Tag: PSB (Page 1 of 2)

PSM – SONOMA 2019

Cory Reed went 1-for-4 in Sonoma Nationals qualifying, but in drag racing a single solid pass in four attempts always counts for infinitely more than four consistent but unspectacular runs. On the shores of San Pablo Bay just north of San Francisco at Sonoma Raceway, under diametrically opposite conditions than what Pro Stock Motorcycle racers encountered days earlier on the edge of the Rocky Mountains outside Denver, Reed’s weekend began with a thud with a 7.17 at 189 mph that ended with oil in his wake.

Q2 Friday afternoon didn’t go much better. Again the Team Liberty machine bogged on the launch, killing the run and limiting him to a 7.26/179 time slip doomed from the start by a sluggish 1.18-second 60-foot time. The team’s hard work paid off the following day when Reed turned in one of his finest performances since Charlotte, a 6.89 at more than 195 mph that propelled him well into the middle of the pack, just one spot shy of the fast half of the field. Despite a disappointing 7.14/188 on his fourth and final attempt, Reed held onto the No. 9 spot and faced Top 10 rider “Flyin’ Ryan” Oehler in theoretically the closest matchup of the first round – No. 8 vs. No. 9.

It lived up to advance billing – almost. Separated by just three-thousandths of a second heading into eliminations, both drivers nearly duplicated their quickest runs all weekend, Reed with a 6.92 and Oehler with a 6.89. Had he let the clutch handle fly 1/200th of a second later, Reed would have won on a holeshot with a perfect .000 reaction time. Instead, he got a -.005 red-light and Oehler was the one who moved on. “You have to go for it when you’re running that close,” he said. “It felt good when I left – I knew it had to be close.”

PSM – NORWALK 2019

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.”

PSM – ATLANTA 2019

Right off the trailer at Atlanta Dragway, which has hosted major events since the IHRA glory days of the 1970s, Cory Reed sped to a 6.98 at more than 192 mph that qualified him No. 3 at the time. Following an aborted 14-second time in the second session opposite veteran Karen Stoffer, he rolled silently across the finish line in the never-good upright position at 49 silent mph in Q3 and entered last-shot qualifying an uncustomarily low 12th on the provisional grid, eyeing something in the low 6.90s or high 6.80s on his final attempt.

Instead, Reed’s bike registered an unfulfilling 7.01 at 191 mph and he entered eliminations in the No. 12 qualifying spot. PSE/YNot teammate Joey Gladstone finished a couple spots ahead of him, 10th in the final order with an aggregate best of 6.94/193.99. Between them was 2009 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Hector Arana Sr., who clocked in at 6.95/194.55.

Reed, who has never had any luck against 2016 world champion Jerry Savoie, his first-round foe, blasted off the line with a clutch .026 light, but for once he didn’t get the best of even that battle. Savoie, never known for his reaction times, outdid him with an even better .013 bulb and pulled away for a 6.91/192 to 7.01/191 round-win, his fifth in five head-to head-matchups with the former motocross racer. To compound the YNot’s team’s frustration, Gladstone came out on the wrong end of a hard-fought first-round encounter with Ryan Oehler in which both drivers cut killer .015 lights, 6.92/195 to 6.95/192, despite holding the lead to half-track.

PSM – ST. LOUIS 2018

Seemingly outgunned against the top-ranked rider in Pro Stock Motorcycle all year, reigning NHRA world champ Eddie Krawiec, Joey Gladstone upset his heavily favored opponent, who handed over a first-round win with the most aggravating red-light of all, a -.001. “I was squatting behind the beams,” said Gladstone’s boss, Team Liberty leader Cory Reed. “They left, and I never even noticed the red-light in Eddie’s lane. I watched them go down the track and thought, ‘Dammit, we lost,’ and then somebody yelled, ‘Wait, he red-lighted!’ ”

Gladstone was outqualified by his much more accomplished foe by a full nine spots – No. 4 to No. 13 – but those numbers are somewhat misleading. Gladstone actually was right there alongside Krawiec in the 6.80s, 6.82 to 6.89, and the same numbers flashed on the scoreboards when they raced – 6.82 for Krawiec and 6.89 for Gladstone – but the win-light shone on Gladstone’s side of the track. “The bike is running better now than it would be if I was on it because of Joey’s weight – 135 pounds,” Reed said. “I weigh 150. In this class, that makes me a fat guy. It’s funny, the different emotions you feel watching someone else riding your bike, but it doesn’t bother me that much. It’s all about taking the next step, ’cause I’m tired of getting my ass kicked.

