LE Tonglet served notice Sunday that his U.S. Nationals Pro Stock Motorcycle win two weeks ago was no accident when he methodically drove his way to victory in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Tonglet, in his first outing aboard his new-look Nitro Fish Suzuki GSXR, was impressive all weekend. He was the No. 1 qualifier and the Suzuki was judged the event’s best appearing vehicle.
“This feels awesome,” he said soon after he defeated Andrew Hines in the title round – 6.921 seconds at 192.82 mph to 6.972 at 189.63. “It’s unbelievable. I never thought we would win two races in a row. That’s just crazy. Our bike performed flawlessly all weekend.”
Both wins were over Hines, the Countdown to 1 championship points leader. Not only that, but Tonglet pulled within 66 points of Hines.
Tonglet began the march to his third win of his rookie season by beating Mike Berry (6.879 at 193.24 to 7.287 at 177.49), and he reached the finals by dispatching Matt Smith (6.944 at 190.38 to 6.948 at 189.39) and Michael Phillips (6.980 at 192.60 to 7.119 at 184.72).
Gary Tonglet, LE’s father and tuner, was smiling, too. “I can’t believe it,” he said.
“He said he was going to lean on the motor in the final round,” LE pointed out. “He revved it up and said you only have one chance and we wanted to take advantage of it.”
It’s all heady stuff for the Tonglets, who were contemplating their future when Nitro Fish owner apparel owner Kenny Koretsky stepped in with his sponsorship two weeks ago.
After this win, LE, 20, is looking forward to the next four races with high expectations. He is the leading contender for rookie of the year honors and now is in the title hunt.
“We’re not thinking about just winning rookie of the year anymore,” he said. “We have bigger things on our minds … and that’s winning the championship,” he said. “With Nitro Fish behind us, I think we have a real good shot at doing it.”