Englishtown: Matco Tools - Pro Stock Bike pre-race notes

Matco Tools rider Treble could spell trouble for the rest of the Pro Stock Bike class. ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 14) -- The early part of the 2002 Pro Stock Motorcycle season has been colored red, white, and blue as Matco Tools rider Craig Treble...

Matco Tools rider Treble could spell trouble for the rest of the Pro Stock Bike class.

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 14) -- The early part of the 2002 Pro Stock Motorcycle season has been colored red, white, and blue as Matco Tools rider Craig Treble shot out to a perfect start in the class with two wins in the first two races. What's more, Treble says his new Matco Tools Suzuki will only get better once he figures it out.

The rest of the class will try its best to slow Treble at this weekend's 33rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

"It's crazy," Treble said of his early successes. "It's overwhelming really, especially considering I started the year on a brand-new bike, a new prototype that no one, including me or the guys that built it really knew what it would do. I'm as surprised as anyone I started with two wins but I'm sure not complaining."

With a full sponsorship deal from tool giant Matco Tools, Treble quit his day job as a construction worker last season to dedicate himself full-time to racing Pro Stock Motorcycle's and promoting his sponsor's product lines across the country. The move paid off as Treble recorded a fourth-place finish in the points -- his best ever -- on the strength of a career-best race day mark of 23-14, which included one runner-up finish.

For the most part, Treble and crew chief Calvin Aswege were ecstatic about their effort in 2001 and spent most of the off-season reveling in their accomplishments. But both men were silently nagged by one recurring thought; "We knew we were just about tapped-out as far as how far we could go with the old bike," Treble said. "We had tweaked to the point there were no more tweaks to be made."

Treble and Aswege were confident in their horsepower, which they procure from the legendary engine shop of Vance & Hines, but knew they needed to make a change with the 3-year-old chassis they were using. So they went to respected chassis builders Sandy Kosman and Martin Windmill of Kosman Specialties, the same group supplying pipe to most of the top teams in the class. They were met with an interesting proposal.

"They told us about this bike they were building," Treble said. "The first of its kind. They're telling me it's revolutionary and one-of-a-kind and then they asked me if I wanted to try it. Calvin and I said, 'Let's go for it.'"

There was one slight problem. The group was running out of time as the season-opener quickly approached on the calendar. In fact, they waited until the last possible minute to make the switch.

"I climbed on the new bike for the first time one day before [the season] started," Treble said. "But I knew right from the start we were on to something big. This bike is an animal right at the hit. This chassis is so adjustable. We don't have a 100-pound rider so we knew we needed to be able to move weight around when necessary. This new bike allows us to do that. It's a huge advantage."

The 35-year-old Treble is well aware he hasn't exactly dominated the class en route to his two victories this season. But with just a handful of passes in total on the new bike, he knows there is plenty of room for improvement. Maybe even enough to make his Matco Tools team the one everyone else is shooting for.

"We're still exploring the parameters of this chassis," Treble said. "We don't really know what its potential will be. That's what is so much fun about drag racing; you're always tweaking. If we can improve on our short times and get quicker from 0-60 feet, then I know our Vance & Hines power can take over from there and win us a bunch more races. With this new bike, I think we'll find a way to make it happen."

Interestingly, Treble readily lists half a dozen riders whom he feels could win the championship this year. He includes himself on that list, albeit almost as an afterthought.

"We're certainly going to try our hardest," Treble said. "But do you really think I even come close to thinking we're gonna win it all? Come on. We still have a lot of races to go and we're competing against the best mechanical minds and the best riders in all of motorcycle racing. I don't dream this big.

"It's like this weekend. To win here in Englishtown at Matco Tool's biggest race of the year would be unreal. Still, I can promise you this, we'll do everything we can to make it happen because I'd love to put this beautiful new Matco Tools bike in the Matco Tools winner's circle."

-mt-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Craig Treble