SONOMA, CA p July 27, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Switching to a Suzuki for the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season certainly hasn’t slowed Scotty Pollacheck’s consistency. The Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran has four semifinal appearances and zero first-round losses through the first seven races of the PSM season, putting him right in the thick of the world championship hunt.
Of course, Pollacheck, a veteran of 88 races, is still seeking that first career Pro Stock Motorcycle win. Satisfied with the consistency on his Suzuki Extended Protection bike, Pollacheck, who is currently fourth in the points standings, hopes he can take the next step at this weekend’s 30th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.
“There’s obviously a lot of pieces to the puzzle, but performance-wise I think we’re really close,” said Pollacheck, who has five career final round appearances. “In Denver (last weekend), the bike was right there. Even with that, there’s room for improvement. We can look at everything and know we’re not getting every last thing out of it. It’s about making progress and there’s some things I’m trying to do to make the package better. We just have to keep going the direction we are.”
J.R. Todd (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals, which will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including live final eliminations coverage starting at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, July 30. It is the eighth of 16 events during the 2017 Pro Stock Motorcycle season and Pollacheck has been on point for most of the year.
He made the final foursome at the Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, adding semifinal appearances in Atlanta, Norwalk and last weekend in Denver. Pollacheck has qualified fifth at three of the past four races, providing another example of the impressive consistency this season, and how smoothly things have come together on the new bike leaves him excited for the rest of the year.
“It’s been good and really encouraging with everything basically new,” Pollacheck said. “It’s all flowed together really well. (Crew chief) Greg (Underdahl) is doing a great job of keeping it all together. The bike is consistent, we’re not tearing stuff up and it’s a good spot to be in. I knew with the changes we were making the bike would be fast. It took me a while to get used to what the Suzuki wants, but we’re in a competitive groove. I have no complaints other than I haven’t won.”
Chasing that elusive first victory has kept Pollacheck motivated, especially after watching Top Fuel standout and friend Clay Millican grab his first career victory earlier this year. Pollacheck’s consistency makes him a contender at each race, including this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, but he knows his performance must be raised in eliminations competing against the likes of points leader and defending event winner Tonglet, who has four wins in 2017, Andrew Hines, Denver winner Eddie Krawiec and reigning world champion Jerry Savoie.
“We’ve been there and been close, and we just have to get it done,” Pollacheck said. “We had struggled for a while before this (year). We’re getting back to where I want to be. It’s a big puzzle for sure and to get the whole thing put together, it takes everyone on the team. We have all the stuff, we just haven’t won yet. Given enough opportunities, we’ll trip over the line and get it.”
In Top Fuel, Antron Brown won in Denver and will look for his fifth victory in Sonoma, while trying to track down points leader Steve Torrence, who has a career-best five wins this season.
Funny Car’s Force is looking to get his season on track with a second win. Teammate Robert Hight won in Denver, while everyone is chasing reigning champ Ron Capps, who has six wins in 2017.
In Pro Stock, Anderson claimed his class-best fifth win in Sonoma a year ago. He’s one of nine Pro Stock winners in 2017, led by points leader Bo Butner, who has three victories this year.
The event features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series as well. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Muy Caliente Racing jet dragsters sponsored by Lucas Oil. Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers. Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:15 and 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 28 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 29, at 1:10 and 4:20 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 30.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association