Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, USA, June 23-25, 2017
Tonglet WINS in Norwalk
video, photos and story by Tim Hailey with a lil' help from team reports and the NHRA
Matt Smith was the performance leader for at least 2/3rds of the Norwalk event
Polaris rider Matt Smith had his grasp on NHRA’s Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio for two whole days. Problem is, NHRA national events last three.
Smith was top of the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying order at the very first hit and stayed there—improving finally to a 6.824 at 196.16 mph. It was a remarkable, zero to hero, turnaround performance for Smith and the bike formerly known as a Victory after he failed to qualify last time out in Atlanta. From DNQ to number one in successive PSM meetings has never happened before—at least as far as NHRA on Fox’s Statman Lewis Bloom can remember—so take it to the bank.
Hector Arana Jr, shown here with Chip Ellis in the far lane, qualified 3rd
Hector Arana Jr. was second after the first round, but creeping past H2 in round two and staying there was LE Tonglet and the Nitrofish/White Alligator Racing Suzuki. Tonglet finished off with a 6.84, Arana with a 6.88 on his Lucas Oil Buell.
Tonglet’s WAR team was racing without their team boss, the defending PSM champion Jerry Savoie. The Norwalk round comes at a crucial time for Savoie’s business—large-scale alligator farming. It’s egg gathering season for Savoie and this year that critical task was complicated by Tropical Storm Cindy. So the champ and his employee/crewman Jeremy Deroche stayed busy in the marshes, leaving the team with one less data gathering Suzuki for tuner Tim Kulungian, one less horse to win the race with, but also one less bike for Kulungian and the crew to deal with.
Arana’s Lucas Oil team was also without patriarch and 2009 champion Hector Sr. H1 is recovering from surgery on his rotator cuff, which was torn while changing a tire on his trailer.
Hector Sr is out while recovering from surgery after tearing his rotator cuff while changing a tire on his trailer
The opening round of eliminations featured a lot of pairs decided by rider behavior at the starting line. Joe DeSantis at least waited for the tree to activate this time, but just barely with a -.341 redlight against Smith. Angelle Sampey took a stab at the tree and just missed it by -.003 against Scotty Pollacheck.
Chip Ellis sporting Grabber Blue
Junior Pippin rider Chip Ellis went the other way, losing on a .073 to .040 holeshot to Steve Johnson despite running .017 quicker on track. Matt Smith’s wife Angie didn’t get a chance to take the tree on her MSR Buell when a broken battery wire stalled her bike twice at the starting line.
Sampey’s teammate Cory Reed came up short both at the tree and the stripe against Mike Berry. Karen Stoffer nailed the tree but came up short on performance against Arana Jr.
Joey Gladstone was able to beat his mentor Eddie Krawiec in his third attempt
Tonglet took an easy win against Melissa Surber, and Joey Gladstone was able to beat his mentor Eddie Krawiec in his third attempt.
But Gladstone let Pollacheck beat him off the starting line by .018 in round two and lost when he ran .001 quicker than Scotty. Hines had a huge .016 to .062 starting line advantage against Arana Jr., but the new Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rods have yet to find performance in their second outing. Arana drove around with a 6.84 to Hines’ 6.92.
First round losses gave Eddie Krawiec and Angelle Sampey time to rehash their Englishtown fireworks
LE Tonglet took low ET for round 2 and held it the rest of the day
Smith easily dispatched Berry in round two, as Tonglet did Johnson. But Tonglet took low ET for the round. That trend continued in the semis when LE beat Arana Jr. and Smith beat Pollacheck—Tonglet’s Suzuki was staying quick and Smith’s Polaris bagger was slowing
Matt had a .000 perfect light against Pollacheck in the semis, but he and Tonglet left the start within .001 of each other in the final. LE ran just .001 slower than his round two lap, showing remarkable performance and consistency while Matt slowed further and lost.
“The bike started spinning in second gear today,” explained Smith, who favored the left lane. “I thought about changing lanes (for the semis) but didn’t.” Tonglet had lane choice for the final and kept Matt in the left. “I might change the ratio in second gear before Chicago,” added Smith.
LE Tonglet wears the Yello hat for the 3rd time in '17
White Alligator Racing is clearly the dominant team in the class, and Kulungian the hottest tuner in all of drag racing—getting performance out of the bike right when Tonglet needed it. “I didn’t see any winlights in qualifying, but saw it today and that’s the only day it counts,” said LE.
