Cycle News Staff | October 19, 2020
2020 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Results: White Alligator Suzuki’s Jerry Savoie hasn’t had much to celebrate in 2020 but his fortunes took a dramatic turn for the better this weekend in Dallas when he won the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. Savoie has struggled during the shortened season and even skipped the recent St. Louis round, but he’s always run well at the Texas Motorplex, where he’s appeared in six-straight final rounds and has now won three of his 13 Pro Stock Motorcycle titles.
Savoie successfully defended his 2019 Dallas win with a 6.910 in the final to defeat first-time finalist Joey Gladstone. In a day that was filled with upset, Savoie also topped Marc Ingwersen, Cory Reed and Screamin Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Eddie Krawiec to reach the final round.
“There’s just something about Texas,” Savoie said. “To come here and be in the finals six times and win three, it’s just awesome and a great deal. We’ve really been struggling and Tim [Kulungian, crew chief] has been working really hard at the shop. We didn’t have the fastest bike today, but luck was on our side and we just out-raced them.”
Gladstone advanced to his first career final round in the class with victories against Lucas Oil EBR’s Hector Arana Jr., Michael Phillips and Screamin Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Angelle Sampey. Gladstone and teammate Cory Reed have elected to run a partial schedule this season while they prepare to make the switch to a four-valve Suzuki in 2021. The Texas race marked Gladstone’s first NHRA appearance of the season and he made the most of it.
For many of the championship contenders in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, the Dallas race represented little more than a missed opportunity. Incoming points leader Matt Smith kicked off the weekend on a high note when he won the rain-delayed final rounds from the recent St. Louis round. Smith also celebrated with his wife, Angie, who became the fifth member of the Denso 200-mph Club during qualifying. On Sunday, Smith suffered a round-one loss when his EBR would not start. Second-ranked Scotty Pollacheck could not capitalize when he also lost in round one.
Losses by Smith and Pollacheck appeared to open the door for the Vance & Hines Harley team but reigning champ Andrew Hines lost in the quarterfinal round to Sampey, who, in turn, fell in the semifinals when she red-lighted against Gladstone. As a result, Smith heads into the penultimate round in Houston as the leader with a 50-point edge over Pollacheck, while Hines is 61 points back and Sampey faces a 92-point deficit.