Brainerd: Karen Stoffer preview

Stoffer hoping to ride wave of recent performance surge BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 11) -- After enduring one of the most frustrating stretches of her professional career, Karen Stoffer came to life at the recently completed Mile-High Nationals in ...

Stoffer hoping to ride wave of recent performance surge

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 11) -- After enduring one of the most frustrating stretches of her professional career, Karen Stoffer came to life at the recently completed Mile-High Nationals in Denver and rode her GEICO Powersports Suzuki to a runner-up finish that not only lifted her spirits but let the rest of the class know she plans on contending for the 2010 championship.

"Spirits are high coming into Brainerd," Stoffer admitted, flashing a smile that has been missing since her world-record-setting performance at the season-opening race in Gainesville, Fla. "Now we need to prove to ourselves that we're really on to something good and have two competitive races in a row.

"In many ways Brainerd will be a validation test for us. We need to see if we can maintain the high level of performance we showed in Denver."

Stoffer was on top of the drag racing world in mid-March, claiming top qualifying honors at the Gatornationals with a stunning pass of 6.847 seconds. By all indications, it appeared her GEICO Powersports Suzuki, which is tuned by her husband Gary, would battle every weekend to lead the way in the category.

But Stoffer struggled over the next eight races, winning only three elimination rounds in total. As the races ticked by she slowly dropped in the Full Throttle rankings, finally bottoming out in 10th place. Then came Denver where wins against Angie Smith and fellow top-10 riders Craig Treble and Steve Johnson pushed her back up the standings.

"Mathematically, we are not locked into the Countdown yet," said Stoffer, who can secure a spot by simply making the elimination field, "but at least we can secure our position in qualifying and not have a do-or-die first round. Hopefully, we put a good number up there early so we can stay focused on going rounds.

"We're looking to make a big move and gain a couple more spots before the Countdown starts. If we can maintain the program we had in Denver we have a good chance at it, and when they reset the points, every spot is worth 10 points, so it's a big deal."

Following this weekend's race, NHRA officials will take the top 10 riders in the class, reset their points, and separate the participants by 10 points each, with the top qualifier earning a 20-point bonus.

-source: powersports racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Craig Treble , Karen Stoffer , Steve Johnson , Angie Smith