NHRA Route 66 Nationals
Semifinal finish for Matco Tools Suzuki
Chicago, Sunday: A strong weekend at the Route 66 Nationals helped Craig Treble climb into the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Bike top 10 for the first time this season, after recording a semi-final Pro Stock Bike finish in Chicago.
"We're very happy with our performance here this weekend. I picked this bike up and drove to this event without doing any testing before this race," said Treble about his newly purchased bike. "We had good notes from last season when I ran this set-up, but without testing using our current motor, we had to be careful with our tune-up and not make a race ending mistake."
In Chicago, the Matco Tools rider was in championship form, disposing Karen Stoffer and Angelle Savoie in rounds one and two respectively. The Treble bike clocked runs of 7.210 and 7.227 in the two opening frames, setting up a semifinal pairing with No.1 qualifier Andrew Hines.
"I obviously knew that Andrew was fast today, and when he unloaded a best-of-weekend 7.093 elapsed time on me in the semi finals, it didn't really give me much room too work with," said Treble.
A 7.223 second run at 183.57 mph from the Matco Tools bike was not enough in the semi-final match-up against Hines, who continued his fast pace in the final round with a 7.177 against Shawn Gann. Hines red-lighted away a chance at victory to Gann, the fourth different rider to win in the four races contested so far in 2004.
"Truth is, we were not making many clean passes this weekend. We were happy with how we were running, but we were always leaving some on the table," said Treble. "The bike has a tendency to turn right when it leaves so there are a few minor issues to deal with before our next event.
"The track was absolutely great this weekend. It was smooth and tight, perfect to race on."
Treble turns in best effort of 2004
Chicago, Saturday: Dodging rain showers throughout the day on Saturday, Craig Treble put his Matco Tools Suzuki in the No. 4 qualifying position in Chicago, turning in his best performance of the 2004 season to date.
"We were fortunate to get our two qualifying sessions in today because of the weather," said Treble. "It worked out perfect because it was the second run of the day that paid off for us."
Opening with an improved 7.253 second run at 184.14 mph on Saturday, the Matco Tools team continued to hold on to a place in the top half of the ladder. A late afternoon qualifying run of 7.197 seconds at 184.02 mph put the Treble bike temporarily in the No.3 spot, until the Vance & Hines V-Rod Harley Davidson bike of Andrew Hines claimed his third pole of the year with a 7.167 / 184.62 run, pushing the Matco Tools bike down one position.
"We have been slowly giving this bike more clutch all weekend and for the last session we made the decision to give it a bunch, and it liked it," said Treble. "The unfortunate thing is I was out of the groove on my 7.197 pass and I lost some elapsed time by riding too near the wall. The bright side is that we know for sure we have more in this bike than we showed so far here in Chicago."
The Matco Tools bike has a first round date with '04 Houston Pro Stock Bike champion Karen Stoffer, and a potential pairing in Round 2 against three-time NHRA season champion Angelle Savoie.
"If I can get by both Karen and Angelle tomorrow in eliminations, I will paint my toenails in celebration," said Treble.
Treble starts weekend strong
Chicago, Friday: After two rounds of qualifying at the Route 66 Nationals, Craig Treble sits in the No. 5 qualifying position on the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Bike ladder in Chicago.
"I am very pleased with my new bike," explained an excited Treble. "When I ran this chassis in Vegas and Pomona last season, it was a Matt Hines bike and motor, a total Vance & Hines package. Now we have our tune-up and our motor, and the thing is still one nasty bike."
The Matco Tools Suzuki was ready to play right out of the trailer with a stout 7.269, good for the No. 3 spot in the session, then followed with a 7.259 in the late session Friday night.
"We kept good notes on this bike last time around, and that paid off here in Chicago," said Treble. "What these numbers should show everyone is that Byron Hines is a straight-up guy. This bike ran as good with my motor as it did when we had Matt's motor in it."
As good as the Friday numbers were, the Matco Tools team is excited about the possibilities in the two qualifying sessions remaining on Saturday.
"I don't want to guess or predict our performance for tomorrow, but if the weather plays out the way we have been told, the No.1 one spot could drop a tenth from where it is now." Treble added, "If we lose the head wind and dip a few degree's in temperature, the whole field could easily change from where it is today."
Treble returns with championship bike
Chicago, pre-race: After last weekends event in Atlanta, Craig Treble evaluated every part of his Matco Tools Pro Stock Bike team and decided he needed a different bike.
So Treble will return to a five-year-old piece that he and former champion Matt Hines have both ridden to great success, including back-to-back wins by Treble at the end of 2003. The only difference is that Treble now owns the bike.
"I was in Indy getting my motors freshened-up, and while talking to Byron and Matt Hines, we struck a deal for this bike," Treble said. "It's a proven piece, a championship bike, one that can win rounds and races. I am fortunate because my relationship with Vance & Hines is what helped bring the deal for this bike together."
With no round wins in the three races contested to this point, a change was needed before the point's battle got away from the Matco Tools rider.
"The first two races we struggled, and last race I made a mistake, so basically we have not been able to get much done this season," he said.
The bike used until now has been the '03 design Kosman bike that Craig still feels is going to work out, but with five NHRA national events in the next seven weeks, there is no time for revisions and updates that are needed on the new frame.
"I believe in my '03 Kosman chassis," Treble said. "I think it is the long term answer, and I will be back on it as soon as we get a few things straightened out with it. We will continue to develop the '03 bike and I believe I will be back in NHRA national event competition again."
The Route 66 Nationals are the fourth of 15 events on the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Bike Drag Racing Series tour.
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