Stoffer craving consistency as Firebird preps for race day
PHOENIX (Oct. 15) – GEICO Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer simply wants a little consistency – and the luck that usually goes with it.
For the second race in a row, Stoffer will have a different engine in her GEICO Suzuki for eliminations than one used in qualifying. Like the most recent race in Reading, Stoffer and the GEICO team turn to the engine named "Maverick" for the Arizona NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.
That's because the engine named "Wilson" was removed after the transmission suffered a failure in the fourth qualifying session at Phoenix. Maverick has a "bazillion" passes on it, Stoffer has joked, but she is confident in the engine for Sunday.
"Now we have to get a bazillion and five because we did have one hit the last time in Reading," Stoffer said. "The transmission broke in Reading on that pass, too. It's always a gamble. That's what this racing stuff's about."
Stoffer qualified No. 5 with a pass of 6.970 seconds at 190.32 mph and will face No. 13 qualifier Justin Finley in round one. Finley's best pass was 7.051 seconds at 192.28 mph.
"Maverick's been good to us," Stoffer said. "It's what we won with in Denver. Hopefully she'll be happy she's back in the bike and can do us a favor again and win here."
Stoffer sits fourth in the points standings after a season where she won once, reached the finals four other times and the semifinals once. But in the Countdown to the Championship, mechanical gremlins have struck the last two races, and they hit again in Phoenix.
"I think we could've done better on that last hit," Stoffer said. "We definitely could've improved again. We were going in the right direction. Every pass, we got faster and faster. But the good news is we're in the show in fifth, and that's the top half of the ladder. I'm happy about that.
"We just want to put up a good show. It's a challenging track, a tuner's race this weekend, and it's a rider's race in the shutdown area, because it's definitely a wild ride."