NHRA Pro Stock/Pro Stock Motorcycle: McGaha, Hines win in U.S. Nationals

Leave a comment

BROWNSBURG, Indiana – One isn’t a lonely number anymore – it’s the only number now for Pro Stock driver Chris McGaha.

McGaha earned the biggest win of his career – and his first victory of the 2016 season – capturing his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win at Lucas Oil Raceway.

McGaha (6.688 seconds at 207.15 mph) defeated Pro Stock veteran Allen Johnson (6.715 seconds at 207.08 mph) to take home the $50,000 first prize. Johnson earned $15,000 for his runner-up showing.

MORE: NHRA U.S. Nationals: Final finishing order, results, round-by-round, standings

MORE: NHRA Top Fuel: Tony Schumacher earns record-breaking 10th U.S. Nationals win

MORE: NHRA Funny Car: It took 9 years but Matt Hagan finally earns his first U.S. Nationals win

329-ChrisMcGaha-MondayReax-Indy
Chris McGaha

McGaha now begins preparing to earn what he hopes is another first: winning the upcoming six-race Countdown to the Championship, which begins in two weeks at Charlotte. Given how strong his car has been running of late, not to mention winning Monday’s race, McGaha definitely is thinking championship – which would be the first of his career.

“We got to keep doing what we were doing today,” McGaha said. “If we keep doing what we were doing today, we’ll definitely have a shot. I botched a lot of runs along the way. We shouldn’t even be in seventh. Between tire shaking and making bad calls and flat getting our butt kicked, we should be a lot higher. It’s not impossible at this point. Just got to keep winning.”

Among other highlights from the four rounds of eliminations:

* Aaron Strong, who won the weather-delayed final round from Seattle that was contested on Saturday at Indianapolis, saw how quickly success can be fleeting. Two days after earning his first career Pro Stock win (in only his ninth career start), Strong lost in the first round of Monday’s eliminations to Drew Skillman.

* Two-time defending series champ Erica Enders lost in the first round to Shane Gray, but still qualified for the Countdown.

* Jason Line remains the leader as the points are reset for the Countdown. Line will enter the first race at Charlotte in two weeks with 2,110 points. Teammates Greg Anderson and Bo Butner are second (2,080 points) and third (2,070), respectively, followed by Allen Johnson (2,060), Vincent Nobile (2,050), Drew Skillman (2,040), Chris McGaha (2,030), Shane Gray (2,020), two-time defending series champ Erica Enders (2,010) and Jeg Coughlin (2,000).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, defending series champion Andrew Hines earned his second U.S. Nationals career win (he also won in 2012).

Hines (6.862 seconds at 194.63 mph) defeated Hector Arana Jr. (fouled) for his 47th career win in PSM – further extending his own record as the winningest rider in the history of the class.

Hines earned $20,000 for the win, while Arana earned $5,500.

Andrew Hines
Andrew Hines

In winning his fifth race of the season, Hines also regained the points lead heading into the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

“I’ve had a good motorcycle as of late, but it hasn’t been qualifying well,” said Hines, a five-time PSM champ. “I knew the potential of my Harley. I knew I had a bike that could go rounds and we just had to pick on it here and there.

“We’re getting closer to something that will work for us in the heat. We got to the final round and figured out the tune-up that needed to be in there. I’m happy I made my best run of the weekend in the final round.”

* With Monday’s win, Hines moves into the lead in the PSM points standings, which are reset for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Hines will enter the first race at Charlotte in two weeks with 2,110 points. Teammate Eddie Krawiec is second (2,080 points), followed by Angelle Sampey (2,070), Jerry Savoie (2,060), LE Tonglet (2,050), Chip Ellis (2,040), Hector Arana Jr. (2,030), Hector Arana (2,020), Matt Smith (2,010) and Cory Reed (2,000).

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

Leave a comment

Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).