“Joey keeps making good passes,” Reed said, “and we keep learning more than we ever would if I was on there – the way the clutch works, way the tire hits, the way the wheelie bar works … when Joey’s on there, the weight transfer is what it’s supposed to be. When I’m on there, everything’s all wrong – it works right one time and doesn’t the next, and we never know why. When we get the new bike, it’ll be like 40 pounds lighter and we’ll be able to move weight around and have everything exactly the way we want it.”

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 – 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 – INDY 2016

In the final event of the 10-race regular season, in the best race of his young drag racing career, Pro Stock Motorcycle rookie Cory Reed catapulted over three other riders to move from 13th place into the Top 10 and into championship contention.

Reed qualified in the fast half of the field yet again and drew 10th-ranked Steve Johnson in a titanic head-to-head first-round matchup that meant the end of a potential title run for the loser. Reed was off the line like a shot with a .027 reaction time and drove away from Johnson, 6.93 to 7.06, and just like that, he was on the doorstep of the Countdown.

“I knew what I had to do before we ever got here: go one round further than Michael Ray, Karen Stoffer, and Steve Johnson,” Reed said. “I figured if we got to the semi’s I was in, but it turned out that I just had to get to the second round because everybody else lost first round. I watched Ray lose [to eventual runner-up Hector Arana Jr.] right in front of me, so that was one. I was running Johnson, so if I won he was automatically out. So then I just needed Karen to lose.”

She accommodated him with a loss to perennial championship contender Eddie Krawiec, 6.83 to 6.89 – but first Reed had to get around the wily Johnson, who has more starts than anyone in NHRA bike history. “Steve’s always been nice to me,” Reed said, “but I thought he’d try to play a game on the line – that’s his style – but he didn’t roll it back out of the beams or try anything.”

Reed had the lead from start to finish, and by the time he returned to the PSE/Star Racing pits, he was in the Countdown. “What I didn’t get was why nobody else seemed to know it,” he said. “I won first round, they all lost – I knew I was in.”

To put an exclamation point on the accomplishment, Reed, who had reached the quarterfinals at five of the past six races, took it one step further with a first career semifinal finish, topping teammate Angelle Sampey, who fouled away a 6.92. Reed’s .013 reaction time and quicker 6.88 meant that he actually got to the finish line first anyway.

In the semi’s, Reed fouled by the narrowest possible margin – one-thousandth of a second – against Arana, but by then the war had already been won: he was in the Countdown to the Championship. Now instead of trailing the points leader by an insurmountable 596 rounds, Reed finds himself just 110 points out of the lead because of the controversial Countdown format, which erases the points racers have accumulated all season and separates everyone in the Top 10 by just 10 points per position.

Now, anything can happen. “I really think making the Top 5 is a realistic goal, but I’m a racer – I want to win the championship,” he said. “We’re almost as fast as the Harleys now – maybe the next-fastest ones after them – and I do a little better with pressure, so we’ll see what happens. I definitely want to win at least one race.”

PSM – BRAINERD 2016

At the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., for the fifth time in the last six races, Cory Reed advanced to the quarterfinals. It has him on the brink of the Top 10 with one more race before the Countdown to the Championship playoffs begin, but Reed was more frustrated at the way he lost than pleased to have advanced that deep in eliminations again.

“I was ahead of him the whole way until the bike didn’t shift,” said Reed of his opponent, reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle national champ Andrew Hines, the most prolific rider in bike history with 45 career event titles. “It made the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts just fine, but it wouldn’t go into 4th gear.”

Reed, who left on Michael Ray in the first round of eliminations with a near-perfect .007 reaction time and pulled away with a career-best 6.83, was out on Hines, too, with a .011. Hines, the eventual winner, got the win with just a 6.89 – almost certainly slower than what Reed would’ve run had his bike just gone into gear.

“This is the first loss all year where I’ve been genuinely pissed off,” Reed said. “I mean, I’m still mad. It sucks that it played out the way it did because I knew I was ahead of him. I knew I got a good light – I could just tell – and it was weird because I could hear him over there and knew he was behind me. I probably hit the button five or six times and just rode it out on the chip for a while, then laid my head down on the tank. The one good thing that came out of all of this is that the bike keeps getting faster and faster.”

