Another Round 1 Loss Chafes Ellis Chip Ellis, driver of the DRAG Specialties/S&S powered Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle, failed to improve on his Gatornationals round 1 holeshot loss at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.
Another Round 1 Loss Chafes Ellis
Chip Ellis, driver of the DRAG Specialties/S&S powered Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle, failed to improve on his Gatornationals round 1 holeshot loss at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Instead, Ellis went the other way with a scant .004 redlight. "I just hate it," said Ellis. "It just made me sick."
The weekend started off poorly for Ellis and the G2 Motorsports team when the bike had to be shut off in the water box for round 1 of qualifying. "I left a switch touching the carbon fiber on the inner fender and caused the bike to catch on fire," explained Ellis.
"We were lucky enough to get in on second round, then it rained." True enough, a Saturday rainout meant teams paired up for Sunday on their Friday results. Ellis redlit against fellow Buell campaigner Chris Rivas as a rash of redlight fever spread over the field.
"We drove a long way to make two runs," Ellis said dejectedly.
"Naturally, we're all very disappointed for the crew, the guys at S&S, and especially the sponsors," said George Smith, G2 Motorsports president and crew chief for the DRAG Specialties Buell. "But we have a good bike and a good team and we'll get better results. I think the rollout was just a little shorter than usual. 43 % of the riders in the first three Pro Stock Motorcycle rounds redlighted."
"That was like mud wrestling in a pool of razor blades," said George Bryce, G2 director of racing operations and a legendary driving coach. "It was pretty bloody out there, and it was unfortunate that we got tangled up in all that redlight madness. But our drivers are trained, professional panthers and these bikes react so quickly. That was the most redlights we've had at a national event, and after we only had one at Gainesville. So there was something different at Houston. The 60 foots were better at Gainesville and the reaction times were worse. At Houston it was the other way around, so the rollout was shorter. I know it sounds like sour grapes, but that's the way it was."
"I think there was something going on with the rollout for that many people to redlight," said Ellis, who agreed with the consensus that the lack of qualifying runs made it hard for the field to set their bikes up for the Houston lights. "Our guys actually slowed the bike down a little bit for Sunday to prevent getting a redlight."
"I want Chip to continue to ride the same way, and it's up to me and Ken (chief mechanic Ken Johnson) to figure out how to slow the bike down," said Smith. "I don't think it's realistic for us to expect the rider to modify his riding to every track. We're going to experiment with slowing the chassis down a little bit and we're also gonna work a little bit with the fuel injection to get the bike to run like we want."
"We're going to test on Thursday and I'm looking forward to it," said Ellis. "We're gonna try some things, and I'm gonna try some things. An .020 light is gonna win rounds, and whoever figures out that kind of consistency is gonna win a lot of rounds. But like George says, we're a bunch of cats out there ready to pounce.
"We're gonna get this figured out. I've got a good bunch of guys and we're gonna get on to it. There's still a lot of races left and I've been consistent. I qualified fifth and went out first round both races this season!"
In addition to their testing schedule, Ellis and Johnson will appear with the DRAG Specialties/S&S Buell and transporter at Granite Mountain Harley-Davidson in Conyers, Georgia April 21st and 22nd. The team competes next at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, April 26-29 at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.
-credit: G2 Motorsports