Madison: Pro Stock Motorcycle gears up for event

Pro Stock Motorcycle class gears up for consecutive events. MADISON, Ill. - Let's be clear on a couple of things. Yes, the Pro Stock Motorcycle category is a professional class with the National Hot Rod Association. And no, they do not race at...

Pro Stock Motorcycle class gears up for consecutive events.

MADISON, Ill. - Let's be clear on a couple of things. Yes, the Pro Stock Motorcycle category is a professional class with the National Hot Rod Association. And no, they do not race at all 23 national events. The two-wheel category, however, is in for a busy summer.

The Pro Stock Motorcycle riders will compete in eight of nine races starting with the June event at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. The category will be absent at only one event (Seattle) through the end of September. That is one of the longer stretches in class history.

"I don't think it will be too much different than in years past, but we will be doing more driving this year with so many consecutive races," three-time champion Matt Hines said. "We don't go to Seattle, so it will be nice to have the week off before we hit Sonoma and Brainerd. The good thing about that stretch is that there is a couple events on the West Coast, which is better than going back and forth across the country."

The Pro Stock Motorcycle riders will be competing in the third race of that stretch at the sixth annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals, June 27-30, at Gateway International Raceway. Doug Kalitta, Tony Pedregon, Warren Johnson and GT Tonglet are the defending winners of the $1.8 million race. It is the 7th of 14 events for the Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

While Hines and his Colorado-based Vance & Hines Eagle One Suzuki shop might have the equipment ready for all of the races, he said he is hoping to get on a positive streak mentally as well.

"We have a lot of races in a row, and we have never been to Sonoma and we don't have any data for that track," Hines said. "Hopefully the conditions will be similar to other tracks that we go to in the summer because we need to get the ball rolling in the right direction. The competition is so tough that whoever is winning races at the start could have the advantage throughout that stretch of events."

Reggie Showers said the consecutive races could prove to be more difficult than he would like.

"It goes with the territory and as motorcycle drag racers, we are prepared for this kind of thing," Showers, rider of the Prosthetic Design/Damp Rid Suzuki, said. "If it was easy, more people would do this for a living. The biggest obstacle to making it through so many events is the competition. The other riders in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series bring so much to the table. You have to elevate your level of competition, otherwise you won't be racing very long on Sunday.

"Anyone who qualifies for the eliminations can win the race. We all know that. If you let your guard down, you will lose. In order to do well in this stretch, we have to do a lot of traveling and make sure we are prepared, but it will all be worth it."

Shawn Gann rides the Mac Tools/Gann Speed Suzuki. He said being away from the shop will prove to be the most difficult thing for his team.

"We live in North Carolina, so going out for the West Coast swing takes a lot of time and equipment," Gann said. "You really have to be prepared and you have to think ahead more than we have had to in the past. But if this is what it takes to hit some of the hottest and best tracks on the schedule, then we'll do it. We just have to make sure we are on our best game and try to snag a win or two out of the bunch."

They all seem to agree on two things. There will be a lot more travel time for the Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors, but it will all be worth the effort.

"It's nice to have a break every now and then, but a lot of races in a row doesn't bother me," Hines said. "We'll be on the road driving a lot more, but I am looking forward to doing well at all of the races."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Doug Kalitta , Reggie Showers , Shawn Gann , GT Tonglet