Reed opened qualifying with a 6.98 and got only quicker from there, with a 6.92 Friday night in the second qualifying session, a 6.89 Saturday morning, and a 6.88 in last-shot qualifying that slotted him in the No. 7 position on the eliminator ladder, tying the career high he established earlier this season at Norwalk. The 6.83 in the first round was the quickest official run of his career by a full five-hundredths of a second. “We picked up points on some people,” Reed said. “I’m just one round out of the Countdown now, so we have real chance at this with one race left.”

PSM – SONOMA 2016

Cory Reed’s rocket ride to the top of Pro Stock Bike racing took a slight detour at the event he was looking forward to more than any other this year, the Sonoma Nationals, where instead of racing more than a mile above sea-level as he had one week earlier at Denver, he competed at the much lower – and faster – altitude of just 15 feet.

Reed picked up more than three-tenths of a second from Denver, where, for the third race in a row, he advanced to the quarterfinals, but a 6.93 at nearly 190 mph that at the time had him 10th in the field in the end left him a few hundredths of a second short of the fastest field in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle history. The bump was 6.90-flat, and 15 of the 16 were in the 6.80s, where Reed was sure his PSE/Star Racing bike would have been had he gotten his final qualifying shot.

“The little clip that holds all the gears in place popped out,” said Reed, who was shut off behind the line and didn’t even get his last shot at cracking the field – right when the conditions were perfect. “That put it into fifth gear on the burnout, and burned out the gear. It got fused up because it was stuck in fifth.”

Unlike in Denver when all appeared to be lost in a similarly stressful behind-the-line situation and he made it to the line in time to whip Shawn Gann in the first round of eliminations, this time Reed could only watch veteran Steve Johnson disappear into the distance while his bike sat silenced behind the line. “The TPS [throttle-position sensor] was bad, and when you take off and the TPS quits, it kills the transmission. It’s too bad. It was a brand-new transmission. We put one in that already had something wrong with it – that was the crappy part. We felt like there was no way we wouldn’t qualify, and then that happened.”

It was a bitter pill to swallow after pretty much doing better every time out this year. “I was starting to get used to it,” Reed said. “We were trying some new stuff Friday because we knew we had two shots Saturday if it didn’t work. We thought we were good.” There’s still time for a charge into the Top 10 and even a shot at the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Though the NHRA season is two-thirds of the way over, the Pro Stock Motorcycles are barely halfway through, and they’ll be at every race until the end of the season.

PSM – DENVER 2016

Cory Reed’s Pro Stock Motorcycle career continued its upward spiral at his “home” track, Bandimere Speedway, the one-of-a-kind facility carved into the side of the easternmost ridge of the Rocky Mountains just outside Denver. Qualified 9th of more than 20 riders, Reed reached the quarterfinals for the third time in a row – somehow.

“I started doing my burnout and thought, ‘Hey that’s a lot of smoke. That’s kinda weird,’ ” Reed said of his first-round matchup with veteran Shawn Gann. “The next thing I know, there’s fire right underneath my handlebars. The main power line shorted out, and I thought ‘I’m done for sure. There’s no way, I know it.’ They tried one last time, and just as the starter was about to turn around and shut me off, it worked.”

Granted the last-second reprieve, Reed made the most of it, getting the jump on Gann by a full three-hundredths of a second and driving away for a 7.23 to 7.27 win. The 7.23 was the fifth-quickest run of the round, the highest Reed has ranked in any elimination round or qualifying session in his brief seven-race career. “I can’t believe Shawn waited that long – that was cool of him,” Reed said. “I thanked him four or five times. I seriously thought it was all over right there.”

It really was over in the quarterfinals when one of the throttle blades broke and closed. Reed had just gotten off the starting line side by side with eventual winner Andrew Hines, who also spent his high school years in Colorado, in Trinidad, but the race was over before the 100-foot mark when his bike started sputtering and slowed. “I just shut it off,” Reed said. “He kinda got lucky. He ran a .23, and I was about to run a .20.”

Still, it was another successful weekend for the PSE/Star Racing team, which maintained its place just outside the Top 10 in the championship standings, ahead of former national event champions Hector Arana Jr., Michael Phillips, and Gann. “I’m don’t want to sound overconfident, but I honestly think it’s feasible to be in the Top 10 by Indy,” Reed said. “Other people are starting to struggle, and we’re moving up. [Star Racing team owner George Bryce] can bounce the tune-ups from my bike and [teammate] Angelle Sampey]’s bike off each other. It helps us both. Her bike keeps going faster and faster, and that means my mine’s going to, too.”

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