By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Ryan Oehler won his first Pro Stock Motorcycle race in the NHRA on Sunday. He won the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Indiana.
He defeated Matt Smith in the final round to get his first Wally.
He is the second straight first-time rider to win in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. Jianna Salinas also won at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in November at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Pomona, California.
It is the first-time since 2004 that two first-time riders won a race in the category. That year, Andrew Hines won at Gainesville, then Karen Stoffer won at Houston.
“We’ve been hunting for this for a long time,” said Oehler. “This has been my dad’s dream. We’ve raced Pro Stock Harleys and Pro Stock cars in the 1970’s. We got into motorcycles because it was a little bit more our style. We got here, and we just keep on working every day. As soon as I did the burnout, the bike starts dragging out of the water and we don’t have the right freeplay in the clutch. My crew chief Terry [Sutton] even told me that so when I went to the line I knew it was going to try and pull me through the beams.
“I held it back and waited to go on the two-step until the very last second. When the light dropped I knew it was good. To have it all come together like that; this is for my family and my wife, and my team and for God. I love you all very much.”
Oehler had the starting line advantage, as he had an 0.010 reaction time. Smith trailed, as he had an 0.022 reaction time.
The King, North Carolina native then had problems, which led to the runner-up finish. He went 10.126 at 83.3 8 mph.
Oehler went 6.974 at 194.16 mph to get the win. This was also the first-time that Oehler defeated Smith, as he was previously 0-for-3.
This was the first-time that the two riders faced each other in a final round.