Tag: bike (Page 1 of 2)

PSM – HOUSTON

Rolling into the Lone Star State for the last NHRA national event ever at Houston Raceway Park, Cory Reed, rider Joey Gladstone, and their nascent Reed Motorsports team stood a career-high third in the NHRA standings. The race didn’t end in a second consecutive semifinal showing, but a quarterfinal finish kept the young team in early title contention and solidified its status as next the next breakthrough first-time winner on the Pro Stock Motorcycle tour.

“We’re learning how to go rounds,” Reed said. “It takes time. Running good in qualifying is one thing; it’s another thing to do it on Sunday. We’re gonna get there and we’re not gonna quit until we do.”

Gladstone, who reached the semifinals at the rain-plagued Gainesville season opener despite (like everyone) never getting a qualifying run, made the most of the three Spring Nationals sessions. Each was a full pull at nearly 200 mph, starting Friday evening with the best one, an off-the-trailer 6.83 at 198 mph, good for No. 2 at the time and No. 4 by the end of the session.

Back-to-back strong runs Saturday set Gladstone up perfectly for Sunday’s eliminations. He wheeled the team’s Suzuki Hayabusa to a pair of respectable runs that weren’t reflected in the final qualifying order but boded well for Sunday – 6.91/199 and 6.84/198. At that point, he was still fifth on the grid, but reigning world champion Matt Smith knocked him back one pair later with a 6.81/199.

As at the only previous NHRA bike race this season, the Gatornationals, Gladstone met Marc Ingwersen in the first round of eliminations, and again he had it from start to finish. Ingwersen threw away any chance he had of winning with an untimely -.147 foul start, but the Reed Motorsports rider was untouchable anyway with a near-perfect .006 reaction time and his quickest run all weekend, 6.82/198.

Opposite career-long nemesis Eddie Krawiec in the quarterfinals, Gladstone was out first again with another great reaction time (.020), but the four-time world champ ran him down before half-track and advanced with one of the quickest runs of the entire round, 6.77/199 to 6.91/197. “It spun,” Gladstone said. “Just obliterated the tire. It was all over right there, but I stayed in it in case something happened to him.”

“It’s not that we tuned it up too much,” Reed said. “It’s that we didn’t tune it down enough [for the conditions]. That’s something you have to learn. And we are.”

PSM – CHARLOTTE 2019

At the Four-Wide Nationals, which racers in every pro category seem to loathe but absolutely fans love, Cory Reed turned in his strongest performance of the 2019 season. The former NHRA Rookie of the Year started off well and got only tougher from there, advancing to the semifinals in easily his finest performance since he landed in his first career final the at the Dodge Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway late in his 2016 Rookie of the Year campaign.

When absurd 40+ mph winds turned two scheduled qualifying attempts Friday at palatial zMax Dragway into a single session, Reed’s YNot/PSE team clocked an off-the-trailer 6.93 at 192 mph that positioned them in the No. 2 spot at the time. Running in the last of five quads with all the top dogs Saturday in Q2/Q3, Reed stepped way up to a 6.84 at 197.28 mph that propelled him into the upper reaches of the Pro Stock Motorcycle stratosphere. Granted one last crack at the track, Reed’s team showed that the 6.84/197 was for real with a consistent 6.89/196 and entered eliminations smack in the middle of the pack.

In the first round, stuck in the middle of theoretically the toughest quad – 1/8/9/16 – Reed advanced, finishing second of the four with a 6.88/195 that trailed No. 1 qualifier Karen Stoffer’s 6.81/197 but was more than enough to top second-generation driver Jim Underdahl’s 6.93 and former YNot teammate Angelle Sampey’s out-of-the-groove 7.13/151. In the semifinals, Reed left with the other three and outran No. 1 qualifier Karen Stoffer’s 6.95 but his right-there 6.91 wasn’t quite enough to deal with eventual runner-up Eddie Krawiec’s 6.85 or upstart Ryan Oehler’s 6.89. “.040 lights – that’s not gonna cut it,” Reed said. “I can do way better than that. I have and I will – to win, I’ll have to.”

PSM – LAS VEGAS 2019

After dropping valves in the second session of Four-Wide Nationals qualifying and more or less levelling the engine, 2016 Rookie of the Year Cory Reed took a quantum leap forward in last-shot qualifying Saturday afternoon with a 6.95 in the thin desert air of Las Vegas that propelled him all the way to the No. 6 spot – higher than he’s qualified since Chicago last June.

“We’ve been thinking we were underpowered, but we’ve been overpowered this whole time,” Reed said. “We toned it down for that last qualifying session and got it down through there for a good run. Just by adding a little timing, the bike picked up three- or four-hundredths [of a second] in the first 60 feet.”