PSM superfans Gary and Tracy Grega
MORE White Alligator Racing's Norwalk win
MORE about Gladstone's Norwalk weekend
Shane Molinari raced to his first career NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series victory Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by the Real Pro Mod Association, was the eighth of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.
The finals were a re-match from the race in Bristol where Molinari faced off against Troy Coughlin who took that event win. In Norwalk, Molinari was able to reverse the outcome for the victory. Coughlin had an early advantage off the line but lost traction past the 330 foot mark and Molinari posted a winning run of 5.779-seconds at 257.09 mph in his S&T Truck Repair Inc. '68 Firebird to the trailing run of 11.743 at 69.91.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s way cool,” said Molinari. “I mean, all my guys worked super hard and it’s just an awesome feeling."
Mike Castellana retained the points lead in the category with a 82 point lead over Coughlin.
Steve Torrence secured his career-best fourth victory of the season with a 3.743-second pass at 331.45 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster to defeat Doug Kalitta on a holeshot after he ran a 3.736 at 331.36 in his Mac Tools dragster. Torrence emerged victorious for the first time since Englishtown, and has now reached six final rounds on the season, with all six coming over the past eight events.
“I knew I left good on the tree but I could tell it would just be a coin toss who got it and fortunately I was able to come out ahead,” Torrence said. “It’s been a great season so far and we are hoping to keep this momentum going. We just need to keep our head down and work hard so that we can reach our goals as a team.”
Torrence qualified third and defeated Troy Coughlin Jr., Clay Millican and Brittany Force on the way to victory. Kalitta knocked off Troy Buff, Tony Schumacher and Leah Pritchett before reaching his second final round appearance of the season.
Torrence remained atop the points standings with the victory and Leah Pritchett is second in the standings after a semifinal appearance.
Jack Beckman earned his 26th career victory and second of the season with a 4.073 pass at 311.85 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T during the final round to defeat Robert Hight who ran a 6.673 at 98.53 in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS. This was Beckman’s first win since Englishtown, and his third consecutive final round appearance this season.
“We were consistently a bit off this weekend, but we are definitely happy to earn the victory this weekend,” Beckman said. “Now that we are getting down the track consistently, it keeps our opponents honest and that is definitely a formula we will continue to use for the rest of the season.”
Beckman qualified ninth and defeated Cruz Pedregon, Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr. before reaching his third final round of the season. Hight reached his second final round of the season after defeating Jim Campbell, Alexis DeJoria and Bob Tasca III. Beckman remains in third place in the points standings behind teammatesRon Capps and Matt Hagan, who both fell in the quarterfinals.
Ohio Valley Raceway regular Bo Butner yanks the wheels at Norwalk
Points leader Butner secured the victory in Pro Stock after driving to a 6.601 at 210.50 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro to knock off Greg Anderson on a holeshot after running a 6.581 at 210.87 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. Butner now has three victories on the year as he notched his first win since Atlanta.
“Today was a great day, we made four pretty consistent runs and my car was good when it needed to be,” Butner said. “It’s one thing to have a good car, but we also had a lot of things go our way to get those win lights today.”
Butner had the second-best qualifying time and defeated Val Smeland, Vincent Nobile and John Gaydosh en route to his fifth final round of 2017. Anderson earned his sixth final round appearance of the season by defeating Mark Hogan, Allen Johnson and Jason Line.
Butner added to his lead in the points standings, becoming the first three race winner in the Pro Stock category this season. Anderson remains in second place with his fourth runner-up appearance of the year.
EARLIER: Smith's DNQ-to-#1 a PSM First
Zero to Hero. According to Statman Lewis Bloom, Matt Smith's rise from Englishtown DNQ to Norwalk #1 qualifier is a Pro Stock Motorcycle first.
Matt Smith notched the first slot in Pro Stock Motorcycle at the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park with a run of 6.824 at 196.16 on his Victory Polaris Magnum during his third qualifying run. He was able to lock down his 25th career No. 1 qualifier and first of the season—apparently the first time ever in PSM that a racer has gone from a DNQ to #1 in successive races.
Smith did not qualify last time out at Englishtown and attributed that performance—or lack there of—to handling issues. "The motor's always made good power, but we were fighting a bad tire and I was having a hard time keeping the bike straight," said Matt. He also sent a motor home with Pro Stock Car's Elite Motorsports for some outside insight. "They took a look inside. They didn't do anything physically to the motor, but they had some advice and we followed up on that.
