Llewellyn's Momentum Continues in Minnesota Still in only her first full year of Pro Stock Motorcycle racing, Peggy Llewellyn rode the Karl Klement Racing Buell to another semifinal finish this weekend and moved another spot up the NHRA POWERade...
Llewellyn's Momentum Continues in Minnesota
Still in only her first full year of Pro Stock Motorcycle racing, Peggy Llewellyn rode the Karl Klement Racing Buell to another semifinal finish this weekend and moved another spot up the NHRA POWERade points ladder. Llewellyn and the team are hitting their stride at just the right moment, as the cut-off for the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship approaches as fast as the finishline on a top end charge.
The Countdown is the NHRA's new playoff series that starts with the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis. Only the top 8 in the POWERade point standings will be eligible to compete for the season championship, and with her performance at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, Llewellyn moved from a precarious eighth to a slightly safer seventh, and only one point out of sixth. "Peggy's becoming a really good rider and the bike's getting really fast and it's all happening at the right time," said co-crew chief Shane Maloney.
After a mediocre first round of qualifying, Llewellyn shot up the charts in round 2. But the team saved the best for Saturday, and Llewellyn went all the way to second, just behind quasi-teammate Chip Ellis of G2 Motorsports.
"It's a very proud weekend for Karl Klement Racing and G2 to take number one and two qualifiers," said George Bryce, G2 co-owner and the other crew chief on the Klement Racing Buell. "It's been a long time since G2 had a one and two effort."
"We left some on the table in qualifying," said Maloney. "We could have been on the pole, but it was neat to go number two to Chip."
Llewellyn's S&S powered Buell was part of an all-V twin sweep of round 1 on raceday, and while Ellis fell out in round 2, Llewellyn went all the way to the semis. There she lost on a holeshot to eventual race winner Andrew Hines.
"A fun thing with me and Shane today was to get a better 60 foot time each round, until we had a 1.052 in the semis, which was for sure the quickest in history at that track for a bike," said Bryce, who then referred to the team's semifinal finish at the previous race. "Our mission going into Minnesota was to keep dong what we were doing in Sonoma. The first round we crossed that hurdle, and the second round was another big hurdle. In the semis we had low ET of the round, and if Peggy had had the light she had first round or second round, we'd have been in the final."
"We just lacked 6 inches from winning it and we would have went to the final," said team owner Karl Klement.
"Now we know how to get past first round and second round, then when you get to the semis is when reaction time starts to really matter, so we're gonna continue to work on that," said Llewellyn.
"Peggy's an expert now at first and second round, and she's almost an expert at third round," said Maloney
"I just have to keep fine tuning my process," said Llewellyn. "In eliminations I kept short shifting. George Bryce kept saying 'Patience, Grasshopper. Wait for the light to come on.' I short shifted a little from first to second in the semi, and I heard the bike bog a little bit. Other than that, I had a great motorcycle all weekend. I just continued to focus on my process, not paying attention to the other lane, or points, or anything. We're coming along, don't you think?"
"It was an awesome weekend," agreed Maloney. "Peggy rode awesome. The motor ran really good, and the bike 60 footed awesome. At the end of the day, we had the motorcycle to win, but it was really encouraging."
"Look at the consistency of our three runs on Sunday," noted Bryce. "It's a tribute to the equipment we've been given to work with, the preparation of the bike by Garrett Whaley and Shane, and Peggy's driving ability coming full circle. Peggy's demeanor on the track, her confidence and her consistency is not only good for her on the track, it's gonna worry the competition. The Karl Klement team is on a roll and is not gonna be an easy round anymore. The Karl Klement team is tough to beat."
"We're headed to Reading and we're gonna try and win there," said Klement. "Everybody did a great job here in Brainerd."
"I must have done pretty good," added Llewellyn. "Because I get to ride home to Texas on Karl's private jet!"
Peggy and the team race next at the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, August 16-19, Maple Grove Raceway, Mohnton, Pennsylvania.