JOLIET, IL – May 31, 2018 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Thanks to a fast start to open his 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran Scotty Pollacheck appears closer than ever to his first career win heading to this weekend’s JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.
Making his 101st career start this weekend, Pollacheck heads to Chicago on the heels of a final quad appearance at the four-wide race in Charlotte and a runner-up at the most recent Pro Stock Motorcycle race in Atlanta on his Suzuki Extended Protection bike. It puts Pollacheck third in points in the talent-rich class and also in a strong position to claim his first career win this weekend.
“We haven’t quite got lucky enough to get over that hump, but at least we’re there,” Pollacheck said. “I think we’re really consistent right now, and we’re right up there with the faster people holding our own. It feels like we’ve got a shot at it every time we race. We’re making good passes and progressing, winning some rounds and just kind of keeping everything together.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock), and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of an event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including final eliminations coverage starting at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. It is the fourth of 16 races during the 2018 Pro Stock Motorcycle season and Pollacheck has been impressive to open the year in part because of how well he finished the 2017 campaign.
Joining forces with Jim and Greg Underdahl, as well as Gary Stoffer, was beneficial to close out last season as Pollacheck posted his first career No. 1 qualifier, adding four semifinal appearances in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship to finish a career-best fourth in points. Everything has stayed on course for Pollacheck and his team, allowing the longtime rider to settle into a rhythm quickly in 2018.
“We’ve kind of started out where we left off last year and kept in the same groove,” said Pollacheck, who has six career final round appearances. Last year, it was a brand new program for Greg and us, but everything came together really well. We struggled a little bit at the beginning of the year (in 2017), but we kept getting better and now we’re right there. This winter, we had a lot of information and knowledge and things to work on, so we could focus on the little things.”
The carry-over has been impressive and Pollacheck will look to keep that momentum going in Chicago against a loaded field that includes Eddie Krawiec, the current points leader who has two wins in 2018, Charlotte winner Jerry Savoie, Andrew Hines, a five-time world champion, Hector Arana Sr. and three-time world champion Angelle Sampey. But the pressure of grabbing that elusive first win hasn’t bothered Pollacheck. His calm approach has led to a successful career and he’s confident it will lead to a victory in the near future, and possibly as soon as this weekend.
“I think you have to not let it overwhelm you,” Pollacheck said. “You have to look at it as every run is just one run. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first day in qualifying or Sunday in the final round. You can’t let everything else get in your way. You just have to go up there and make one good lap at a time, and try to keep doing that. We’re just fine-tuning things now and that makes it easier for me to ride and gives me more confidence when I’m riding.”
Steve Torrence has continued a strong pace in Top Fuel, grabbing three wins and the points lead in 2018. He will try to hold off Topeka winner Clay Millican, Tony Schumacher, and Brittany Force.
Defending Funny Car event winner Ron Capps is after his first win of 2018 against class stars like points leader Courtney Force, Jack Beckman, and defending world champion Robert Hight.
Drew Skillman hopes Chicago is again the place for his first Pro Stock win of the year. He’ll have to get past the likes of points leader Vincent Nobile, and defending world champ Bo Butner to get it.
The JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals also features competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, including the popular JEGS Allstars bonus event that pits the best NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series racers from across the country in individual and team competition. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Pro Jet Motorsports Al Z’s “Hot Blade” and Team Heat “Fifty Caliber” jet dragsters. Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
Those in attendance will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with a few of the most renowned names in drag racing during the NHRA Legends Tour. This will feature meet-and-greets, autograph sessions, and a variety of other activities. Legends scheduled to attend the JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals include Don Garlits and more.
As always, fans can 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 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 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. on Friday, June 1 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 2, at 3:15 and 6 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 3.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 888-629-RACE (7223) or 815-722-5500. Tickets also are available online at www.route66raceway.com. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
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 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. 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 four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; 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