The pairings were handled at random in the first round of the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle, but that didn’t stop the top performers from advancing. Defending Pro Bike Battle winner Matt Smith defeated upstart racer Ryan Oehler by .002-second to set up a matchup against Andrew Hines in the second round.
That’s the semifinal battle everyone will have their eyes on after Smith survived a starting line scare. He struggled to get his bike fired up and left second against Oehler, who led most of the way down the track. Smith rode his Denso Spark Plugs EBR around Oehler at the top end, using the big speed he is known for to set up a battle against Hines, who has done plenty of winning in 2019.
Hines and Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate Eddie Krawiec both dispatched Lucas Oil EBR riders in the first round. Hines beat Hector Arana Jr., despite Arana’s big holeshot advantage. Krawiec defeated Hector Arana Sr., who pulled his bike to the side of the track after his EBR bogged shortly after getting off the starting line.
Krawiec will race Angie Smith, who cut a .009-second reaction time to leave on multi-time world champion Angelle Sampey. Sampey was no slouch at the Tree, cutting a .013-second light herself. But that wasn’t enough to run down Smith on her Denso Spark Plugs EBR. Smith has been running on kill all weekend, but she uncorked something special in what serves as the third qualifying session for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
The bikes will return for the semifinals, which serves as the final qualifying session, at 4:15 p.m. You can catch it live on NHRA.tv or head back to NHRA.com for more coverage of the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle.