior events and Hines is 3 – 2 against Savoie in prior final rounds. Hines rolls backwards out of the beams and gets the red light. Savoie is strong off the line with a 25 light and makes his second-best performance of the weekend for the easy win.

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Sept. 12-15 with the first of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, PA.

Point standings following the 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals

1.  Andrew Hines, 1,126
2.  Eddie Krawiec, 882
3.  Matt Smith, 839
4.  Hector Arana Jr, 743
5. Jerry Savoie, 551
6.  Karen Stoffer, 527
7.  Angie Smith, 474
8.  Angelle Sampey, 462
9.  Ryan Oehler, 458
10.  Hector Arana, 449


SATURDAY

Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Sampey jumped into the No. 1 position with a 6.816 at 195.53 on her Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson FXDR. If it holds, it would be Sampey’s first No. 1 qualifier since 2016 and 50th in her career. The run also helped Sampey’s playoff chances, as the three-time world champion and two-time Indy winner came into the weekend ninth in points. Defending world champion Matt Smith also made a big move on Saturday into second with a 6.820 at 197.25. Points leader Andrew Hines follows in third with his 6.823 at 195.87.

Angelle Sampey grabs Top spot in Indy Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying

Three-time world champion Angelle Sampey is on target for her first low qualifier since the 2016 season and her first on a Harley-Davidson.

There is a Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson FXDR at the top of the qualifying chart in Pro Stock Motorcycle but it’s not Friday leader Andrew Hines nor is it his teammate, Eddie Krawiec. Instead, the quickest run of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals thus far was made by Angelle Sampey, who rocked Saturday’s first qualifying session with a 6.816, her best run since joining the Vance & Hines squad last March. Sampey, who’s two Indy wins both came on a Suzuki, was able to outrun Hines, who was the early leader after his 6.864 Friday night. If Sampey can hold on to the top spot after Sunday’s two runs, she will receive her first green [low qualifier] hat since the fall Charlotte event in 2016. It will also mark the 50th of her career that she’s been the top qualifier.

“We haven’t been happy with the way my motorcycle has been running so we took almost everything off of Andrew’s bike and put it on mine,” said Sampey. “I’ve been so overwhelmed with learning to ride this bike, that I haven’t given the team to sort of feedback they want. We just wanted to figure out why I can’t run the back half the same way that Andrew and Eddie do. We changed the fuel injection and just about anything we could change so we could learn something.

“I knew that it was a good run because it went straight. I was so happy about that I was screaming in my helmet before I even got to the end of the track. When they told me I ran 6.81 I was so excited. I knew it was a good run. I can tell you that riding this motorcycle is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. It’s a powerful bike but the torque is so different that it takes a lot of skill. It shows me just how talented Andrew and Eddie are because they make it look easy. I’m really happy right now but I still have to race on Monday. I want to do well because I want more than anything to show Vance & Hines and Harley-Davidson that they made a good decision when they hired me.”

Sampey has more than 20-years of experience on a Pro Stock Motorcycle and she’s got three NHRA world championships and 43 national event wins to her credit, but she openly admits that learning to ride a Harley-Davidson V-twin has been one of the biggest challenges of her career. Sampey has struggled to adapt to the aerodynamic properties of the Harley, specifically the lack of a front fairing, but the recent switch from Street Rod to FXDR bodywork has helped improve her comfort level and her confidence. In Q3 Sampey was able to remain consistent with a 6.832. So far this season, Sampey has qualified in the top half of the field seven times with a best of fifth in Richmond.

Sampey wasn’t the only rider to show a big improvement on Saturday. Reigning world champion Matt Smith overcame some early clutch issues to post a 6.820 on his Denso EBR and break up the Harley-Davidson trio of Sampey, Hines, and Eddie Krawiec. Smith has won 23 national events in his career including the 2006 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Hines, the runaway points leader and winner of seven of the first nine events, also showed a four-hundredths improvement with a 6.823 which is good for the No. 3 spot.

A total of 14 riders have gotten six-second time slips and the current bump spot is a healthy 7.032 by Joey Gladston on his Reed Racing EBR. The riders outside the field include Jianna Salinas, Michael Ray, and Andie Rawlings. There are two more qualifying runs scheduled for tomorrow.