Free to pick any of three of the four lanes for the first round of eliminations and thinking big after an outstanding qualifying performance, Reed seemed better positioned to go rounds than he’s been all year. Instead, he was gone after a single round of eliminations. It certainly wasn’t the best quad he could have hoped for – two of the other three drivers were past world champions (Jerry Savoie and Eddie Krawiec) – but Reed needed only to outrun one of them and No. 14 qualifier Freddie Camarena to advance. He sped across the finish line well ahead of Camarena, as expected, but trailed both Krawiec (6.90) and Savoie (6.94) with a disappointing 7.12.

“That was my fault,” Reed later admitted. “I over-revved 1st gear and ‘double-buttoned’ 2nd, and bam – there goes your whole run. I pulled on Jerry through the middle but ran out of room before the finish line got there. I staged super, super shallow that time, thinking, ‘If I just go green, I can win with another .95,’ but I was thinking too much up there. I had a .046 light – not terrible, but nowhere near what I’m capable of because I had death grip on it as I staged. ” ‘Relax,’ I told myself. But whenever you do that, it’s always right when the tree comes on. I almost short-shifted another gear, but I caught myself and thought, ‘Noooo, don’t do that,’ and ended up hitting the rev-limiter. I just have to get back to what I already know how to do.”

PSM – GAINESVILLE 2019

In their first appearance of the 2019 NHRA season and everyone’s first on Gainesville Raceway’s all-new million-dollar track surface, Cory Reed led early Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying and teammate Joey Gladstone lasted all the way to the semifinals, tying the best finish of his young career.

Reed picked up from his opening 6.93 to a 6.91 at more than 195 mph that miraculously wound up good for only the bump, 16th in a 16-bike field, and paired him up against Andrew Hines, who took the pole with the quickest run in NHRA history, 6.72. Under first-round pressure and lined up opposite the toughest possible opponent, Reed improved still more, dipping into the 6.80s with a 6.87, but Hines was out of reach with another 6.7-second blast, a 6.78.

Two pair ahead of him, Gladstone, matched up with former YNot/PSE team rider Angelle Sampey, shot off the line with a telepathic .002 reaction time for an insurmountable lead on Sampey’s late .120 light on her first official leave with Vance & Hines’ world-famous Harley-Davidson team. Both covered the quarter-mile with nearly identical E.T.s, and Gladstone got the best of a 6.87-6.88 decision not nearly as close as the elapsed times alone would indicate.

“Joey did great,” Reed said of his teammate, who catapulted from the No. 11 qualifying position (6.855), to a spot in the final four. Said Gladstone, “Before I saw the E.T. slip, when I first heard that it was 6.87 to 6.88, I was thinking, ‘Man, I hope I ran the .88 and she ran the .87 so I beat her on a holeshot’. I led the class in reaction-time average with something in the low .020s my first year and have a reputation as the best leaver out here but I’ve never actually won a round on a holeshot.”

After leaving on Sampey and then outrunning her, Gladstone trailered an even bigger name in the quarterfinals – reigning world champ Matt Smith, who knew he was in trouble before he staged and never made it to the finish line. “He was trying to mess with me on the line, but I knew what he was doing, so it didn’t affect me,” said Gladstone, who easily advanced to the semifinals with by far his best run of the weekend, a 6.81. It gave him lane choice over former series champion Eddie Krawiec, who bogged off the line in a lucky 6.92 win over Jimmy Underdahl, who had him beat until his engine blew in high gear.

In the semi’s, Gladstone left on Krawiec and would have made his first final had he not dropped a couple hundredths of a second from his earlier performance in a close but disappointing 6.81-6.85 loss. “That time, I actually felt like I had a good chance to beat Eddie,” Gladstone said. “It gets a little easier as the rounds go on, believe it or not. The pressure actually goes down – at least until you get to the final.”

PSM – POMONA 2018

Back on the bike after team boss Cory Reed had to substitute for him in Las Vegas, Joey Gladstone reeled off some of his best runs of the season and ranked among the top drivers deep into qualifying. After ripping off a 6.88 in the second of four sessions for the No. 5 spot on the provisional grid, Gladstone settled into the No. 11 spot on the final ladder with that time and backed it up with a nearly as good 6.90-flat.

Heading into eliminations, Gladstone had a nice stack of E.T. slips to build from: 6.96/193, 6.88/196, another 6.963/193, and a 6.90/193. His first-round opponent turned out to be about as tough as it gets – 2016 Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Jerry Savoie, but Gladstone was only had a few hundredths of a second behind him, 6.83 to 6.88.

