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.”