Screamin' to the Finals

Press release from Harley-Davidson:

Milwaukee, WI - In his best performance of the season, GT Tonglet and the Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Pro Stock Bike drag-racing team defeated three tough opponents to make the final at the Sears Craftsman National Hot Rod Association Nationals at Madison, Ill., on June 29. Tonglet saved his best run for last as he posted his best time of the weekend, 7.177 seconds at 185.46 mph, but lost to Geno Scali by a mere 0.0177 seconds, or about five feet.

“We had everything together for that final run, and we needed it because the competition here is so tough,” said the 20-year-old Tonglet. “It’s too bad we didn’t win, but we had a great weekend. The team is feeling really confident now. We’ve got two of the quickest bikes out there. We are going to get a win this season.”

Tonglet was joined in Sunday’s elimination rounds by Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines rider Andrew Hines. Hines qualified sixth with a run of 7.180 seconds and 191.97 mph, a new track top speed record for Pro Stock Bikes at Gateway International Raceway. Tonglet qualified 12th with a time of 7.237 seconds and 183.49 mph.

Hines was eliminated in the first round on Sunday, losing to Mike Berry after a mechanical problem caused him to miss his shift to fifth gear near the end of his run. He was leading at the time.

In his first round, Tonglet (7.183/184.88) beat Fred Collis (7.208/184.50), chasing down the Suzuki rider after Collis got a jump on the start. Collis was the winner of the previous round NHRA Pro Stock Bike event.

In round two, Tonglet advanced after Steve Johnson red lighted for jumping the start. Tonglet’s next opponent was Shawn Gann, the number-one qualifier for the event with a run of 7.168/182.72. Tonglet got an outstanding holeshot and beat Gann’s reaction time, 0.061 to 0.088 to take the win with a run of 7.235/177.65 to Gann’s quicker run of 7.222/186.07.

That put Tonglet in the final round against Scali. According to the National Hot Rod Association, it was the first time a Harley-Davidson-powered bike had made a pro final since 1980, when Ed Ryan advanced that far at Gainesville, Fla.

Tonglet responded with an outstanding reaction time of 0.010 to Scali’s 0.031, and the Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod held on to the lead until just past the 1,200-foot mark, when Scali was able to inch by at the finish.

The next stop for the Pro Stock Bikes on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is the Mopar Mile-High Nationals, July 18-20, in Denver, Colorado.
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George Obradovich
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