POMONA, Calif. - GEICO Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer endured a bittersweet day at the NHRA Finals Sunday, winning another Pro Stock Motorcycle round before falling to 2012 champion Eddie Krawiec in the second round.
The defeat also ended Stoffer's nine-year relationship with GEICO.
It's been a good relationship, and hopefully a foundation that we can do this for other businesses."
Stoffer posted her best finish in the final points standings by coming home fifth. Her previous best was sixth, where she finished in 2011 and 2006.
"It's been a great ride," Stoffer said. "It was a little different coming down the return road after I lost that round. I was waving to the fans, definitely for the last time on the GEICO bike.
But I'm optimistic. When one door closes, another door opens up. It's been a great time, a good relationship, and hopefully we can show that to our next partner."
Stoffer began her final ride on the GEICO bike with a victory over past champion Hector Arana Sr. in the first round. Stoffer left first and made a pass of 6.879 seconds at 192.91 mph to beat Arana's slowing run of 8.754 seconds at 111.74 mph.
That matched her up against Krawiec, who won the Pro Stock Motorcycle title for the second year in a row in a dominant season. Stoffer tried to gain an advantage on the Christmas Tree, but she left a tick too soon.
"We had that Eddie Krawiec in the second round," Stoffer said. "I did take a little bit of a shot at the Tree. I've done it in the past, and we ended up on the good side.
This time, it was just on the wrong side. Even with a perfect light, we wouldn't have won that race. That's why he's the champ, that's why the Harley-Davidsons are the champs."
Stoffer's plans are uncertain for next season and beyond, but she spent the weekend in Pomona encouraged by her fans and supporters.
"The fans have been phenomenal," Stoffer said. "The No. 1 question I get from the fans is, 'Do you have anything for next year?' Then when I say no, they say, 'Please come out here next year.
We need you out here and we love following you.' They've been inspirational and motivational. Time will tell."
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 5) - The NHRA World Finals this weekend is not only the final race of the 2012 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, it's also the final race of the partnership between GEICO and Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Karen Stoffer.
The nine-year relationship between GEICO and Stoffer is coming to an end after this race, and the six-time national-event winner hopes to be back for 2013 and beyond.
"Many have asked what we are going to do in the future, and my answer is, 'We want to continue what we have started and are looking for another partner to fill the GEICO gap,'" Stoffer said.
"We have a good value package to offer. It includes not only racing but a great growth strategy for our partners that has proven to be very successful, and the reason why we had a nine-year partnership with GEICO."
So Stoffer will be a busy woman this weekend, not only fulfilling her normal duties of interacting with fans and focusing on her riding, but also greeting long-time friends.
"The last two races of the year are out west," Stoffer said. "This is kind of our home area, so we have a lot of friends, family and fans here. It's tough, because you don't know if you're going to be back next year.
Everybody says, 'We'll see you next year. Oh, wait, you don't have a sponsor yet.'
"It's tough. You never know when you're going to see 'em again, but we're optimistic. We don't have anything lined up as of now but we're optimistic."
Stoffer is coming off a second-round appearance at Las Vegas, where she and crew chief Gary Stoffer were encouraged by two exciting races during eliminations.
Stoffer won her first-round matchup by .0029 seconds, then lost her second race by .0027 seconds despite one of her best passes of the weekend.
"We want four good runs in qualifying in Pomona, and we want four good elimination runs on Sunday," Stoffer said. "We're going the right direction and I think Gary's got everything all figured out.
"I'm not sure it gives me confidence but definitely Gary because he's been struggling the last couple races with the fuel and what direction to go. He's finally gotten on something again.
Hopefully it won't change a heck of a lot going into Pomona but he definitely knows what direction to go."
Stoffer sits fifth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings, which would be her best career finish if she remains there one more race.