Sonoma: Peggy Llewellyn final report

Llewellyn 60 Foots Her Way Towards the Countdown Using a string of razor sharp 1.04 to 1.05 second sixty foot launches, Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Peggy Llewellyn got her Karl Klement Racing Buell into a 6 second groove and made a big move...

Llewellyn 60 Foots Her Way Towards the Countdown

Using a string of razor sharp 1.04 to 1.05 second sixty foot launches, Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Peggy Llewellyn got her Karl Klement Racing Buell into a 6 second groove and made a big move towards competing in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. The Countdown is the NHRA's new playoff series that starts with the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis. Only the top 8 in the POWERade point standings will be eligible to compete for the season championship, and Llewellyn's super weekend in Sonoma moved her into 8th place.

From the moment her Buell came off the trailer, Llewellyn was never out of the top 5 in Sonoma, despite a new tire in Q1 that slowed down the bike's starting line launch.

"The bike is tuned up really good," Llewellyn said at the end of qualifying. "The last qualifying pass, I was kind of all over the track and still went a .97. So man, I'm pumped. Three 6 second passes in a row! But I'm gonna take it one round at a time. The first round of eliminations is always the hardest, but George (co-crew chief George Bryce) told me not to ponder that, to just do my process and nothing else. So I just started not worrying." That's a strategy that paid off all the way until an equipment malfunction ended Peggy's run against points leader Matt Smith in the semifinals.

eliminations round 1

"I was floored when we ran the .93," said Llewellyn. "We had a 1.045 sixty foot time, and the bike was straight and smooth and I shifted on time." Those sixty foot times came through clutch tuning and ramming the bike at launch, a technique that helps to get better sixty foot times, and better runs for the rest of the quarter mile. "Sometimes I was doing that, sometimes not, so I was working at it to get more consistent."

eliminations round 3

"Matthew had a 1.06 sixty foot time and we had a 1.04," Bryce said about the semi. "Peggy was getting ready to mow Matt down and drive around him when the transmission deadheaded on the 2-3 shift."

"Our transmission decided it did not want to go to the finals," deadpanned Shane Maloney, the other crew chief on the Klement Racing Buell. "Our clutch wanted to go, but our transmission said 'No.'"

"About one out of every fifty runs, those dogs (parts in the transmission) just collide, and you can take it out and fix it and there won't be anything wrong with it, and you can put it back in and make fifty more runs on it," said Bryce.

"Our worst pass of the weekend, not including the transmission problem, was a 7.05, and the only reason it ran that slow was because we had a brand new tire and it couldn't sixty foot," explained Maloney. "Every run after that was in the 6s with 1.04, 1.05 sixty foots on the 20 year old MTC clutch system that everyone says we can't go fast with anymore. So that was awesome."

"We did great!" said Bryce. "Peggy took the KK Racing Buell all the way to the semis, we had lane choice every round, and we ran all 6 second runs until we got to the semis. We were very proud that Peggy took the leap to win a couple of rounds, and the bike was sooooo fast. We're very proud of the whole team, and very proud that we were able to gain that many points."

"It was so fantastic," agreed Llewellyn. "We knew we had to do something to stay in the Countdown, and we went out and did it. We found the consistency we were looking for in both the bike and my riding."

"We were also really proud that we had the Motion Pro guys here for the whole weekend," said Bryce. "They're hooked on NHRA drag racing now. Everyone of them came by and hugged us and told us they had the best time and they had no idea it was this cool, so that was great to get those guys excited about it."

"We had a great weekend," said team owner Karl Klement. "I'm so happy for the team and Peggy. We ran 6s all weekend, and if we wouldn't have had the transmission problem, I think we could have gone all the way."

"Peggy rode unbelievably awesome this weekend," said Maloney. "Everybody worked together, it was a great weekend, we moved up in the points, and we're back in eighth. We'll put a different motor in and a brand new transmission and go to Brainerd, and hopefully we'll go a few more rounds and move up another spot or two."

"This is a great confidence builder going into these last two races before the Countdown," finished Llewellyn. "All that helps in learning to take each and every round. I'm just gonna go out and try and do the same thing these next couple of races. It's gonna be a fight all the way to Indy. It's gonna be to tough!"

Peggy and the team race next at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, August 9-12, Brainerd Int'l Raceway, Brainerd, Minnesota

-credit: kkr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Peggy Llewellyn , Matt Smith