Suzuki Extended Protection Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Jim Underdahl raced from the No. 4 qualifying spot to a semifinal finish in the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The 24-year-old racer from Minnesota dispatched David Hope in round one with a 7.017-second effort at 191.76 mph to Hope’s 7.124 and then ran 7.024 in a freebie against Shawn Gann who left .008-seconds before the light turned green.
The semifinals paired Underdahl against rookie standout L.E. Tonglet. With a slight advantage at the light, Underdahl raced his Suzuki side-by-side with Tonglet, ultimately being edged out by less than a tire-length. At the stripe, he ran 6.988-seconds at 190.78 mph to Tonglet’s 6.948 at 190.22.
The loss, however, didn’t dishearten Underdahl.
“That’s racing,” Underdahl said. “We were consistent all weekend long, and we’ve really stepped up our game, so the only thing that would have made it better would have been the Wally.
“We needed to step it up this weekend, and especially for that round. Going from an ‘.02 to a ‘.98 was really a great jump for us, but we needed just a little bit more.
“Tonglet is running for the championship, and they need every round they can get, and if we had to lose, I’m glad it was him.” Tonglet went on to win the event.
“As far as what’s next, all I can say is that I’m really excited to get to Pomona – for two reasons. One, to keep our success going, and two, because I know we can walk away from there with a win. I think today proved that,” Underdahl said.