"Today went well. We have to keep learning and hopefully we can use this as a turning point in the season.”
LE Tonglet notched the second spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle after a 6.847 at 195.36 in his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki, as he chases his third victory of the season. Hector Arana Jr. secured the third qualifying position after a 6.886 at 194.63 in his Lucas Oil Buell.
Steve Johnson looking a bit lonely in the staging lanes
Joey Gladstone lines up against Eddie Krawiec in E1. Gladstone is 0-2 against his mentor. “Three strikes and your out!” Pro Street racer Bud Yoder joked on Saturday night, handing a tape measure to Gladstone’s bike owner/tuner Joe Riccardi so that the footpegs on the San Marino Excavating Suzuki could be moved back to accommodate the difference between height-challenged Gladstone and extra tall Yoder should Joey lose. Here's Yoder with his Pro Street teammate, the simarly-challenged-as Gladstone PST (and future PSM rider) Mark Paquette.
Teammates Cory Reed (near lane) and Angelle Sampey
IRP troublemakers Craig Treble and Dwayne Lang in the Norwalk lanes
Ohio homeboy Troy Coughlin ran the fastest pass in Pro Mod history
Troy Coughlin raced to the No. 1 qualifying position in dramatic fashion and won the first round of competition at the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Real Pro Mod Association, is the eighth of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.
Coughlin raced to the qualifying lead in his JEGS.com Chevy Corvette, with his pass of 5.756-seconds at 259.31 mph for his third No. 1 qualifying position of the season. His speed of 259.31 bested the previous record set by Melanie Troxel in 2011.
“It’s pretty awesome," said Coughlin. "To be at home, in our home state, with a lot of the associates from JEGS.com up here, we couldn’t be more excited to be able to be No. 1 and national record-holder. We strive to break records and there’s going to be people who break our records. Melanie Troxel held that mark for a long time and we've all been fighting through the various rule changes to get back to running those kind of numbers again. To finally get it done, right here in our backyard, is really, really special
In the first round of eliminations Coughlin faced Danny Rowe and was able to parlay his top qualifying position to advance to the second round. Coughlin posted a winning run of 5.751 at 258.42 to the trailing pass of Rowe at 6.274 at 178.71. Coughlin will face Michael Biehle II when racing resumes tomorrow.
"We’re just pretty excited to be a big piece of J&A Service Pro Mod series and the NHRA. All the folks at Jegs.com, Pro Line, Mac Tools, I mean, there’s many that are out here that help support our racing program and we couldn’t be more excited for sure."
In other racing action, points leader Mike Castellana races Shannon Jenkins, Rickie Smith will face off against Jonathan Gray and Shane Molinari will square up against Stevie Jackson.
Bristol Funny Car runner-up Matt Hagan qualified #1 this week
Matt Hagan secured the top Funny Car spot after setting the track elapsed-time record with a pass of 3.865-seconds at 333.33 mph in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T during the second session Friday night. “I feel pretty good about this track and this car, so we definitely feel like we have an opportunity to turn on four win lights tomorrow,” Hagan said. “We know we need to put this car in the winner’s circle a few more times to move to the top spot in the standings, and that’s really what we are trying to do.”
Robert Hight set the track speed record at 334.65 with a 3.870 during his second qualifying session on Friday in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro to sit at second at the conclusion of the qualifying rounds. Teammate John Force qualified third after a 3.911 at 319.98 in his PEAK Chevy Camaro.
Top Fuel #1 qualifier Doug Kalitta set a Norwalk record 3.70
Doug Kalitta maintained his advantage atop the Top Fuel category with an elapsed time track record run of 3.709-second pass at 327.43 mph in his Mac Tools dragster during the second session on Friday night, earning his first No. 1 qualifier on the year and 48th of his career. “It’s been awhile since we qualified first and there is no better place than your own backyard for Kalitta Motorsports,” Kalitta said. “We’re looking forward to carrying that into tomorrow, and we are definitely excited to get racing again.”
Kalitta is now tied for 15th in NHRA history with Antron Brown as each of the active Top Fuel drivers have 48 career No. 1 qualifiers to their credit.