Qualifying Order after 3 rounds

POS DRIVER ET MPH
01 Angelle Sampey 6.816 195.53
02 Matt Smith 6.820 197.25
03 Andrew Hines 6.823 195.87
04 Hector Arana Jr 6.846 195.7
05 Eddie Krawiec 6.878 194.72
06 Karen Stoffer 6.880 195.11
07 Jerry Savoie 6.885 193.63
08 Ryan Oehler 6.891 195.73
09 Scott Pollacheck 6.924 193.96
10 Steve Johnson 6.924 192.55
11 Hector Arana 6.926 194.97
12 Angie Smith 6.928 195.11
13 Cory Reed 6.970 191.29
14 Kelly Clontz 6.974 191.4
15 Chris Bostick 7.026 187.26
16 Joey Gladstone 7.032 189.34
17 Jianna Salinas 7.214 183.44
18 Andie Rawlings 7.355 180.12
19 Michael Ray 7.378 185.26

FRIDAY

Harley-Davidson’s Andrew Hines leads Friday’s Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying

Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Hines raced to the top spot on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, going 6.864 at 194.63. It would give Hines, a seven-time winner this year, his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and 45th in his career. Defending world champion Matt Smith is currently second after his run of 6.874 at 197.02 and Jerry Savoie is a spot back thanks to his pass of 6.898 at 193.85.

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class hasn’t competed at an NHRA event since Sonoma more than a month ago, but the extended break has apparently done nothing to cool off red-hot Andrew Hines. The winner of seven of the first nine events of the season as well as the special Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle, Hines kept the heat on his opponents by leading qualifying on the opening day of the 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Hines, who lives in the Indianapolis suburb of Avon, rode his new Harley-Davidson FXDR entry to a 6.864 to get a leg up on the top qualifying spot and pad his already stout points total by an additional four markers.

Hines has been almost unstoppable this year with just two losses in 31 rounds, but he’s also done a masterful job of qualifying. Hines was the top qualifier this year in Gainesville and Richmond and has not been seeded lower than fourth at any event this year. In his role on the Harley-Davidson team, Hines is not just a rider, but he also develops parts, and helps tune the team’s three bikes at the track which provides an additional measure of satisfaction whenever he’s able to outperform his rivals.

“Coming off our test session here a week ago, I had an idea of what I thought we could run, and it ran exactly what we expected,” Hines said. “that’s a really comforting feeling when you’ve got a bike that does what you expect it to do and responds to the changes you make. We haven’t raced since Sonoma so it’s also nice to pick up where we left off.

“Our shop [Vance & Hines] is only two miles up the road so it was great to do this in front of all our friend and employees and to see them waving at us when we came back up the return road. That was a good run, and it’s always good to put one on the board early so you don’t get behind the curve. Now, we’ve got data to tune from for the rest of the weekend. I’ve had so much success on Sunday’s this year I want to make sure it parlays to a Monday. I’ve won here a couple of times, but really haven’t had too much success otherwise. I’d like to change that this weekend.”

During Friday’s lone session, Hines was able to edge reigning champ Matt Smith, the rider who is likely his biggest rival for the Mello Yello championship. Smith, the 2006 U.S. Nationals winner, rode his Denso EBR to a 6.874. Smith has set the early mark for top speed of the event at over 197-mph.

Another former Indy winner, Jerry Savoie, put his White Alligator Racing Suzuki into the No. 3 spot with a 6.898 while second-year rider Ryan Oehler also got a qualifying bonus point thanks to his 6.901.

Hines Harley teammates, Eddie Krawiec and Angelle Sampey, ended the day in the No. 6 and No. 7 riders in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, where there are 20 riders competing for just 16 starting spots.

01 Andrew Hines 6.864 194.63
02 Matt Smith 6.874 197.02
03 Jerry Savoie 6.898 193.85
04 Ryan Oehler 6.901 195
05 Karen Stoffer 6.904 193.68
06 Eddie Krawiec 6.907 193.32
07 Angelle Sampey 6.917 188.96
08 Angie Smith 6.928 195.11
09 Scott Pollacheck 6.973 193.21
10 Hector Arana Jr 6.978 193.46
11 Hector Arana 7.008 192.3
12 Cory Reed 7.052 191
13 Joey Gladstone 7.132 186.85
14 Chris Bostick 7.143 187.6
15 Jianna Salinas 7.315 183.89
16 Andie Rawlings 7.355 180.12
17 Michael Ray 7.378 185.26
18 Steve Johnson 7.780 124.59
19 Kelly Clontz 11.702 65.74


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 program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com