Sonoma: Ken Van Buren preview

Van Buren set on Improvement in Sonoma SONOMA, Calif. (July 23, 2009) Pro Stock Motorcycle newcomer Ken Van Buren has his eyes set on improving his performance this weekend as the NHRA travels to the wine country of Sonoma, Calif. for the ...

Van Buren set on Improvement in Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. (July 23, 2009) Pro Stock Motorcycle newcomer Ken Van Buren has his eyes set on improving his performance this weekend as the NHRA travels to the wine country of Sonoma, Calif. for the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals. In just his third start as a pro, Van Buren said he is getting more and more comfortable with his AGP Turbo Suzuki GSXR 1000 and the new Vance & Hines engine.

"Two weeks ago, in Denver, we were really dealing with two issues: one was getting comfortable with the new setup, and two was me trying to figure out how to adjust for the altitude in the way I shift and ride the bike," Van Buren said. "It kept us from qualifying, but we did move out of last place, which is a step in the right direction.

"This weekend, we should be in much better shape, because I won't have to try adjusting for the altitude's effects on the motor's performance, so I will be able to do what I do without worrying about anything else," he said.

"Mitch (Lippen, crew chief) and Ben (Kriegsfeld, team owner) and I all spent time over the week off working out our strategy, and I'm really confident we've got what it takes to make it into the show during qualifying and possibly even go a round or two," he said.

Kriegsfeld said, "We knew coming in to this season that we were looking at just testing and figuring out our roles on the team. Now that we have a few races under our belt, things have really started to jell, and I'm sure we will have a great weekend. How can you not have a great weekend in Sonoma, at the racetrack - right? I mean, it's more than 20, almost 30 degrees cooler here that it is at home in Phoenix, so, just getting away from the 110-degree weather is great for us."

Kriegsfeld, Van Buren's son-in-law, is a drag racer himself as well as team owner and a successful entrepreneur. He said he started the team because he has always loved drag racing and motorcycles.

"I've been a fan of racing since I can remember, and I have just always loved being at the track. Ken has done so much for me in my business and just in life, that when the opportunity presented itself to put him on a bike and start building a program, I just jumped at it.

"This weekend will be just another step on the road to next season, when we hope to run the whole Full Throttle series. We are using each of these events near our home-state of Arizona as opportunities to work out the kinks and get things all dialed in, and so far, I have to say I'm really pleased."

And for Van Buren, it's always good to have a happy sponsor, not to mention a happy son-in-law.

-credit: kvbPR

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Series NHRA