Stoffer has stiff test in Pomona's opening round
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12) – GEICO Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer draws Pro Stock Motorcycle championship leader Eddie Krawiec in the first round of the NHRA World Finals on Sunday, and Stoffer has no intentions of shying away from the challenge.
"I'm racing my race," Stoffer said. "I've raced him three or four times this year in the finals or semis. I certainly didn't expect to meet him here in the first round, but we've got a good motor and we're going to race our race.
"I don't care who's racing for a championship, and I don't care who's not. We want to end this year on a good note for this team and GEICO."
Stoffer qualified No. 14 with a pass of 6.925 seconds at 193.90 mph and faces No. 3 qualifier Krawiec, who made a best run of 6.850 seconds at 198.12 mph.
Stoffer is fifth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle standings after a stellar season that includes one victory, three other final-round appearances and one other semifinal appearance. She led the championship standings in late July, but mechanical problems have plagued the GEICO team, forcing at least one engine change in each of the last six races. But "Blazin'" has run well in Pomona.
"The same motor is still underneath this chassis for four passes," Stoffer said. "That's even more impressive, since it hasn't happened for six races. That's huge for us."
Stoffer made her best pass in Q3 after not being in the field after the first two qualifying runs. But crew chief Gary Stoffer advanced the tune-up, and Stoffer was able to get down the track with a fast time.
"This is an older motor," Stoffer said. "Going out early, we didn't get a lot of lap times to try and figure out the tune-up. It has a totally different personality, and it requires a different tune-up. It took Gary two passes to get the tune-up right. And there's a lot left on the table, too. I'm optimistic."