With one 6-second blast after another, Cory Reed went quicker every time he left the starting line at the always unpredictable Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway but just missed making his first NHRA start.
One of four qualifying sessions at the palatial Charlotte, N.C., facility was rained out, but the Pro Stock Motorcycle bump still ended up a brutal 6.91 – just a couple hundredths of a second quicker than Reed’s weekend best of 6.94 on his final attempt. “We definitely could have used that session that got rained out,” he said. “If we’d gotten that last run, it would have been in the .80s for sure.”
It’s a legitimate claim – in testing the day after the race, Reed laid down back-to-back .80s in much less favorable atmospheric conditions than were present for Friday’s and Saturday’s qualifying. “We kept moving in the same direction on Monday that we’d been headed in qualifying,” he said. “We just ran out of runs one run too soon.”
It was Reed’s first experience in the controversial four-wide format, which pits riders side-by-side-by-side-by side for one weekend a year and typically accounts for more starting-line screw-ups than the other 15 NHRA races combined. “It’s crazy,” he said. “Sometimes it’s hard to know which part of the Tree you’re supposed to be looking at. They had to tell me ‘Lane 3’ one time before I pulled up there. Another time, I was trying to figure out where I was on the Tree, and when I found my lane, I realized that I was fully staged and barely got backed out of there in time.”
On his first run ever with three other bikes on the track, Reed finished second of the four riders with a respectable 6.99 at 190 mph. He followed with a better 6.97 at 198 Saturday morning and a 6.94 at 189 Saturday afternoon that left him 29-thousandths of a second short of the bump.
“I wish we could’ve run those .80s we ran Monday during the weekend, when it counted, but it’s all good,” Reed said. “I got to experience the four-wide thing, and it was cool, especially in the shutdown area, when you’re looking across the track and there are all these other guys out there coasting along with you. After what we ran Monday, we know we’re right in there with everybody else, and as long as we can keep the power management like it was then, I think we’re in a good spot going into Atlanta.”