Trying to get a jump on Savoie, who has come out on the wrong end of a few holeshot decisions over the years, an overanxious Gladstone jumped the gun by the invisible margin of just 1/50th of a second. His -.023 red-light start invalidated a 7.01 at 192 mph and advanced the always-tough alligator farmer from the bayous of Mississippi, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a run that would have been hard to get around anyway, 6.83. It was a disappointing end to the 2018 season for Gladstone, but with a full-time ride with Team Liberty for the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello campaign, there are bigger and better things ahead.

PSM – CHARLOTTE 2018

In his fifth start astride Cory Reed’s Team Liberty Buell, Yellow Corn rider Joey Gladstone got faster and faster in almost every qualifying session and entered Carolina Nationals eliminations primed to give Vance & Hines test rider Chip Ellis all he could handle. Gladstone got off the line within thousandths of a second of the 2008 championship runner-up, but that was the last time he was in the race.

Ellis pulled away with an outstanding 6.77 – low e.t. of the entire event – while Gladstone could only watch him increase his lead with every shift after bogging hard off the line. Qualified 15th and down exactly a tenth of a second heading into their first-round heat, Gladstone wasn’t exactly the favorite against the No. 2 seed, but Ellis doubled the distance between them in qualifying (6.80 to 6.90) to an insurmountable two-tenths of a second, 6.77 to 6.97.

But despite entering eliminations in the second-to-last spot, Gladstone wasn’t out of contention. He’d already outpaced five non-qualifiers to make the Sunday field and stepped it up in virtually every session of qualifying with times of 7.01/193, 6.99/193, 6.90/192, and 6.92/194. For a No. 15 qualifier, he wasn’t far from the top – less than a tenth of a second, actually, with a 6.903 to No. 1 Eddie Krawiec’s 6.806 – but against low E.T. of the meet, no one would’ve had a chance.

PSM – LAS VEGAS 2016

As he has at eight of past 11 races in his amazing rookie season, Cory Reed drove deep into eliminations at the NHRA Toyota Nationals, defeating, of all people, PSE/Star Racing/YNot teammate Angelle Sampey on a first-round holeshot – his specialty all year.

Reed, who reached the Pro Stock Motorcycle semifinals at Indy and St. Louis and was runner-up at Maple Grove, charged off The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting line with a telepathic reaction time (.009, just nine-thousandths of a second from a perfect light) to upend Sampey’s quicker 6.97 with a 6.99. She was going faster at the finish line, 191.59 mph to 190.32, but he got there first by exactly 1/30th of a second, which, at more than 190 mph, is about a bike length.

Sampey, who will join Reed on the newly formed Team Liberty Racing operation as a team manager and fellow rider in 2017, qualified higher than her young teammate with a 6.96 at 191.81 mph, good for the No. 5 spot on the 16-bike ladder. Reed was No. 12 with a 7-flat at 188 after unerringly consistent qualifying runs of 7.07/187.26, 7.00/188.86, 7.06/184.57, and 7.07/188.15.

With just a single event left in the 16-race season and six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff, Reed is holding steady in the seventh spot in the national standings and has to be considered the frontrunner for the 2016 NHRA Rookie of the Year award.

PSM – READING 2016

Cory Reed’s drag racing career continued its upward trajectory at the Dodge NHRA Nationals, where he reached his first Pro Stock Motorcycle final with a semifinal holeshot on many-time world champ and yearlong points leader Andrew Hines, 6.90 to 6.85.

“I honestly felt like I won the whole race right there,” he said. “I was happy enough to go home then. To win when you know you have the slower bike … that’s just a big accomplishment.”

From qualifying for his very first race to winning a round in his second start, to going rounds at eight of the next nine races, to his clutch semifinal finish at the U.S. Nationals, the last race of the regular season, to two semifinals and now a final-round appearance in his first three races of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Reed is looking more and more like NHRA’s 2016 Rookie of the Year.

“My mom was hoarse for yelling and screaming on the starting line and my dad came up and hugged me and said he was proud of me,” Reed said. “The whole thing was nuts. One run to qualify, and then you’re in the final.”

Persistent on-and-off rain for the first three days at Maple Grove Raceway in the rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania reduced qualifying to a nerve-wracking one-shot format. With an off-pace 7.28, Reed’s Star Racing/YNot Buell squeaked into the field in the No. 13 position, the lowest the team has qualified since Sonoma. They took off from there, dispatching surprise No. 4 qualifier Melissa Surber in the first round, 6.86 to 6.90, and 2009 world champ Hector Arana Sr. in the quarterfinals with the first of back-to-back holeshots, 6.91 to 6.89.

After never getting to the semi’s in his young career before the U.S. Nationals, Reed has now advanced that far at three of the past four races. Last week, it was many-time world champ Eddie Krawiec whom he upset in the second round; this week it was Krawiec’s Vance & Hines/Harley-Davidson teammate, Hines, whom he beat for yet another career-first, his first final.

