2017 NHRA Midwest Nationals St. Louis Results

| October 2, 2017

2017 NHRA Midwest Nationals St. Louis Results – Needing nothing less than a win in order to stay in contention for the NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle championship, Nitro Fish Suzuki’s LE Tonglet delivered with a strong performance at the NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis. Tonglet won five events during the regular season but watched as Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Eddie Krawiec won the first two races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Tonglet defeated Krawiec in the second round of eliminations and then went on and finished the job by beating Krawiec’s teammate, Andrew Hines, in the final round.

2017 NHRA Midwest Nationals St. Louis Results

2017 NHRA Midwest Nationals St. Louis Results
LE Tonglett kept his title hopes alive with a big win in St. Louis.

“We needed that big time,” Tonglet said. “The win over Eddie was especially important. That was a make or break for our whole season. If we had lost that round I’m not sure we could have caught him. Now, we’re right back in it. If I had lost the final, it wouldn’t have bene too bad but when you come that far, you might as well go ahead and finish the deal. For a while, it looked like both of the Harley-Davidsons could not be stopped.”

Tonglet entered the St. Louis race in second-place, but he was 71-points behind Krawiec. He’s now trimmed that deficit to just 16-points or less than one round of competition.

Tonglet has admittedly struggled during qualifying on his Tim Kulungian-tuned Suzuki, but he’s been solid on race day. That was the case in St. Louis where he emerged from the No. 7 spot to win the race. Along the way, Tonglet rode past San Marino Suzuki’s Joey Gladstone, Krawiec, and Victory Magnum’s Matt Smith. Tonglet also improved his performance in each round, going from a 6.829 to a 6.792 in the final. Thanks to a quicker starting line reaction time, he was able to hold off Hines’ slightly quicker 6.790.

“I was pretty fired up when we ran Eddie but I was also fired up for the final,” Tongelt said. “That would explain my reaction time, which was the best I’ve had all weekend. I wasn’t happy about us qualifying seventh, but we worked on the bike last night and came back and ran better today. In the final, we decided to go for the jugular and we ran a 6.79. That was our best.”

2017 NHRA Midwest Nationals St. Louis Results

Tonglet wasn’t the only Pro Stock Motorcycle racer to get healthy in St. Louis. Hines was also on the verge of falling out of contention before his runner-up finish. He’s now 72-points behind Krawiec with three events remaining, including the season final in Pomona, which will award points at 1.5 times the normal rate.

“This probably saved our season,” Hines said. “I hated to lose the final. I felt like we should have won it but getting to the final was huge. We couldn’t have afforded to have another bad race.”

Unlike Tonglet, Hines was solid in qualifying with a 6.781 to take the top spot. During final eliminations, he rode past Andie Rawlings, Karen Stoffer, and Scotty Pollacheck. Hines ran a 6.841 to beat Pollacheck’s quicker 6.823. The difference was Hines’ almost perfect reaction time on the starting line.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will head to the Texas Motorplex near Dallas for the AAA Texas NHRA Nationals Oct. 12-15. The final two rounds will be contested in Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.

By Kevin McKenna

2017 NHRA Midwest Nationals St. Louis Results

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