LE Tonglet had a real treat on Halloween night – a trip to the winner’s circle at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that included a move to within 34 points of first place in NHRA’s bona fide two-driver Pro Stock Motorcycle championship fight.
Tonglet stretched his amazing streak of consecutive final-round visits to five and notched his fourth victory in that span when his Nitro Fish Suzuki GSXR defeated Matt Smith, 6.951 seconds at 188.86 mph to 6.983 at 189.07.
When Smith ousted point leader Andrew Hines in the semifinals it enabled Tonglet to whittle the difference between him and Hines from 72 to 34 points in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
“This has been an awesome year,” said Tonglet, who now has five victories in seven finals in his rookie year. “We have been on a roll in the last five races and we want to keep the momentum going to Pomona (Calif., for the Auto Club Finals, Nov. 11-14).”
Three days ago, however, Team Tonglet – dad Gary, LE and GT – were uncertain how well they would do. “We broke our good motor Friday morning and we were all down because that’s the one we’ve won all the races with,” said LE. “But we put in our new motor and the performance picked up on every run it made.”
It was flawless on Sunday.
Tonglet began by dispatched Bailey Whitaker in the first round (6.986 at 188.81 to 7.126 at 180.40). He eliminated defending series champion Hector Arana in the quarterfinals with a 7.004 at 187.26 while Arana was slowed by mechanical problems and it was Tonglet over Jim Underdahl in the semifinals (6.948 at 190.22 to 6.988 at 190.78).
“That 6.94-second time really came out of nowhere,” LE added. “It really brought our confidence up.”
So did Smith’s upset of Hines.
“Matt helped us a lot,” Tonglet remarked. “That was huge when he went out in the semis and we won the race. They are a very tough team. I think the championship will come down to the late rounds at Pomona.”