Brittany Force secured the number two slot after a 3.714 pass at 327.66 during her second run on Friday night in her Monster Energy dragster. Points leader Steve Torrence qualified third with a run of 3.715 at 328.46 in his Capco Contractors dragster as he chases his fourth win of the season.
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson held on to the top spot after driving to a 6.584 at 210.24 pass in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro during the fourth and final session. He secured his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 88th of his career. “We knew today was going to be a good day with the improved weather, and the racetrack was great today so we figured we would need to improve our runs from yesterday to stay on top,” Anderson said. “It’s a pretty cool feeling to do that here in front of the home crowd at Summit Motorsports Park, so I’m happy we were able to make it happen.”
Points leader Bo Butner qualified second with a 6.588 at 210.41 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro. Drew Skillman locked in the third spot after a 6.593 at 209.92 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro.
Eliminations at the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals begins at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
EARLIER: Matt Smith Still Leads after 3 @Norwalk
Matt Smith's Cheshire Cat grin is back. Here he is with Junior Pippin engine man Lon Moyer. Smith is #1 by a mile after 3 Pro StockMotorcycle rounds at Nowalk with a 6.824 at 196.16 mph. If I'm not mistaken, I heard Smith say he is getting some help from Pro Stock Car's Elite Motorsports.
LE Tonglet already has 2 wins this year. His Nitrofish/White Alligator Racing Suzuki has been lurking a step behind Smith every step of the way this weekend, sitting second with a 6.84.
Joey Gladstone is 4th with a 6.904 on Joe Riccardi's San Marino Excavating Suzuki
I think Kelly Clontz is coveting Gladstone's Trim-Tex helmet...
Andrew Hines is quickest of the new Harleys at 6th with a 6.91
Michael Ray is single handedly blowing up Tejas-based Mi Frijoles
EARLIER: A Friday "Victory" for Matt Smith
Matt Smith (near lane with LE Tonglet on the other side) rode his bike formerly known as a Victory to the top spot of Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying on Friday with a 6.88. Tonglet sits second.
Matt Smith finished atop Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying at the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park with a 6.885 at 195.11 on his bike formerly known as a Victory during his second pass of the day. He is aiming for his 25th career No. 1 qualifier and his first of the season.“We struggled a few weeks ago in Englishtown but we found a few problems and figured it would run better this week,” Smith said. “I think we can still go even faster tomorrow, and I think we have turned a corner now to help be more competitive for the rest of the year.”
LE Tonglet is second after a 6.903 at 193.29 on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki, while Hector Arana Jr. is currently in third after a 6.906 at 193.16.
Rickie Smith continues his successful return to the cockpit by racing to the provisional No. 1 qualifier at the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Real Pro Mod Association, is the eighth of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.
Smith, who sat out four races due to back surgery won the event in Englishtown and raced to a 5.821-second pass at 248.80 mph in his ’15 IDG Chevy Camaro. Due to persistent showers in the area the category had only one qualifying session during the day. "We're running good,” said Smith. “I feel like my knowledge over the years just pays off when you have to make a one-run call on average. I'm not perfect every time. But I think that's the reason I'm No. 1 qualifier right now I made a better call on the racetrack."
Shane Molinari qualified second with a pass of 5.831 at 257.28 in his ’68 Firebird and points leader Mike Castellana qualified third at 5.841 at 246.98 in his ’17 Camaro.
Doug Kalitta leads the Top Fuel category with an elapsed time track record run of 3.709-second pass at 327.43 mph in his Mac Tools dragster during his second session of the day. He is searching for his first No. 1 qualifier on the year, and 48th of his career. “I was hopeful that we would run well and fortunately we had a good tune-up for the track tonight,” Kalitta said. “We’re hoping to turn things around at our home track in front of home fans and we always feel good about coming to Norwalk.”
Brittany Force landed second in Top Fuel qualifying with a 3.714 at 327.66 in her Monster Energy dragster. Current points leader Steve Torrence sits at third in preliminary qualifying, with a 3.715 at 328.46.
Matt Hagan powered to the Funny Car qualifying lead with an elapsed time track record with a 3.865 at 333.33 in his MOPAR Express Lane Dodge Charger during the second qualifying session. He is aiming for his third No. 1 spot of the season to go along with three wins on the year. “We knew we didn’t have anything to lose with the second qualifying session and these conditions tonight made us feel like we could have a great run,” Hagan said. “It’s been a lot of fun to win some races this year and we’re definitely looking to get that points lead back again soon.”
