Memphis: Angelle Sampey final report

Sampey Moves Up in Points Three-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Angelle Sampey didn't leave Memphis with the Wally that she and the Rush Racing team are working so hard for, but she did move up a spot in the POWERade championship points...

Sampey Moves Up in Points

Three-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Angelle Sampey didn't leave Memphis with the Wally that she and the Rush Racing team are working so hard for, but she did move up a spot in the POWERade championship points race.

Qualifying was once again an adventure for the team. Though not as nip-and-tuck as Charlotte, Saturday morning broke with Angelle still not in the field.

qualifying round 1
9th Angelle Sampey right lane 7.081 at 185.51 mph

qualifying round 2
13th Angelle Sampey left lane 7.187 at 153.59 mph

qualifying round 3
11th Angelle Sampey right lane 7.053 at 184.07 mph

qualifying round 4
11th Angelle Sampey left lane 7.024 at 184.67 mph

"We had a clutch malfunction on the first round of qualifying," said George Bryce, Angelle's six-time national champion tuner and crew chief. "Then we blew up the engine on the second round, so we went into Saturday not even in the show. We got in on the third round, but the clutch still slipped. We have slipped the clutch too many runs in a row, so for the fourth round of qualifying we doubled our clutch clamping. We ran a 7.02 and low of the round was 7.01. Now we knew we were ready to go into the race on Sunday.

"We had to run Karen Stoffer first round. She red lighted and we ran our best pass of the weekend so far, a 6.98."

eliminations round 1
(W) Angelle Sampey .074 6.987 at 187.03 mph
Karen Stoffer -.006(r) 6.998 at 189.39 mph

"Then we had to run the champion and points leader, Matt Smith," continued Bryce.

But before Angelle could stage the bike against Smith, it first had to start. And just like in the Brainerd final, a bad cam sensor quieted the S&S powered V-Twin. "But we decided after Brainerd that we wouldn't let that happen to us again," said Angelle. "So we doubled up on the cam sensors. When the bike didn't start, Michael (crewman Michael Ray) walked calmly over to the bike and switched over the sensors. Curtis (crewman Curtis Jackson) went through the starting routine again and I didn't even start to breathe heavy. I was really proud how the team all kicked in and worked together to solve that problem."

But the burnout box drama and subsequent rush to the line might have contributed to Angelle spotting Smith a little at the tree. That little bit turned out to be costly. "Matthew had a great run, a 6.98 and an .029 light," said Bryce. "We ran 6.97 and had an .043 and lost by .007--a foot!"

eliminations round 2
(W) Matt Smith .029 6.986 at 188.36 mph
Angelle Sampey .043 6.979 at 187.96 mph

"It was a very, very close race," said Angelle. "A little bit better on the light, a little bit better on my shifting, a little bit better going straight, and we would have won the round. I think we deserved to win that round, but we didn't and I'm disappointed for my sponsors. On raceday we had a great motorcycle, but since we qualified bad we had some tough rounds. Though I don't know it really matters anymore, because the whole field is so competitive."

"Memphis was a wild race," added Bryce. "We did improve every run, we did move up in points, and we did improve second round, performance wise, for the first time this season. And now we will go back to G2 and repair the engine and prepare for Vegas and Pomona. Thank you Karl and Kim Klement and Rush Racing!"

"It's still possible for us to win the championship, but we have to hope that the people above us make mistakes and we don't," concluded Angelle. "This is the longest I've ever gone without a win, and it gets tougher and tougher. Maybe in Vegas. But we're still fighting for wins and we're still going after this championship."

Angelle and the Rush Racing team race next October 30-November 2 at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada

-credit: as/rr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers George Bryce , Karen Stoffer , Angelle Sampey , Michael Ray , Matt Smith