Llewellyn Loses by .001 in Denver "I caught the redeye. Not a flight, but at the starting line," said NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Peggy Llewellyn. She and first round opponent Eddie Krawiec both left before the green light came on at the ...
Llewellyn Loses by .001 in Denver
"I caught the redeye. Not a flight, but at the starting line," said NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Peggy Llewellyn. She and first round opponent Eddie Krawiec both left before the green light came on at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals near Denver, but Llewellyn tripped the beam a mere .001 before Krawiec. Eddie advanced while Peggy was forced to the sidelines.
"I was surprised, because I didn't even know about the redlight until I was going into high gear," said Llewellyn. "I saw in my peripheral that Eddie's winlight was on and my heart sank."
"It was a dead-even match-up with Eddie, and you have to go for it, and both of 'em did," said Shane Maloney, co-crew chief on Llewellyn's Karl Klement Racing team. "Number 8 and number 9 qualifiers is a tough match-up, and Peggy did her job, she did what she had to do. She pushed the tree a little bit. They both fought hard for it and we lost by one thousandth of a second."
"Peggy rolled the starting line just about two inches," said George Bryce, Llewellyn's other co-crew chief. "But the only thing we need to work on right away is practicing her holding perfectly still at the starting line. She's staging correctly and flooring it right, and we have the air gap right on the clutch, but right before she gets ready to go with the clutch, she's got her feet behind her a little bit and she just barely pushes off. That takes away your rollout and gives you too close of a light, and you end up with a slower ET. That's what happened to us."
The team felt they might have had a more favorable match-up had they done a better job in qualifying. Bandimere Speedway's very high altitude results in considerably lower horsepower for the Pro Stock Motorcycles' oxygen craving motors, and elapsed time and miles-per-hour figures reflect that. "It did feel slower," said Llewellyn. "On Tuesday, I worked out and told my trainer that I was going to Denver. He said 'Not only will the bike be slow, but you'll be slower, too.' At the track on Thursday, I walked down the hill and up the hill and up the stands. Our crewman Garret Whaley is from Denver, and he said I might get a little lightheaded if I do too much. I felt that a little bit.
"Going down the track was like I was in slow motion. I had to slow down my shifting. On my first or second pass I might have short-shifted a couple, but eventually I got into a rhythm. What a difference it is from our testing track in Valdosta, Georgia!"
"We struggled with the tune-up in both runs on Friday, which is a little bit of a waste," said Maloney.
"We got it figured out on Saturday," continued Shane. "The last run we probably should have improved, but we fell off a little bit and it bumped us down to ninth."
"We were really proud that starting off so slow with the bike up here at Denver with the 7.60, that we were able to improve to the .52, then improvie to the .41," said Bryce.
"Ninth is not really where we wanted to be, but I guess it's OK considering that we probably ran with a motor that's a little down on power," added Maloney. "On Sunday, the weather changed. We threw some gear at it and took some fuel away from it. We expected it to run good and it did."
"The conditions were so much worse on Sunday, and we were able to step up and have the fourth best run of the first round, which was really great," agreed Bryce. "Peggy drove the bike really good, and Shane and Garrett did a good job of preparing the bike. I appreciate Karl and Kim Klement giving us a shot out here. We'll keep digging. The points are very, very close now. We're only just 20 points out of 7th place and 10 out of 8th place, but we're workin' hard at it and we're gonna try and do even better at Sonoma."
"I feel like we let Peggy down a little bit in qualifying and could have given her a better motorcycle," said Maloney. "Peggy was riding good this weekend, and everybody did a good job and everybody worked well together again. I'm a little disappointed but proud of everybody. Now we'll do what we've got to do. We'll pack it up and service everything, put a good motor in for Sonoma, and get back to sea level where we can actually use the horsepower that we've been looking hard to find."
"This kind of set us back in the points chase, but we have a couple more races and I'm up for the fight," finished Llewellyn.
Peggy and the team race next at the Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals, July 27-29 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA.