The harsh economic reality of drag racing is sinking in for Pro Stock Motorcycle rider LE Tonglet.
Back in 2010, the 20-year-old Tonglet was the buzz in the drag racing scene as he became the youngest NHRA Full Throttle world champion. Additionally, he earned the $20,000 Auto Club Road to the Future Award as the season’s top rookie.
Fast-forward to the present, and Tonglet, barring some sponsorship money coming through, is parking his Vance & Hines-powered Suzuki.
“We are parking until we can find some money,” Tonglet said in an interview with Competition Plus Wednesday. “We are not going to be in Englishtown as of right now.”
NHRA’s SuperNationals (May 31-June 3) are the next scheduled national event for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
“We have to get something done by Monday (May 28) because that is the deadline to sign up for the race (Englishtown),” Tonglet said. “We still have plenty of time to decide, we just need funding.”
Tonglet has competed in all three of NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle races this season at Gainesville, Fla., Houston and Atlanta. He is 10th in the point standings.
Tonglet’s best 2012 performance came at Gainesville when he advanced to second round before losing to Andrew Hines. Tonglet lost in the first round at Houston to Matt Smith and in Atlanta to Scotty Pollacheck. Tonglet’s qualified sixth, 10th and eighth at the first three events.
Tonglet has nine NHRA national event wins in 40 career starts. Tonglet’s last win was at Brainerd, Minn., in 2011.
Tonglet’s team lost its backing from Nitro Fish Racing following the season-opening Pro Stock Motorcycle race at Gainesville in March.
“It is frustrating and all it takes is money and right now we are out of it,” Tonglet said. “There is nothing else we can do about it. We raced (under their own banner) at Houston and Atlanta and it is not the cheapest sport you can get into. If we had some spare money we would go and run it, but we are out of money. We do not have any leads (on sponsorship) as of right now.”
Parking his motorcycle is something Tonglet is trying to come to grips with.
“You just try to forget about,” Tonglet said about not being able to race in the NHRA national event circuit. “We love to race, and we would just have to start racing at our local track (No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, La.) just dealing with street bike stuff and just dream about what we could do out at NHRA. It just sucks that we have to park it (his motorcycle) because of money.”
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