G2's Smith to the Semis at Pomona, Finishes 5th in Points--Ellis Finishes 4th The Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona brought mixed results for the G2 Motorsports Pro Stock Motorcycle team. After struggling in...
G2's Smith to the Semis at Pomona, Finishes 5th in Points--Ellis Finishes 4th
The Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona brought mixed results for the G2 Motorsports Pro Stock Motorcycle team. After struggling in qualifying, Matt Smith's Torco Race Fuels/Skull Gear Buell came alive on raceday to carry Matt all the way to the semifinals, where he lost to event winner Craig Treble. Chip Ellis fared better than Matt in qualifying on the DRAG Specialties/S&S Buell, but succumbed to redlight fever in round 1 on raceday.
"Matt rode well, but the weekend was not too productive for me," said Chip, who wasn't the only rider to have redlight trouble at Pomona. Five of the top seven bikes in points were gone in the first round-three to redlights and one to a badlight.
"That was probably the best I've rode all year long," agreed Matt. "I talked to my dad (Pro Stock/Pro Mod racer Rickie Smith) about my lights and he told me to try something and it really worked. Thursday I went .036, Friday I went .032, Saturday I went .026 and .024, and all day Sunday I went .02's. Everybody can redlight, and Dad's advice was just something that slowed me down a little bit but kept me consistent."
"I've been pretty consistent with my lights until the last two races," noted Chip. "Whatever my lights have been for the weekend is what they've been. But these last two races, I can't hardly get a green light. I redlit two times in qualifying this week and again in round 1 of eliminations. The lights were all almost identical. We tried some different stuff with the clutch this weekend and going into the first round we had a different set-up. I did my normal deal, it just didn't turn out to be so normal."
"The NHRA has lowered the infrareds (the beams that control staging and timing of racing vehicles) for the Pro Stock cars because of all the stuff they have hanging down," said G2 crew chief/tuner George Bryce. "In Atlanta, they threw out five runs in Pro Stock Car because their 60 foots were too good. That meant they were keeping the beams blocked as they took off. You can't get a redlight with that. So they lowered the beams to find clearance between the cars and the track. With the bikes, then, you get quicker reaction times-or redlights-and slower 60 foots. The bad lights come from the driver trying not to redlight. They don't want to let go of the lever because they don't want to go red. Now Chip was very, very consistent all weekend and never strayed far from .000, one way or the other.
"Matt did great. He drove well and the bike ran good all the way to the semis. Then it inexplicably laid down from an .11 to a .22 when we thought it was gonna run a .10. We have a lot of mysteries to uncover in the off-season."
"I'm disappointed that we could never regain the exceptional performance that we were showing at Sonoma and earlier in the season," said G2's George Smith. "If you couple that with the opposition stepping up, I suppose that we should be satisfied with a fourth and fifth place points finish, but I'm not. We have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what's missing. We're planning a strategy meeting at the G2 headquarters in Americus next week to digest everything that's happened this past season and evaluate our options to develop a plan for 2007. It's nice for us to be a flagship for the G2 operation, and we really want to win. But we also supply our customers with the best parts possible, and it's very satisfying to see our customers performing real well and sometimes outperforming us. Special congratulations to Matt Guidera, Ryan Schnitz and Tom Bradford for their great runs in Pomona. That's evidence that we give our customers the best possible equipment to race with.
"I'm also very pleased with everybody on the G2 team's effort, as proven by winning the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship for the 2006 season."
"It was a great honor to win the hotly contested Full Throttle Award," agreed Bryce. "I got to give the acceptance speech at the banquet because Ken Johnson (chief mechanic on Ellis's DRAG Specialties/S&S Buell) didn't want to. Ken's been working with us for 22 years and won 78 Wallies. Before I went out on the stage, they told me not to talk but just a second because John Force needed the extra time. I looked over at the Harley-Davidson team and said 'I know you wanted this trophy bad, but the right guy won it.'"
The Full Throttle Award is based on qualifying position and consistency of qualifying runs throughout the season. "We used to be experimental in qualifying, but now we try to be consistent," explained Bryce. "We don't throw away qualifying runs anymore. Andrew Hines would have won the award if he'd not had that one bad run in Pomona. He asked me in the staging lanes for the fourth round if there was anything he could do or say to make me and Chip skip the run. That's when I knew how important it was to them. I really want to say 'Thanks' to the Coca-Cola Company for giving recognition to the guys behind the scenes who make these bikes run so well.
"And overall, our bikes ran pretty well this year. We had two wins for Matt, two for Chip, both bikes in the 6-second club, Chip was the season leader in number 1 qualifiers with five, and Matt had two. It's very rewarding given the intense competition between the makes. I felt like we did well."
"The year was pretty much a good year," said Matt. "We struggled the first three races and struggled at the end, but I won two races including the biggest race of the year (the U.S. Nationals). We'd all like to be able to run for the championship, but all in all you can't complain."
And you can bet that, with the help of their sponsors, no one will work harder in the off-season towards the '07 championship than G2 and their customers. "I'd especially like to thank Drag Specialties, S&S Cycle, Mac Tools, and Evan Knoll and the Torco/Skull Gear folks for their support in making all this possible," finished George Smith.