PSM – READING
Riding for Team Liberty, as he will all next year, Joey Gladstone drove Cory Reed’s bike into the middle rounds of eliminations at the Dodge Nationals in one of his first races as Reed’s replacement driver. Gladstone ripped the Tree down for a near-perfect .003 reaction time to put away Scotty Pollacheck, 6.90/192 to 6.93/192, but despite Pollacheck’s exalted status as a title contender, this was no upset – Gladstone was the one who qualified in the top half of the field.
“I knew I couldn’t cut him and Underdahl any slack,” said Gladstone, who had run Underdahl power until his recent move to Team Liberty and knows better than anyone how competitive Underdahl’s teams can be. “It almost felt too good. When I dropped the clutch, I looked up to see if his win light was on because I knew it had to be close.”
It was three-thousandths of a second from perfection and four-thousandths from a disastrous red-light, but Gladstone was right back in the .00s again in the quarterfinals, carding a nearly identical .008 reaction time opposite eventual winner Hector Arana for another holeshot head start. But Arana was right there with a .018 and drove around Underdahl in the middle of the course for a come-from-behind 6.88/197 to 6.94/192 win.
“That’s not what we wanted in the second round, but you really can’t complain,” Gladstone said. “We did pretty good this weekend. The bike’s running good and we’ll just see what happens in the next few races.”