Denver: Kenny Van Buren Friday notes

Van Buren confident despite struggles in Mile High Nationals MORRISON, Colorado (July 9, 2009) - To the casual observer, it would seem that Kenny Van Buren's second outing on his AGP Turbo Suzuki was just north of futile, landing him No. 18 out...

Van Buren confident despite struggles in Mile High Nationals

MORRISON, Colorado (July 9, 2009) - To the casual observer, it would seem that Kenny Van Buren's second outing on his AGP Turbo Suzuki was just north of futile, landing him No. 18 out of 18 riders after one day of qualifying, but for the 57-year-old power lifter, the day was a huge step forward in the big picture of his dreams. Van Buren made two runs today in the Mopar HRA Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway netting a best effort of 7.743 at 170.15 mph in his first lap.

"These are the first runs on our new Vance & Hines motor, so we wanted to take it easy on the first few passes," Van Buren explained. "The first run, we went out and just tested the waters and the setup, and got a .73 - definitely not earth shattering or record breaking, but clean, none-the-less."

The second round of qualifying was delayed due to rain, but resumed after 10 p.m. local time under clear skies and with cool temperatures. Van Buren suffered severe tire shake and held on for a 7.848 at 171.38 mph.

"Second lap, after the rain delay, we tried to step it up just a little, but I think we under-estimated the track and didn't give it enough power. I had terrible tire shake - it was almost hard to see at 100 feet. I held on, though, and got an .84 - not a step up, but another break-in lap," he said.

Although he has been racing motorcycles for years, this weekend is only the second Pro event for Van Buren and the AGP Motorsports team, but he said he is optimistic about where the team is going and how they are moving forward.

"Our crew chief, Mitchel Lippen, has his hands full with the new motor and setup, but we're all coming together really well as a team and we're advancing together. Everyone is doing a great job, and I can't thank Ben Kriegsfeld and AGP Turbo enough for the opportunity to be out here.

"One thing that's really exciting about the weekend is that we've had a lot of fans come by the pits, signed a lot of hero cards and talked to a lot of people. We've been able to bring some exposure to Committed to Freedom, and that's really important to us as well," he said.

Committed to Freedom is an organization that provides abuse survivors - whether physical, emotional or sexual - with, spiritual tools to help them move beyond their circumstances.

"We'll come back tomorrow and hit it again, hoping to get into the show for Sunday. I've been in this situation before, trying to get into the show, so I'm not worried. We'll just keep moving forward," Van Buren said.

Qualifying continues Saturday with rounds scheduled for 3.45 and 7:15 p.m. Eliminations are scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday.

-credit: agpm

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Series NHRA