Van Buren to regroup after Sonoma, planning multiple test sessions before his next event SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - Sometimes it's hard to find a silver lining in a dark cloud, and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Ken Van Buren is searching for...
Van Buren to regroup after Sonoma, planning multiple test sessions before his next event
SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - Sometimes it's hard to find a silver lining in a dark cloud, and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Ken Van Buren is searching for the positives out of his weekend at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, Calif. Although he is a decorated sportsman racer with two championships and multiple event wins, this weekend was just his third event in Pro Stock Motorcycle - and the New River, Ariz. resident is finding out quickly the difference between the sportsman and Pro ranks.
"If it was easy, everyone would do it, right," Van Buren said with a laugh. "Seriously, though, it really shows the difference between the guys who are out here week-in and week-out, and teams like us, who hit a national event once every six weeks."
The AGP Turbo-backed team debuted in Houston in the spring, and then raced again two weeks ago in Denver before racing in Sonoma this weekend, and, by the numbers, has seen a marginal improvement each event. Van Buren finished 20th out of 21 here, having run their fastest mph at 177. 21 and actually improved almost two-tenths in performance from his Denver showing.
"The track was awesome, I was just ahead of the bike all weekend. It was driver error. I was shifting way ahead of when the light came on, which was uncharacteristic for me, especially at this track, it really came down to the fact that we have to go get more seat time and experience before we go to Vegas in the fall. We're just on a steep learning curve," he said.
Team owner Ben Kriegsfeld echoed his father-in-law's sentiments. "We've had better events, and we've only had three," he said.
"We left Denver and felt really good, thinking we had what it took to make the show, and maybe even go a round or two. Then, we got here and just careened down the confidence path. We're playing catch-up, really, to a bunch of teams that really know what they are doing.
"I know, realistically, that we're just a fledgling team that is learning, so, I'm ok with where we are - but, my competitive side tells me that I want to move forward quicker," Kriegsfeld said.
Kriegsfeld said the plans for the team are to spend as much time as possible testing at the local track in Phoenix to work out any bugs in the system and the teams race-day procedures.
"We've gotten a lot of help and input from the guys at Vance & Hines, and even Eddie Krawiec came over Saturday morning to see if he could offer any assistance. They have given us a lot to look at, and we're going to go back, take it to heart, and then move on from there," he said.
Van Buren added, "We're going to make a ton of test laps between now and Vegas, just going rounds and rounds and rounds until we have it down.
"We all had a good meeting today, got some new ideas and created a game plan, and now we're just going to go for it. Ultimately, we'll be a lot better off when we go to a lot more races. And that's the plan for 2010 - and this is really just intense testing.
"We're not giving up, we're full steam ahead. We have plenty of experience on this team with Mitch and Ben, and we're just going to keep hitting it hard, working forward to the next race and next season," Van Buren said.