Craig Treble has cemented his place as one of the most skilled dragbike racers to ever compete on the NHRA tour. What Tremble accomplished at the O’Reilly Spring Nationals was remarkable.
In a category where teams dump tens of thousands of dollars into their racing equipment to keep it cutting edge, Craig Treble found his way to the winner’s circle with a ten-year-old chassis and a borrowed motor.
Treble showed off the machine-like, bracket racing type consistency he’s know for with lights .048, .030, .015, .030 and elapsed-times of 6.88, followed by three consecutive 6.91s. It looks like a run sheet from one of his many winning afternoons in Pro ET.
However, Treble’s greatest challenge this season won’t be on the track. It will be finding enough funding to run the entire circuit. Currently Treble is without a major sponsor and the $10,000 winner’s purse from Houston will go fast.
The run of the event goes to Matt Smith hands down. Smith aboard his Schumacher Suzuki reset the Pro Stock Motorcycle national record to 6.86 and took control of the the Full Throttle points lead after picking up a pair of round wins. The 6.86 surpasses Angelle Sampey’s record of 6.87 from 2007. The common denominator? Steve Tartaglia was the crew chief for both machines during their record runs and is quickly building a reputation as the most talented Suzuki tuner on the NHRA tour.
With Smith’s GS-powered bike running so well, the team may not be in a big hurry to debut its state-of-the-art Hayabusa later this summer.
Karen Stoffer suffered the most painful loss of the event. She recorded a career best time of 6.88, the third quickest in class history at the time, but didn’t get the win light after a -.033 foul start.
The rules may be debatable but the NHRA couldn’t have asked for a more even playing field for the different manufactures so far. Following Houston the top six makes in points from first to sixth are Suzuki, Buell, Harley, Suzuki, Buell, Harley. In the top ten there are four Suzukis, four Buells, and the category’s only two Harleys. In Houston a Harley qualified on the pole, and a Suzuki set the record.
With the turnout not as strong this year due to a slumping economy it’s clear nearly all of the competitors who follow the entire circuit will remain in the top ten and make the Championship Countdown. Who’s saving their power for the end of the season? Certainly not Matt Smith. But as long as Smith doesn’t go quicker we may not see any rule changes this entire season.
Where is the domination from the four-time championship winning Vance and Hines V-Rods? Could it be that all of the outcry for NHRA allowing the V-Rods four valves this season was for not? Or is the Screaming Eagle crew slowing fine-tuning its weapons? We’ll find out in September.