Venturing into the shark-infested waters of in-house engine building for the first time, Cory Reed and Team Liberty pulled off a debut that could only be termed a success at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at “America’s Race Track,” Summit Raceway Park in Norwalk, Ohio. Reed and teammate Joey Gladstone, who made the painful decision to skip Chicago to focus entirely on to the unimaginable leap to being their own engine builders, exceeded their stated goal of coming back at Denver by making it to Norwalk.

“I definitely didn’t expect to be here,” Reed said. “This is all of us together – [crew chief/tuner] Cecil [Towner], Joey, me, everybody under this awning. We all contribute. We never thought we’d make it back before Denver, but everything looked good when we dynoed our stuff, so we thought, ‘What the hell? Let’s go to Norwalk.’ We used to make peak power at 7,000 [rpm]. We leave at almost 7,000. Now, we’re making peak power at about 10,000, and these things spend a lot more time up around 10,000 than they do at 7,000, so we figured we’d run better than we were and we are.”

Opposite Angie Smith, wife of reigning NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith, for the first time in his career, Reed was off like a shot with a .028 reaction time in the first round and a 1.06-second 60-foot time, his best all weekend. “That told me the clutch tune-up was back where it should be,” he said. “At the 330-foot mark, I could tell I was in front of her. At 660 feet [half-track], she was driving up on me. She was definitely moving on me at 1,000 feet and probably had a good bike on me at the finish line. I thought I could win with a .020-something light and I had one, but I guess we still need to run better. I don’t even care. We’re leaving here with the motors we came with. We didn’t tear anything up all weekend, and that was our whole goal: stop hurting parts.”