Savoie Finishes Great WAR Weekend at 4wide

Jerry Savoie won Pro Stock Motorcycle at the ninth annual NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. He earned his ninth career victory and first at zMAX Dragway when he ran a 6.784 at 195.73 on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki in the final round. He bested Andrew Hines, Scotty Pollacheck and Matt Smith in the final round to lock down his first victory since Brainerd last season.

“We struggled all weekend, but my team worked really hard to get things right so we went out and gave it all we got and figured some things out,” Savoie said.

“My reaction times on this bike are traditionally not great, but I was able to do pretty well today and we had the power on this bike to get a win.”

Here’s a Facebook live interview with Jerry:

WAR tuner Tim Kulungian did a great job matching the performance of Savoie and Tonglet’s Suzukis. This is from round 1.
Flyin’ Ryan Oehler had a most excellent weekend, beating Eddie Krawiec on a holeshot and advancing to round 2.
Joey Gladstone’s bike struggled to shift into high gear. “I went towards the centerline because I was pounding the button trying to get it to shift,” said Gladstone, his transmission spread all over a table at the pit.
Karen Stoffer qualified 13th, lost in E1
Angie Smith and Denso rep Lisa Michler
Pro Mod final
Funny Car final with winner Cruz Pedregon in second lane
Indy’s Dwayne Lang makin’ it all happen on the starting line

SATURDAY: LE, the Gator, and the Fish are Back in Front

How relaxed does this guy look? LE Tonglet is clearly happy to be back at the sharpest end of the field on the WAR Suzuki

LE Tonglet, in his first race back with the White Alligator Racing (WAR) Pro Stock Motorcycle team owned by 2016 world champ Jerry Savoie, raced to the No. 1 position with his run of 6.812 at 196.99 in the third round of qualifying for the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.

Tonglet is the defending event winner, the 2010 category champion, and earned his sixth career top position on the KPK/Nitrofish Suzuki.  “The success is all on team WAR and we couldn’t do it without them,” said Tonglet. “They build an awesome team, a really good program, and I’m just fortunate to be part of it.

“The bike is flying and I’m looking forward to going three rounds tomorrow. This is the only track I can say that. We just need to go out there and get win lights at the other end and I feel like I can do that.”

Tonglet will square off in the first quad against his teamowner Savoie, Jimmy Underdahl, and Hector Arana Jr.

PSM Qualifying Results

PSM Ladder

Tonglet will have to race teammate Jerry Savoie in the first quad. Savoie qualified 8th with a 6.841
Scotty Pollacheck is qualified third with a 6.816, just Eddie Krawiec’s 6.814—what an incredibly tight field!
Faced with a warmer Saturday, Cory Reed seemed to be pretty well set after leading Friday evening’s cool evening session. But Reed dropped all the way to 7th on Saturday as warmer temps were offset by unseasonably dry air. Either way, Team Liberty Racing has turned a corner with the addition of Jim Yates and Larry Morgan.
Hector Arana Sr. qualified strong in 5th. His first round quad is against Andrew Hines, Angelle Sampey and Karen Stoffer
Joey Gladstone and Steve Johnson both ran 6.866, but Joey’s 196 trap speed put him in 10th ahead of Stevie J.
Mark Paquette switched from a Motec to a Marelli this year and could probably use some testing time to get fully acquainted with operating, tuning and riding his Victory. Paquette missed his fuel settings a time or two and finished just outside of the field in 17th.
Jerry Savoie shows Scotty Pollacheck the proper way to squeeze a tail….
….Savoie then admires Scotty’s wife Susan’s style in eating a tail
Meanwhile, Angelle Sampey—another good Cajun—shows how to properly suck the head of a crawfish
Not to be outdone, Ade Casanola demonstrates how to properly clean a pork bone
FRIDAY: Reed Tops Big V-Twin Second Round at 4-Wide
Going back to Buell bodywork paid off instantly for Cory Reed

Cory Reed raced to the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying lead of the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

Reed notched his  during the second session with a pass of 6.838 at 193.54 on his Fireade/Team Liberty Racing Buell. The 2016 Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner is aiming for his first career No. 1 qualifying position.

“The thing took off and it was a rocket ship,” said Reed. “It was as smooth of a ride that I have had in a long time. I knew I was going fast and it was super smooth.”

 
 A rules change that took the Victory nameplate off of the S&S gen 2 engine allows teams to fit the motor with Buell bodywork—and Team Liberty jumped at the chance.

The top five qualifiers—and six of the top seven—are all V-Twins.

I used to think drama was mostly a Pro Mod thing, but there’s gobs of drama to go around at this event. Read on…

Steve Johnson, shown here with his man Jock, showed great style by knocking LE Tonglet off the top spot in Q1 with a 6.866. Those of you who don’t know the story regarding these two and this race season should consult https://www.eatmyink.com/2018/04/war-family-back-together/
For a moment it was a dream round for LE Tonglet and his return to White Alligator Racing. His 6.882 led until Johnson, Eddie Krawiec and Scotty Pollacheck knocked him off.

But the REAL drama was the complete meltdown of the Joe Riccardi/Matt Smith/Kelly Clontz team.
Before the Gators, Chris Clontz couldn’t stop gushing about his brotherly relationship with Joe Riccardi. Kelly’s husband, Clontz worked as Riccardi’s wrench hand all of last season. But this new relationship—that had the Clontz’s paying to race with Riccardi—didn’t last through the Gators weekend before the Clontz’s moved their equipment to Smith’s trailer.
As often happens in race team divorces, there was a disagreement about whose stuff is whose. It got ugly between Joe Riccardi and Chris Clontz.
Matt Smith—who had his own disagreements with Riccardi about whose stuff is whose—attempted to mediate the fight between Riccardi and Clontz. Smith thought he had it worked out with Riccardi to have everything separated by Atlanta. But Matt was also already frustrated with the Suzuki, especially after laying down a wicked lap at darlington on his Victory.
Not being a part of Matt’s Victory effort and fearing he would somehow get screwed out of his new Vance & Hines bike, Riccardi had Smith’s guys woken at 5am Friday to unblock his truck and he left the track—for good?
There’s something going on over at the neighbors…

Kelly Clontz gets 4-Wide starting line advice from Angie Smith
But Clontz is in grave danger of not being able to use any Christmas tree advice as she sits last in the order. “Both Q1 and Q2 the bike made a hard left!” Clontz said on Facebook and she wasn’t kidding. The bike nearly threw her off at the hit. “We will make another change and see what happens.”

Melissa Surber is also struggling with her launches
Ade Casanola, Cara Marie and their posse cruising the pits for trouble

story and photos by Tim Hailey  with help from NHRA and team reports

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