Angelle Seeling Looks to Clinch Championship

Angelle Seeling has enjoyed the best season of her career. Now, she wants to officially close the deal. The New Orleans Pro Stock Motorcycle rider is two races away from becoming the second female to earn an NHRA Winston...

Angelle Seeling has enjoyed the best season of her career. Now, she wants to officially close the deal. The New Orleans Pro Stock Motorcycle rider is two races away from becoming the second female to earn an NHRA Winston championship in the sport's history. Following a much-needed victory at the Memphis Motorsports Park, Seeling holds a 35 point lead over category rival and two-time defending series champ Matt Hines. Optimism is great in the Team Winston pits, produced by Seeling's career-best five victories and four No. 1 qualifying efforts, along with personal performance-bests for elapsed time and speed. Her focus now is turned to going rounds and doing everything that's possible to hang on to the Winston points lead. After leading the points chase all season, a second round performance put her four points behind Hines after the event in Reading, Pa. Revived with a new air of confidence following her recent victory at Memphis, Seeling has a new perspective going into the final two events of the limited 14 race campaign. "Ever since I lost the points lead it was a quick reminder of how anything can happen no matter how many points you are in the lead," Seeling said. "I decided that I wasn't going to worry about the points until the last race. I've been telling myself that all year long but I never did it until I lost the points lead. When I lost it, I knew I had made a big mistake and it was time to come out here and kick some butt and have some fun." Seeling hopes to keep the momentum going and add more points to her Winston championship quest at the third annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions, Oct. 28-31 at Houston Raceway Park. The $1.7 million race is the 21st of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Seeling's victory over Star Racing teammate Fred Collis couldn't have come at a better time. Although some said Collis - who defeated Antron Brown and Hines at the Tennessee event - was a blocker, pre-programmed to lose against Seeling in the final, she says that wasn't the case. "That was the thing that I was most worried about," said Seeling, who used a holeshot start to beat her teammate. "I didn't want anybody to think we were doing that. I wanted to beat him so bad and show everybody there was no way Fred could take a dive for me to win the race. It looked like Fred had a bad light on purpose and I won. I made him promise me at the end of the track that he didn't do it on purpose. He said he didn't; that I had won the race. I don't want anybody to hold that against me. I want to win the championship fair and square." When AMA Pro Star champ Collis, making his NHRA debut, defeated Hines in the semifinals, Seeling says she couldn't hold back her emotions. Hines' late season rampage, which included back-to-back victories in Indianapolis and Reading, Pa., chipped away at the points lead Seeling had built. "I was so excited," Seeling said. "I didn't want to get too excited because I didn't want Matt to think I was throwing anything in his face. I couldn't control my emotions. I was so happy for Fred and my team. Star Racing and Team Winston has been trying so hard all year. To have both of our bikes in the final at Memphis was a great feeling." Seeling, who qualified No. 2 for the Matco Tools SuperNationals last year, took a first round exit when she redlighted against Geno Scali. Hines also lost early, posting a second round defeat to eventual runner-up Greg Underdahl. John Smith rode to victory on his Anoka-Ramsey Suzuki, becoming the only national event winner other than Seeling or Hines during the '98 campaign. With such a small points separation between she and Hines, Seeling knows that bettering her performance this time around is crucial. "I look at it like we're starting over," Seeling said. "It's the beginning of the season again and we're going back to work. We've got to concentrate on winning rounds and we can win the Winston championship."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Matt Hines , Geno Scali , Greg Underdahl , Fred Collis