Gainesville: Angelle Sampey race report

Sampey Exits Gators in Round 2 The reunion tour of three-time NHRA POWERade champion Pro Stock Motorcycle driver Angelle Sampey and six-time champion tuner George Bryce got its start this past weekend at the Gatornationals in...

Sampey Exits Gators in Round 2

The reunion tour of three-time NHRA POWERade champion Pro Stock Motorcycle driver Angelle Sampey and six-time champion tuner George Bryce got its start this past weekend at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. And while things could have gone better for the Rush Racing team, their results at the Gators have often been worse. "The reunion tour had an auspicious start," agreed Bryce. "But we won a round and we're in the top eight. Last year, and the year before that and the year before and the year before, we left the Gators not even in the top ten. So I think we're on a really good start."

And the top eight is where the Rush Racing Buell settled in from the very beginning of the weekend, which got off to a late start after rain washed out Friday qualifying. That compressed the program and made Saturday's two rounds crucial.

"I was late on my light in the first round, but that was intentional," said Sampey. "The second round was better, but the bike pulled to the right." Indeed, the 1.099 60 foot time on the pass was high for Sampey and the S&S powered Buell. A lot was left on the table that pass, and still remained there after round 1 of eliminations even though the team put in the S&S V-Twin motor that tested so well a couple of weeks before in Valdosta.

"I was very upset after the first round," said the famously passionate Sampey. "If Paul hadn't redlit, I would have lost first round. The bike was there. It would have been a much better run, but I definitely screwed up. I was late on the light and missed first gear. That round was a gift, and I had to get really mad at myself. I went out second round and I was gonna do better."

Sampey and the Buell did indeed do much better in the second round, but it wasn't good enough to take out POWERade champion Matt Smith. Angelle nailed Smith at the tree but came up about 19 feet short at the finishline. "We had some mechanical issue with the motorcycle," said Bryce. "We don't know exactly what it is, but we will find out by Houston."

"We put in a different engine, and it was still the same," said Sampey. "The second round I did a much better job. My shifts were just a tiny bit off, so there's something wrong. We'll know in the next couple of days."

"The weekend went real well," said team owner Karl Klement. "We didn't qualify as high as we'd like to have. But for the first time out for Angelle on a Buell, she did a great job. We made it to the second round and just got beat."

"I was very happy with the weekend," said Sampey. "It was our first race as a team and we had a blast. They gave a lot of coverage to the motorcycles and they gave a lot of it to our motorcycle. We didn't perform like we wanted to power-wise, but we performed so well together as a team. I'm very optimistic about the year. And it was great to have all our sponsors here, including Jim Davis from CycleSpot.com."

"Everybody from Rush Racing was here for our first Gatornationals with Angelle, and everything was just fine," added Klement.

"Angelle drove well and the team was awesome, and we're gonna do better at the next race," vowed Bryce. "It's like Angelle said--there's lots of races left and one race doesn't make a season."

And that next race comes up very soon at Houston. "I can't wait to get there," said Sampey, who lives nearby in Louisiana. "I won there last year. It was a crazy weekend like this weekend. I call it my home race, and I'll have a lot of friends and family there. We learned a lot this weekend and got that first initial hit. Now we can go kick some butt!"

-credit: as/rrs

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers George Bryce , Angelle Sampey , Matt Smith