Switching to a Suzuki for the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season certainly hasn’t slowed Scotty Pollacheck’s consistency. The Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran has four semifinal appearances and zero first-round losses through the first seven races of the PSM season, putting him right in the thick of the world championship hunt.
Of course, Pollacheck, a veteran of 88 races, is still seeking that first career Pro Stock Motorcycle win. Satisfied with the consistency on his Suzuki Extended Protection bike, Pollacheck, who is currently fourth in the points standings, hopes he can take the next step at this weekend’s 30th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway.
“There’s obviously a lot of pieces to the puzzle, but performance-wise I think we’re really close,” said Pollacheck, who has five career final round appearances. “In Denver (last weekend), the bike was right there. Even with that, there’s room for improvement. We can look at everything and know we’re not getting every last thing out of it. It’s about making progress and there’s some things I’m trying to do to make the package better. We just have to keep going the direction we are.”
J.R. Todd (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals, which will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including live final eliminations coverage starting at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, July 30. It is the eighth of 16 events during the 2017 Pro Stock Motorcycle season and Pollacheck has been on point for most of the year.
He made the final foursome at the Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, adding semifinal appearances in Atlanta, Norwalk and last weekend in Denver. Pollacheck has qualified fifth at three of the past four races, providing another example of the impressive consistency this season, and how smoothly things have come together on the new bike leaves him excited for the rest of the year.
“It’s been good and really encouraging with everything basically new,” Pollacheck said. “It’s all flowed together really well. (Crew chief) Greg (Underdahl) is doing a great job of keeping it all together. The bike is consistent, we’re not tearing stuff up and it’s a good spot to be in. I knew with the changes we were making the bike would be fast. It took me a while to get used to what the Suzuki wants, but we’re in a competitive groove. I have no complaints other than I haven’t won.”
Chasing that elusive first victory has kept Pollacheck motivated, especially after watching Top Fuel standout and friend Clay Millican grab his first career victory earlier this year. Pollacheck’s consistency makes him a contender at each race, including this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, but he knows his performance must be raised in eliminations competing against the likes of points leader and defending event winner Tonglet, who has four wins in 2017, Andrew Hines, Denver winner Eddie Krawiec and reigning world champion Jerry Savoie.
“We’ve been there and been close, and we just have to get it done,” Pollacheck said. “We had struggled for a while before this (year). We’re getting back to where I want to be. It’s a big puzzle for sure and to get the whole thing put together, it takes everyone on the team. We have all the stuff, we just haven’t won yet. Given enough opportunities, we’ll trip over the line and get it.”
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:15 and 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 28 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 29, at 1:10 and 4:20 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 30.
To purchase reserved seats, call 800-870-RACE (7223). Tickets also are available online at www.sonomaraceway.com.