Earlier in the second round, Robert Hight set the track speed record at 334.65 with a 3.870 in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro to sit at second after the preliminary qualifying. Teammate John Force is third currently after a 3.911 at 319.98 in his PEAK Chevy Camaro.
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson holds the top spot after driving to a 6.808 at 208.62 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro during the second session. He is looking for his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 88th of his career. “To be able to get two runs in and run in the night-time conditions is an absolute blast in Norwalk,” Anderson said. “Fortunately we came out on top after day one, so hopefully we can keep that up the rest of the weekend.”
Points leader Bo Butner is currently second after a 6.617 at 208.55 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro. Erica Enders is in third place after a 6.623 at 208.36 in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro.
Friday's results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, 12th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.885, 195.39; 2. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.903, 193.29; 3. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.906, 193.16; 4. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.908, 193.54; 5. Cory Reed, Victory, 6.932, 191.13; 6. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.935, 193.46; 7. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.943, 193.79; 8. Angelle Sampey, Victory, 6.943, 192.49; 9. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.952, 192.28; 10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.981, 192.36; 11. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.998, 190.51; 12. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.031, 189.90; 13. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.050, 190.00; 14. Angie Smith, Buell, 7.111, 190.97; 15. Joe DeSantis, Suzuki, 7.142, 186.25; 16. Odolph Daniels, Suzuki, 7.624, 171.34. Not Qualified: 17. Michael Ray, 11.035, 73.72; 18. Melissa Surber, 13.817, 54.03.
Pro Modified -- 1. Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 5.821, 248.80; 2. Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, 5.831, 257.28; 3. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 5.841, 246.98; 4. Shannon Jenkins, Ford Mustang, 5.843, 246.93; 5. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.846, 244.03; 6. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 5.860, 240.42; 7. Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.867, 253.85; 8. Sidnei Frigo, Corvette, 5.873, 252.61; 9. Michael Biehle, Mustang, 5.884, 250.32; 10. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 5.895, 247.61; 11. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.895, 247.16; 12. Doug Winters, Chevy Chevelle, 6.015, 239.31; 13. Danny Rowe, Corvette, 6.016, 241.54; 14. Mike Knowles, Mustang, 6.041, 240.12; 15. Chuck Little, Corvette, 6.058, 241.50; 16. Mike Janis, Camaro, 6.066, 240.59. Not Qualified: 17. Eric Latino, 6.115, 243.63; 18. Clint Satterfield, 6.145, 245.32; 19. Jim Whiteley, 6.162, 193.29; 20. Dan Stevenson, 6.818, 159.95; 21. Harry Hruska, 7.035, 175.75; 22. Steve Matusek, 8.825, 124.16; 23. Steven Whiteley, 9.136, 99.73; 24. Bob Rahaim, 10.916, 95.15; 25. Chip King, 11.878, 83.35; 26. Ruben Tetsoshvili, 20.973, 28.42.
Top Fuel -- 1. Doug Kalitta, 3.709 seconds, 327.43 mph; 2. Brittany Force, 3.714, 327.66; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.715, 328.46; 4. Leah Pritchett, 3.720, 322.27; 5. Antron Brown, 3.736, 332.26; 6. Clay Millican, 3.741, 322.19; 7. Terry McMillen, 3.750, 323.35; 8. Tony Schumacher, 3.766, 328.38; 9. Mike Salinas, 3.792, 315.71; 10. Scott Palmer, 3.828, 319.14; 11. Dom Lagana, 3.860, 320.51; 12. Pat Dakin, 3.912, 313.95; 13. Ike Maier, 3.952, 263.98; 14. Troy Buff, 3.972, 284.33; 15. Luigi Novelli, 4.429, 186.07; 16. Troy Coughlin Jr., 7.578, 92.35. Not Qualified: 17. Shawn Langdon, 7.844, 95.61.
Funny Car -- 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.865, 333.33; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.870, 334.65; 3. John Force, Camaro, 3.911, 319.98; 4. Jonnie Lindberg, Toyota Camry, 3.922, 323.89; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.925, 329.34; 6. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.930, 324.67; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.943, 318.77; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.974, 321.35; 9. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.982, 317.05; 10. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.119, 238.60; 11. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.144, 236.13; 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.151, 310.91; 13. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.749, 183.19; 14. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 6.361, 115.36; 15. Jack Beckman, Charger, 6.723, 103.40; 16. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, 6.746, 97.38. Not Qualified: 17. Courtney Force, 7.293, 82.58.
