Stoffer heads to Phoenix with simple goals in mind
PHOENIX (Oct. 10) – GEICO Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer is in the midst of her best season as a Pro Stock Motorcycle rider, and despite a recent stumble brought on by mechanical troubles, she hopes to close out the 2011 season on a positive note.
Stoffer is fourth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings heading into this weekend's 27th annual Arizona NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway, with one victory and four other final-round appearances this season.
She's never finished higher than sixth in the points in her nine-plus years racing motorcycles in NHRA, but she hopes to top that with a strong final three races of the season.
In the most recent race in Reading, Pa., Stoffer suffered a broken engine in qualifying and then a faulty transmission in a first-round defeat. The uncharacteristic weekend ended with Stoffer slipping to fourth in the points, 97 out of the lead.
"The championship is kind of out of our minds," Stoffer said. "Now it's all about making good, clean passes. Before, we were watching the points and who was where. Now, it's just about getting our motor right and making sure it shifts every time. That and having as much fun as possible with the rest of the year."
Stoffer is from Minden, Nev., making Phoenix one of the closer races to her home.
"Close to home is nice from a travel standpoint, but close to home also means a lot more people, a lot more activity, a lot more stuff going on," Stoffer said. "In this respect, it's probably good we're not No. 1 with a big target on our back. We're sitting No. 4, and we're definitely chasing and will be the darkhorse coming in. Maybe having all the family and friends will give us the support we need."
Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:30 and 4 p.m., Friday, and 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. Sunday. All action will be covered by ESPN2.