Tag: southern nationals


Cory Reed was out early at the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, victimized by a rare starting line miscue that disqualified him from a race he wasn’t going to win anyway.

Reed red-lighted in the opening round of eliminations, but opponent L.E. Tonglet, winner of the most recent event and a tenth and a half faster than Reed at this one, ripped off low E.T. of the meet to that point, 6.81, to win handily. After the foul, Reed charged to a 6.92, by far his best run of the weekend.

“I knew I had to go for it to even have a chance, Reed said. “Qualifying with a 7-flat … I didn’t think anyone would be qualifying anywhere all year with a 7-second run. I had to do something. It doesn’t feel quite as bad when the guy who beats you ends up winning the whole race, and he did. He beat everybody.”

For Reed, already known for his lightning-fast reflexes, it wasn’t a matter of being too quick for his own good and missing the Tree by a few thousandths even though he left on yellow. He just left. “I started thinking up there, and that’s never a good idea,” he said. “My hand wasn’t quite where I wanted it, and I was still moving it after I was staged. It was slipping, slipping, and finally I just let it go. I knew it was going to be red when I went by the Tree.”

All is not lost for the 2016 NHRA Rookie of the Year and his all-new Team Liberty, who blew up two motors testing in Charlotte the Monday after the 4-Wide Nationals. “One of them wasn’t that bad,” he said. “It just dropped a valve. The other was completely blown up – there was a rod sticking out the side of it – and that really set us back at this race. We had to run a couple backup motors, and they weren’t quite as good.”

In 2016, the Atlanta race was the first time the rookie rider made the field. This time it was his third in a row – he’s qualified for every race all year. “Power is right around the corner,” he said. “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing. We haven’t had much time to do anything, really. We haven’t done what normal teams do, like run every possible combination on the dyno. We don’t have a dyno. We will, though. We’ve been shooting in the dark. It’s one try on the right piston, one try on the right cam. We’ve got all kinds of good stuff coming. When the power gets here – and it will, soon – we’ll be fine.”


From a 6.95 in the opening session that gave him the early qualifying lead to a .010 reaction in the first official elimination round of his young drag racing career, the NHRA Southern Nationals was easily Cory Reed’s finest outing to date. “I was ready,” Reed said of his first-round matchup with many-time Pro Stock Motorcycle event winner Chip Ellis, who once came within one round of the NHRA championship. “I said I was going to get him on the Tree, and I did. Everybody told me ‘Don’t jinx it’ but I knew I was going to cut a light on him.”

Reed, who made the field in just his third career start, may have been well on the way to his first round-win … until the bike didn’t shift into 3rd gear. “When I left, I thought, ‘I was on it,’ and I never saw him at all. Then it wouldn’t shift and hit the rev-limiter, and I just kept hitting the button, hoping it would go into the next gear. That was going to be a good run, really good. It picked the tire up when I hit 2nd gear – that’s how you can tell.”

Astride an S&S-powered YNot Racing/Star Racing EBR 1190RX, Reed was in the sixes virtually all weekend at Atlanta Dragway, the home race on the NHRA tour for Americus, Ga.-based Star Racing. For Reed, who’s made countless test runs in Valdosta, Ga., and Gainesville, Fla., this race represented his first trips down the 40-year-old course, home of an NHRA national event for the past 35 years.

Reed’s Precision Service Equipment teammate, Angelle Sampey, qualified No. 1 with a 6.86 and ran a career-best 6.79 in the first round for low e.t. of the meet, so clearly the power is there. “We really got my bike figured out this weekend,” Reed said. “Something was dragging – maybe the back brake needs a new hanger – so we switched motors with her to make sure that was the problem. My bike’s going to run a lot better; it has low .80s in it. I was on a low .80 run in the first round – 6.81, 6.82 – until the transmission didn’t shift. The way it was trying to run that time and the way Angelle was running all weekend, I know I can win.”

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