New Pro Stock Motorcycle Team Blows in from Texas Texas Ford dealer Karl Klement and his wife Kim have put together an NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock Motorcycle team and gone straight to the top of the talent heap to staff it. The Klements hired...
New Pro Stock Motorcycle Team Blows in from Texas
Texas Ford dealer Karl Klement and his wife Kim have put together an NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock Motorcycle team and gone straight to the top of the talent heap to staff it. The Klements hired 6-time national champions George and Jackie Bryce of G2 Motorsports/Star Racing to consult with the team and find the groove that will launch the Klements' effort to a successful season in the highly competitive class. George will share tuning and crew chief duties with former Steve Johnson tuner Shane Maloney, who was plucked out of the engine tuning staff at Roush Racing. And after a thorough interviewing process, the Klements tagged fellow Texan Peggy Llewellyn to pilot the bike.
"I drag raced 30 years ago and always wanted to be involved in the NHRA," said Karl, who also has 20 years involvement in AMA Dirt Track racing under his belt. "I went to a couple of races last year, and the sport is so clean and professional and I just wanted to be involved. I told my wife I'd like to do this dragbike deal, and I went to George's drag racing school in Gainesville. I met two or three racers on the circuit and decided I wanted to go drag racing this year.
"I'm tickled to death to work with George and all of his championship experience, and Shane and his experience winning big races."
"I'm really excited for the opportunity," said Maloney, who with Johnson, won St. Louis in 2004, and Gainesville and Indy in 2005. "I can't thank Karl enough. And I'm really excited to be working with Peggy, I think we've got the next star."
"Before I picked a rider, I interviewed three potentials," said Klement. "Peggy has a heart bigger than Texas. There is nobody that wants to win as bad as she does. It's such a positive thing to have somebody on the team like that who is as mature and focused as she is. By the Gatornationals, she will be ready."
Llewellyn first started going to drag races at age 7 with her dad Eugene, who campaigned a nitro Funnybike at the old Alamo Dragway in San Antonio. "Dad started building me a bike in '93," said Peggy, whose brother Gene Jr. also races. She entered six POWERade events in 2001, qualifying for three. "It has always been my plan to get back out there. It's something I wanted to do, but I wanted to make sure it was something I could do."
Peggy attended Bryce's PSM program at the Frank Hawley drag racing school and immediately caught George's attention. "I've been a big fan of Peggy's for a long time," said Bryce. "I would like to give her the chance to showcase her ability, because I've seen what she can do at the school."
"George called me around Halloween and told me about Karl and how he wanted to put together a team," said the 5'2", 115 pound Llewellyn. "Then it was on fast forward and I was back at the school again."
"Peggy really wants to be a part of this and we are looking forward to building a team around her, promoting her, and introducing drag racing to some new people," said Jackie, a two-time AMA/Prostar Pro Stock national champion crew chief in her own right. "Peggy has stayed involved with the sport from the outside and we're excited to be working with her. I'm also very happy that we are involved with the Klement family. Karl and Kim have so much business experience and we're learning a lot from working with them. Adding Shane's NHRA experience to the team has really accelerated Karl's learning curve and he is helping get Peggy up to speed with her training. They are putting together the trailer now--which is going to be a masterpiece!"
Llewellyn is hard at it with a trainer who works with NFL players. "We're doing strength and cardio training and working on my mental focus and toughness," said Peggy.
"I think Peggy's gonna be great," said Klement. "She's definitely got the right attitude."
Two Bikes, One Goal
One of the most fascinating reasons to watch this team in '07 will be its juggling act with vastly different equipment. "We're building a race-ready Buell and a race-ready Suzuki, and whichever one outperforms the other is what we'll use," said Maloney. "We're testing both starting in January, and whichever one is fastest and whichever one Peggy likes the best is what we're going to race."
"The main reason I'm excited about working with Karl is that he doesn't care what we race, he just wants to win," said Bryce, who made his reputation with Suzukis but tuned Chip Ellis to the quickest-ever PSM pass this past season aboard an S&S powered Buell. "We will have a state-of-the-art 1655cc TL Suzuki and a state-of-the-art S&S powered Buell. By the Gators, we'll have Peggy racing whatever she's fastest on and most comfortable with."
Llewellyn's experience to date has been on Suzukis, and so far she's only sat on Ellis's Buell. But she's being fitted for her own on January 15th. "This is the perfect opportunity that I was looking for. I got a Pro Stock ride for Christmas and my birthday!" said Peggy, whose birthday is December 26th. "My goal is to win a race and finish in the top 10. I have to be modest. I haven't been out there in four or five years."
"It's up to George and me to give her the right bike," added Maloney, who along with his wife Rachel has relocated from Charlotte to G2/Star Racing's Americus, Georgia headquarters. "I know Peggy can do it."
"Shane's really focused and particular and on time," noted Klement. "He just wants to kick ass. I've never put a team together before that's so focused and working so hard,"
Peggy Llewellyn and the Klement Racing Team's first event will be the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals on March 15-18, 2007, in Gainesville, Florida.