All the good vibes that LE Tonglet should have been feeling Friday night immediately left as soon as he crossed the finish line at Summit Motorsports Park.
With his string of bad luck reaching a dizzying level, the latest bit of discouraging news is now simply par for the course for the 2010 Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion.
In going 7.01 during the second qualifying session at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Tonglet jumped to fourth in qualifying in one of the best passes of the night session. But he endured some pretty significant damage to get there, which is nothing new for him these days.
“We ran really good, but right when it went through the lights it broke a cam chain,” Tonglet said. “We had to change the motor, so now we have an engine that’s pretty old and pretty tired. I’m not looking forward to eliminations.
“Hopefully this motor proves us wrong, but I’m not confident. We’ll see.”
It’s the latest string of disappointing news for Tonglet, who should be riding high after a semifinal finish in Englishtown and a runner-up finish last weekend in Chicago.
Instead, Tonglet, who is currently fifth in points, is lamenting the loss of a second motor in as many weeks and the likely possibility he won’t be making the upcoming Western swing.
In the pits in Norwalk, Tonglet talked about the future with major associate sponsor Nitro Fish, which signed a 3-race deal with Tonglet in May. That deal expires after this weekend’s race in Norwalk, which makes it unlikely the team will be racing later this month in Denver and Sonoma, and perhaps longer.
“We’ve been running good, but it’s just going to be tough after this race if (Nitro Fish owner) Kenny (Korestsky) is not on board anymore. It’s going to be tough to go out West,” Tonglet said.
“As of right now, we’re not going because Kenny said we’re done pretty much after this (race). It sucks, too, because we’re running good but I don’t know what the deal is. We want to go out West, but it’s going to be tough.”
To add to it, Tonglet and the team had their motor home break down twice en route to Norwalk, putting one more item on a laundry list of troubles.
“Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong these last two weeks,” Tonglet said.
Tonglet has persevered through most of it, advancing to the finals in Chicago before losing to Andrew Hines.
But that was with a previous motor, and one that was actually replaced before Norwalk.
That one showed impressive promise, going from 7.08 to 7.01 on Friday, but it lasted just a day in the rotation.
“This motor surprised us, so hopefully this one surprises us as well,” Tonglet said. “But it’s tough. We went through two motors in two races and they’re not cheap to fix. This was just bad luck. We put in a new cam chain and it broke after two runs. “You get those every now and then. In 2010, it was a cam chain that almost ended our season. It’s just part of racing. You can’t have perfect parts every time.”
Oddly enough, the back-up to the back-up motor did well during its pair of runs on Friday, but Tonglet isn’t as optimistic about his third motor.
It does have some notable history as Tonglet used it to win last year in Brainerd, but it hasn’t been in the bike for nearly 11 months.
The early results weren’t outstanding – Tonglet went 7.17 and 7.13 on his two qualifying passes on Saturday, dropping him to seventh going into eliminations – but Tonglet is certainly due for a change in fortune.
“You don’t know until you run it and we haven’t used it all year. It’s hard to explain how we feel. We did well at Brainerd, but we didn’t win there because we were hauling butt, either,” Tonglet said.
“Hopefully all the problems here give us good luck on the track. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
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