Lucas Oil Racing press release
Transmission failure robs Stoffer of record run, round win
READING, Pa. (Oct. 2) – Karen Stoffer was sailing down Maple Grove Raceway with her GEICO Suzuki on a record run Sunday in the first round of the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals.
But a not-so-funny thing happened to her Pro Stock Motorcycle, as it suddenly slowed and allowed Chip Ellis to get the win light. It turns out that Stoffer's bike wouldn't go into sixth gear, so a potential record run was thwarted by bad luck.
"After all the good luck at the beginning of the season, I think the bad luck may be catching up with us now," Stoffer said. "It's a bummer in a couple of ways. One, obviously, is because we wanted to win the race. But it would have been a record run for us. It was the best eighth-mile on that bike ever. That had the potential to be a record. It's a bummer."
Another piece of bad luck for Stoffer? Ellis cut a perfect light, meaning he was .001 seconds from giving the win to Stoffer.
"You have to have the team, you have to have the bike, you have to have the rider, and you have to have the luck," Stoffer said. "One of those pieces just didn't fall into place for us."
Ellis was green, but Stoffer had run him down by the 300-foot mark.
"We had the race won," Stoffer said. "He left on me, but we went around and got in front of him. I went to hit high gear, and it went into neutral. I had no high gear."
The GEICO team's backup engine, "Maverick," worked well after the primary suffered a failure in the final qualifying session Saturday.
"There was nothing wrong with the motor," Stoffer said. "That's the good thing. But there is something obviously wrong with the transmission."
Stoffer came into the Reading race third in the Countdown to the Championship, but a first-round loss has put the GEICO bike behind with three races remaining in 2011.
"The championship is getting further and further out of the way," Stoffer said. "But if we can go other good things with this GEICO Powersports bike in the next three races, set some records, go down the track consistently and record some rounds and wins, that's what we're going to be focusing on."