Reed faced long odds in that one – Krawiec had run quicker on his worst run all weekend than Reed had ever run in his life – but Reed cut an even better light against Krawiec, .015, than he had against Hines in the semifinals (.019). He was out of it early when Krawiec had an on-time .026 reaction time and drove right by for a 6.81 to 6.95 win.

“I knew before I got up there that Eddie would have to screw up on the Tree – red light or cut an .085 light or something – for me to win,” Reed said. “I knew I still had to have a good light and hit my shift points, and I did. There was nothing I could do, so when I pulled my helmet off down there at the end, I had a smile on my face.”

PSM – ST. LOUIS 2016

Just across the river from downtown St. Louis in Madison, Ill., Rookie of the Year candidate Cory Reed enjoyed his finest outing to date at the AAA Nationals at multipurpose Gateway Motorsports Park.

Reed’s Star Racing/YNot Buell got faster run after run in qualifying kept it up well into eliminations, where he advanced to the semifinals for the second time in his career and the second time in the past three races. At Indy, the last race of the regular season, a clutch semifinal performance catapulted Reed into the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. This time, it helped him climb to a career-high ninth in the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle standings, just ahead of two-time world champ Matt Smith.

“The bike ran good all weekend, until the semi’s,” said Reed, who fell just short of his first final-round appearance when his machine inexplicably slowed a full tenth of a second opposite eventual winner Jerry Savoie. “Something tightened up somewhere – a bearing or the brakes or something was hung up. I could feel it.”

It was a storybook weekend up to that point, with a quicker E.T. showing up on the Gateway scoreboards five times in a row. Reed got things rolling with a 6.951 and a 6.915 on Friday and improved to a 6.910 and a finally a 6.884 that locked up a spot in the fast half of the field for the third time in the past four races.

Reed, who beat L.E. Tonglet in Chicago and lost to him last week in Chicago, put away the former world champ in the opening round with an even quicker 6.873, the second-quickest official run of his career. The bike finally slowed in the quarterfinals, but not nearly enough to cost Reed the round against two-time world champ Eddie Krawiec, the second-ranked rider in the NHRA standings heading into the playoffs and runner-up for the 2015 championship.

“I figured he’d press the Tree,” said Reed of their first head-to-head meeting ever. “Nothing’s ever been said – it was all cordial, all good – but there’s an unspoken beef between the Harley guys and us and I really wanted to cut a teen light on him.” He did, with a .016 reaction time that gave him a two-hundredths advantage going by the Tree, an edge he maintained all the way to the finish line for a 6.921 to 6.925 win, the biggest of his young career.

The rookie was finally toppled in the semifinals, when his bike slipped to a 7.02 – well short of Savoie’s winning 6.92. “Everything else was good early – our 60-foot time and 330-foot times even better than his,” said Reed, who’s now just two points out of eighth place and one round out of seventh. “I have blinders on my helmet, so I can’t really tell if I’m ahead or behind unless the other guy’s way out there, but somewhere before the finish line, I saw him ahead of me. That’s OK. Getting to the semi’s is great. That’s twice now. Now they know we can do it.”

PSM – CHARLOTTE 2016

Cory Reed cut a .002 reaction time in the first round at the Carolina Nationals, but his near-perfect light was completely overshadowed by the magnitude of his announcement following the event: He’s leaving George Bryce’s Star Racing to form his own Pro Stock Motorcycle team, and taking his teammate, 2000-02 NHRA world champ Angelle Sampey, with him.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Reed said of the newest YNot Racing race team, which joins brother Steven and father Jim Whiteley on the YNot Pro Mod team and mom Annie Whiteley, a perennial Top 5 player in the NHRA standings, on the YNot Top Alcohol Funny Car team. “All the details will come out later. Right now, we need to get this motorcycle running good again.”

With a 6.91 at 192.66 mph, Reed qualified No. 12 at zMax Dragway, the first race of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. “I had .030 lights both times in the right lane because there’s like a little hill right behind where you’re staging,” he said. “It rolls you forward, and that can mess you up. It happened again when I got the right lane for first round, but I knew it was going to happen and was prepared for it.”

Reed had a .009 reaction time on another qualifying lap and, when it really counted, a telepathic .002 in the first round of eliminations. That wasn’t nearly enough against No. 5 qualifier and former world champ L.E. Tonglet, who rode away from him with for an easy 6.88 to 6.99 win.

“My shift points were good, more consistent than ever, and I rode consistent all weekend, but the bike wouldn’t come to us,” said Reed, who hadn’t been beaten in the first round since Englishtown – seven races ago. “We put a new tire on it, but the 60-foot times never did come around. I’m not sure what the deal is.”

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