Cory Reed’s dream season got a brief jolt when the rookie sensation, a semifinalist (at least) at three of the past four races, came out on the wrong end of a tight first-round match with former world champ Matt Smith at the NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas.

Reed negotiated the infamous narrow groove at the Texas Motorplex for one of his better runs all year, a 6.872, to make the top half of the Pro Stock Motorcycle program for the fourth time in six races. He ran another 6.87 off the trailer and 6.89 later in qualifying but slipped to a 6.92 opposite Smith’s 6.89 for a close loss.

Reed, who’s been living in the teens all year, had another teen reaction time (.013) but actually was edged off the line by the usually more cautious Smith’s perfect .000 – one-thousandth of a second from a red-light disqualification. “I couldn’t really see him because I have blinders on my helmet but I could definitely hear him, so I knew it was going to be close at the finish line,” said Reed, whose Star Racing/YNot Buell crossed .046-second behind Smith’s Victory Gunner. “That’s not we were looking for, obviously, but it’s OK. Overall, the team did good.”

Reed’s Star Racing/YNot teammate, Angelle Sampey, who will be part of his all-new YNot team for 2017, reached the semifinals and now stands third in the Top 10 standings with two races left to go in the six-race Countdown to the Championship.