Denver: Chip Ellis final report

Semis again for Ellis in Denver "I think that's our fourth semi of the year," Chip Ellis said after the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. Ellis pilots the DRAG Specialties/S&S Cycle Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle for...

Semis again for Ellis in Denver

"I think that's our fourth semi of the year," Chip Ellis said after the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. Ellis pilots the DRAG Specialties/S&S Cycle Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle for G2 Motorsports. "I'm kinda stuck at that point right now, but if we can keep getting to the semis, we'll be OK."

The way things started out for Ellis and the G2 team in Friday qualifying, a Sunday semifinal prediction would have seemed wildly optimistic. "On the first run, the barometer correction wasn't working and we were way too rich," said George Smith, crew chief on Ellis's S&S powered Buell. "On the second run, the cam sensor wasn't functioning and we couldn't start the bike."

After one full day of qualifying, Ellis was not in the field and the team lacked data to tune with. In the thin air of high altitude Bandimere, tuning is everything. "The bike just doesn't feel like it has any power up here," said Ellis. "Even the golf cart doesn't have any power! It's hard on all engines. You have to put in a lot of gearing, turn a lot of RPMs, and push the engine real hard to try and go fast. But we finally got it figured out."

"The third round was our first baseline," said Smith. "We tuned to that and did pretty well in the fourth round."

And in eliminations. "We figured out the tune-up pretty well," continued Smith. "We ran low ET in both the first and second round."

"We gained over 2/10ths of a second since we started on Friday," noted Ellis, who nailed a nasty .008 light on fellow S&S Buell campaigner Hector Arana in round 1. "In the second round, I think the clutch was slippin' so bad it wouldn't allow the bike to leave good. Then I was trying to kill the tree against Matt Smith in the semi, and we both had .050 lights."

"Against Matt, three things happened that we missed," explained Smith. "The clouds came in and cooled the track down 20 degrees. I'd been pretty loose with the clutch, but the cooling off gave us more traction and I didn't have enough lock-up in it. Then Chip short-shifted the first two shifts. Not much, but it made the lock-up problem worse and we drove through the clutch. Matt went on to win, and we could have covered him, too."

"I'm disappointed because we lost to Matt, that's just the racer in me," said Ellis. "But Big George (Smith) is doing a great job. Once he gets the clutch figured out the way he's got the fuel injection figured out, we're gonna be hard to handle."

"I hate not to have won one we could have won, but we're making great strides and we're pretty happy," said Smith. "We are obviously disappointed that we missed the clutch tune-up, but to perform like we did and run the .38s in the heat of the day, that's not bad. But we were right on the edge to run those .38s, and you don't have to be off very much to lose it. After almost wasting Friday, we bounced back and were right on the edge Sunday, and I'm very happy about that."

"I was real proud with how the DRAG Specialties team did in Denver, which is a very difficult place to race and tune compared to the rest of the world," said G2 team co-owner George Bryce. "George Smith did a great job tuning the bike and Chip rode really well. We ran low ET of eliminations, but now I'm glad to get it behind us and move on to normal race conditions."

"Overall it was great racing this weekend," said Smith. "Bandimere is a beautiful facility. The air is clear and it was an awesome, breathtaking sight standing on the starting line Friday night overlooking the city.

"I've got to congratulate Matt Smith for overcoming his own problems, tuning the bike real well, and performing well. I know how difficult it is to perform that consistently in those changing conditions. Overall, the S&S powered Buells did great, with three in the semis. Congratulations to Matt Guidera, Rick Maney and the Mohegan Sun team for getting to the semifinals. I was really happy with the performance of the all S&S Buell teams. Peggy Llewellyn's bike ran very well, as did Chris Rivas and Hector Arana. And this is tough, exciting, close racing out there.

"The good news is we won two rounds very consistently. Chip drove well and the crew performed very well. We moved up a notch in the point standings and stayed solid in the top 8. We're real solid in fifth, and real solid in second in the Full Throttle Award. I wish we were winning more races, but that time will come. I hope to peak at Indy. We'll keep after it and our sponsors will be happy with us. Thanks to DRAG Specialties, S&S, Doc's Harley-Davidson of St. Louis, and all of our associate sponsors for giving us their support and having faith in our program. We're disappointed because we came up short again, but with the overall program, we're very pleased."

"Thanks to all the sponsors for helping us out," echoed Ellis. "We'll keep on rockin' and rollin' and try and go some rounds. I feel real good going into Sonoma. It's gonna be fast there, and I can breathe there, too!"

Chip Ellis and the G2 Motorsports team race next at the Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals, July 27-29 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA.

-credit: G2 Motorsports

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Peggy Llewellyn , George Bryce , George Smith , Chip Ellis , Matt Guidera , Matt Smith