Pro Stock Car -- 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.608, 208.62; 2. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.617, 208.55; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.623, 208.36; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.625, 208.55; 5. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.626, 207.43; 6. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.632, 208.26; 7. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.633, 207.72; 8. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.633, 207.56; 9. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.635, 208.17; 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.638, 207.85; 11. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.668, 206.73; 12. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.679, 208.55; 13. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.740, 205.04; 14. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.869, 199.64; 15. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.872, 202.91; 16. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.924, 200.11.
EARLIER: Savoie sidelined by storm, Tonglet just plain stormin'
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Jerry Savoie will have to tend to the alligator farm in the grip of tropical storm Cindy instead of racing at Norwalk this weekend. It's not the first time that dramatic Gulf of Mexico weather has kept hard working Savoie from an NHRA race.
2X 2017 winner LE Tonglet
LE Tonglet knew that teaming up with reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Jerry Savoie would pay off at some point during the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, but the still-young 2010 champ didn’t expect it would come quite this quick. Tonglet won back-to-back races on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki earlier this season and watched Savoie win the most recent PSM race in Englishtown, meaning the team has won three of the four races in the class. It’s an impressive start and one Tonglet hopes to keep going at this weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
“I knew we could win races and be very fast, but I didn’t think it would happen this early,” said Tonglet, who has 12 career wins. “I thought about midway through the season is where we would start doing well. For it to come this early it’s awesome. It builds a lot of confidence on the team. I’ve been extremely satisfied and the whole team is just doing a great job.”
It is the fifth of 16 races during the 2017 Pro Stock Motorcycle season and Tonglet has positioned himself for a run at a second career world championship.He posted wins in Charlotte and Atlanta, and sits just two points back of leader Eddie Krawiec.
Behind the scenes of the first ever All-White Alligator Racing NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Final. Watch this interview with 2016 PSM champion Jerry Savoie and WAR tuner Tim Kulungian.
Tonglet has praised the job crew chief Tim Kulungian has done on both his and Savoie’s bike. Savoie has two No. 1 qualifiers to go along with the victory, while Tonglet posted the quickest qualifying run in Englishtown. “Tim has been great and the hard work has come from everybody,” Tonglet said. “We tested a few times leading up to this year and it just shows what hard work can do. It gives you a lot more confidence. The best thing we can do is be No. 1 and No. 2 entering the (Mello Yello) Countdown to the Championship. That’s going to be our goal. Having both bikes up at the top would be a very big statement, and it should be a fun Countdown season.”
Joining a team has taken some burden off Tonglet’s shoulders, allowing him to focus almost solely on riding. “It took me the longest to get used to not having to work on the bike,” Tonglet said. “That took a lot of stress off me and I feel like it’s helped out. Jerry and I work together very well. We drive each other to do better. If I see him make a good pass, I try to be perfect on mine. It’s just a good team and we’re excited for Norwalk. I enjoy this race a lot and there’s always a huge turnout of fans.”
Of course, Tonglet wants to head into the NHRA’s six-race playoffs on a good note, which means carrying this early-season momentum into Norwalk. Tonglet will have to deal with the likes of four-time race winner Andrew Hines, Scotty Pollacheck, Hector Arana Jr., Joey Gladstone and Karen Stoffer at one of his favorite tracks this weekend.
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Krawiec were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including final eliminations coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, June 25. Langdon will shoot for his first Top Fuel win in 2017, facing off against back-to-back world champ Antron Brown, points leader Steve Torrence and Bristol winner Clay Millican. Defending event winner Capps has been dominant since winning his first Funny Car world championship. He has five victories in 2017, including last weekend in Bristol. Line started 2017 with a win, but he’s chasing points leader Bo Butner and rookie Tanner Gray, who both have two wins this season. In all, eight drivers have won a race in Pro Stock in 2017.
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes its eighth of 12 stops in the 2017 season in Norwalk. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Douthit Motorsports eye lighting Black Pearl Jet Funny Car vs. Pro Jet Motorsports Al Z's Hot Blade Jet Dragster. Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. on Friday, June 23 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 24, at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 25.
MORE NHRA COVERAGE