Though not discernible strictly from the results of the Summernationals, Cory Reed’s all-new Team Liberty continued its season-long rise at the NHRA event just outside New York City in Englishtown, N.J. Reed and his teammate, three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Angelle Sampey, both made the cut, as they have at every race so far this year – a perfect eight-for-eight combined.

“It’s been our goal from the day we decided to start this team: qualify for every single race, both of us,” Reed said. “We knew how tough this was going to be – when you start a whole new team from the ground up, it always is.”

Competing in easily the toughest class in professional drag racing, one that attracts more than 20 entries at every stop on tour, Reed has qualified as high as 11th on the grid. At Englishtown, he qualified just 15th despite recording an excellent 6.895 that tied his best run of the season right to the thousandth of a second.

Opposite eventual winner Jerry Savoie, the reigning NHRA world champ, in the opening round of eliminations, Reed moved first with an outstanding .017 reaction time, but it all came crashing down not far past the Christmas Tree when his bike refused to shift into 2nd gear. “I hit the button three times and finally just rolled off the throttle,” he said. “Then my scoop started falling off – it actually hit me in the leg. Jerry was so far ahead there was no way I could catch him, so I shut off.”

Reed’s 6.895 in qualifying actually wasn’t his best run of the year – just his best official run. In testing, he’s gone as quick as a 6.87, which Sampey recently eclipsed with an even better 6.85. “We keep track of that stuff,” he said. “It’s all written down on a board in our trailer, and it’s always really competitive between Angelle and me. The team found some new stuff this weekend – we always do. Every run we make at a national event is really another test run, and every race we go to we figure out something else that’ll help us down the road.”