LE Tonglet served up a reminder Sunday of just how well he performed during his drive to last season’s NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship when he cruised to the Southern Nationals victory at Atlanta Dragway.
Basically, he was on top of his game Saturday when he grabbed the No. 1 starting berth with a 6.954-second time and he didn’t waver during eliminations. For example, Tonglet defeated Andrew Hines, second in the early standings, in the semifinals and point leader Karen Stoffer in the finale.
Against Hines, who lost the 2010 crown to Tonglet by four points, LE guided the Team Tonglet Nitro Fish Suzuki GXSR to the finish line in the weekend’s quickest time, 6.893 seconds, at 192.91 mph to Hines’ 7.112 at 191.16 mph.
In the payoff round, Tonglet jumped out first (.050-second to .075) and lit the win light in 6.924 at 191.62 to Stoffer’s 6.970 at 192.30. It is his fifth career victory in the last nine races dating back to last year’s U.S. Nationals and the beginning of the six-race Countdown to the championship.
“That’s what we wanted to do this weekend – qualify No. 1 and win the race,” Tonglet said. “The bike is flying.”
Tonglet opened eliminations with a win over Shawn Gann, 6.965 at 190.73 to 7.045 at 185.74, and advanced to the semifinals by stopping Gerald Savoie, 6.917 at 192.41 to 6.966 at 191.08.
He was able to vanquish any negative thoughts still remaining from his first-round foul start at Houston two weeks ago when he also was the No. 1 qualifier.
“I think we certainly proved a point there,” he commented. “That will give us a lot of confidence going to our next race (June 2-5 at Englishtown, N.J.). “My lights weren’t as good as I want them to be, but I was happy with them. We won, and that’s all that counts.”