Seemingly outgunned against the top-ranked rider in Pro Stock Motorcycle all year, reigning NHRA world champ Eddie Krawiec, Joey Gladstone upset his heavily favored opponent, who handed over a first-round win with the most aggravating red-light of all, a -.001. “I was squatting behind the beams,” said Gladstone’s boss, Team Liberty leader Cory Reed. “They left, and I never even noticed the red-light in Eddie’s lane. I watched them go down the track and thought, ‘Dammit, we lost,’ and then somebody yelled, ‘Wait, he red-lighted!’ ”
Gladstone was outqualified by his much more accomplished foe by a full nine spots – No. 4 to No. 13 – but those numbers are somewhat misleading. Gladstone actually was right there alongside Krawiec in the 6.80s, 6.82 to 6.89, and the same numbers flashed on the scoreboards when they raced – 6.82 for Krawiec and 6.89 for Gladstone – but the win-light shone on Gladstone’s side of the track. “The bike is running better now than it would be if I was on it because of Joey’s weight – 135 pounds,” Reed said. “I weigh 150. In this class, that makes me a fat guy. It’s funny, the different emotions you feel watching someone else riding your bike, but it doesn’t bother me that much. It’s all about taking the next step, ’cause I’m tired of getting my ass kicked.
“Joey keeps making good passes,” Reed said, “and we keep learning more than we ever would if I was on there – the way the clutch works, way the tire hits, the way the wheelie bar works … when Joey’s on there, the weight transfer is what it’s supposed to be. When I’m on there, everything’s all wrong – it works right one time and doesn’t the next, and we never know why. When we get the new bike, it’ll be like 40 pounds lighter and we’ll be able to move weight around and have everything exactly the way we want it.”