YNot Racing’s newest driver, Joey Gladstone, qualified solidly in the middle of the pack at the NHRA Fallnationals in Dallas but bowed out early with a tough first-round loss at the hands of 2016 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Jerry Savoie. Negotiating the notoriously narrow groove at the all-concrete Texas Motorplex in the first pair of the first round, Gladstone slipped to a 7.02 at 191.13 mph – 2 mph and about a tenth of a second slower than he ran in qualifying, where he was just a tick behind Savoie.

“There’s not one thing we could point a finger at on that run,” Gladstone said. “I short-shifted 2nd gear a little – that probably knocked a couple hundredths off of it – but it just fell off from qualifying. I think the motor was hurt little when we got up there. The air/fuel ratio was good, the EGTs [exhaust-gas temperatures] were good; it just wasn’t pulling as hard as it had been earlier in the weekend.”

The numbers bear that out: after opening with a strong 6.94 at 193 mph Friday afternoon, the Buell-powered YNot machine’s performance steadily but gradually diminished, from a 7.04/192 Friday evening to a 7.05/191 Saturday afternoon to a 7.03/192 in the fourth and final qualifying session. “Something internally is wrong with the engine – we don’t know what it is,” said Gladstone, who eventually finished in the No. 10 qualifying slot with a 6.94, just a hundredth of a second behind Savoie’s seventh-best 6.93. “Whatever it is, it’ll be right by the time we get to Charlotte.”