Baytown: Tom Bradford Friday summary

Bradford Beats the Humidity For two weeks, Tom Bradford has beaten himself up over losing in round 1 of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle competition at the Gatornationals with a bad light. After his best NHRA qualifying session ever at that race, ...

Bradford Beats the Humidity

For two weeks, Tom Bradford has beaten himself up over losing in round 1 of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle competition at the Gatornationals with a bad light. After his best NHRA qualifying session ever at that race, Bradford gave up the tree to edgy Shawn Gann and lost on a holeshot. So Bradford and longtime tuner Rob Schopf rolled into Houston Raceway Park with heightened intensity, intending to at least repeat their Gainesville qualifying performance and improve considerably on race day.

"That was a good pass off of the trailer, but we felt after the first round that we could 60 foot better," Bradford said about his third best, morning session pass. "And when we looked at things, it definitely needed some tuning, air/fuel ratio-wise."

Schopf and Bradford made the right calls, and while everyone else backed up in the heat of the day, they improved with the best pass of the session to place them in the no. 2 spot.

"It was a nice, clean, picture perfect pass while everyone else was struggling to improve," said Bradford. "The humidity was really high, as high as 78%. It's so thick you can cut it with a knife. We had to figure out how it wanted to run in this air, and I think we did that. That was right off the edge of my career best."

The pair ran Houston before on their own Buell, so they had some experience to fall back on for the track and conditions. The 5-time AHDRA champions looked back to those days for similar conditions and compared Houston's air to Budd's Creek in mid-summer weather. Saturday's forecast is even thicker, calling for 90% humidity. So the team is looking to make decisions that will aid them on Sunday.

"We're at a point where we've got to make a decision about what we're gonna do with the tire," said Bradford. "If we take into account how many rounds we're gonna go on Sunday, then we'll probably go with a new one tomorrow so we'll have a fresh, scuffed tire on race day. So we might back up a little bit, 'cause I'm more interested in what we're gonna do on Sunday.

"But I've got a grin from ear to ear that you couldn't wipe off with a file. We just keep tuning and tweaking and massaging this thing and it just keeps getting better and better. I'm ecstatic. I really wish we could be sharing this success with a marketing partner." Bradford and team are actively seeking a major sponsor, and a good showing this weekend could certainly help that cause.

-tbr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Shawn Gann , Tom Bradford