Last weekend’s Mile High Nationals was the last chance for NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle riders to grab points and earn a spot in the highly-anticipated Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle, a special race-within-a-race during the Sonoma Nationals where the top eight Pro Stock Motorcycle riders will compete for a winner-take-all $25,000 prize.
The field has officially been set for the 2019 Pro Bike Battle, scheduled for Saturday, July 27th. The elite eight includes a lot of familiar names, with former world champions Eddie Krawiec, Matt Smith, Andrew Hines, Angelle Sampey and Hector Arana Sr. among the competitors. Angie Smith, Hector Arana Jr., who notably became thefirst rider to reach 200 mph on a Pro Stock Motorcycle last year, and second-year rider Ryan Oehler round out the field for the Pro Bike Battle.
But while the names look familiar, a signifigant change in procedure is coming to the 2019 Pro Bike Battle.
For the first time, the final standings (led by Krawiec) will not determine first-round matchups. First-round pairings will be decided on stage during a pre-race ceremony moments before competition begins. The riders will each select a special Mickey Thompson tire. The inside of each tire will be numbered one through four. The riders who select tires with the same numbers inside will be paired up against each other for the opening round.
Additionally, fans are invited to meet the elite eight Pro Stock Motorcycle riders during an autograph session in the Mickey Thompson trailer at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, July 27th.
The first 40 fans at the autograph session will receive a Mickey Thompson swag bag. Eight of the bags will have special T-shirts, featuring a rider’s name. The fan with the winning rider’s T-Shirt will receive a free set of Mickey Thompson truck tires.
Current world champion Matt Smith won last year’s Pro Bike Battle, defeating Krawiec in the final round. This year’s competition also marks a milestone for females in the sport as this is the first year to have more than one woman among this elite field. Angie Smith and Angelle Sampey have both competed in the Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Bike Battle in years past and both plan to be the first woman in NHRA history to bring home the $25,000 prize from this specialty race.
Introductions and tire flips for pairings for the Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Bike Battle take place at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday followed by the first round at 1:15 p.m. The semifinals follow at 4:15 p.m., with the final round slated for 5:30 p.m.
Tickets for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals are available online at www.sonomaraceway.com.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and E3 Spark NHRA Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to www.NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.