Denver: Ken Van Buren final report

Van Buren pleased with Denver outing despite qualifying results MORRISON, Colorado (July 12, 2009) - AGP Turbo Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Ken Van Buren made huge strides this weekend despite his failure to qualify in the Mopar NRHA Mile High ...

Van Buren pleased with Denver outing despite qualifying results

MORRISON, Colorado (July 12, 2009) - AGP Turbo Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Ken Van Buren made huge strides this weekend despite his failure to qualify in the Mopar NRHA Mile High Nationals, just his second Full Throttle Series event. At the end of the weekend, the two-time NHRA Division 7 Summit Racing ET Motorcycle Champion was qualified 17th out of 18 riders, just a little over one-tenth of a second away from making the show on Sunday.

After getting comfortable with their new Vance & Hines motor on Friday, Van Buren met with his crew chief Mitchel Lippen and team owner Ben Kriegsfeld to discuss the remaining qualifying sessions. "We went over all the data Saturday morning, and I asked Mitch, what can I do to make this work? He said, 'I'll give you the tune up, and you need to hit your shift points.'

Van Buren said that because of the altitude and conditions, shifts that would normally come around the 60-foot mark needed to happen around 80 feet, and for only his second competition on a Pro bike, it was a tall order.

"That meeting weighed on my mind all afternoon. When we didn't make it the first hit, the second lap I said, I gotta do this, I have to get into the show," Van Buren said.

"At the end of the day, though, I just couldn't make it all work in my mind, my shifts were too early, and that was the difference of not making it. My crew did the greatest job in the world, but I let them down because I missed my shift points. We should have been in the '40s and been in the show on Sunday," he said.

The team was far from dejected by the results, however.

"That all goes with the deal of getting comfortable as a team. Our performance is right there with everybody else. The tune up is there, the clutch is right, but I just didn't get my job done. We're over it now, though, and we're going to head on to Sonoma," he said.

Team owner Ben Kriegsfeld said, "This Vance & Hines motor is making power like crazy. Mitch has this thing tuned up and ready to go. Sure, we didn't make the show, but we were close.

"This was such a huge step in the right direction for us because we're all at the point where we know each other's jobs now, and we're not stepping on each other. It's all coming together and aside from qualifying, everything was great," Kriegsfeld said.

Lippen added, "It made four solid passes and went straight down the track every time. We're leaps and bounds ahead of where we were when we went to Houston. The bike responded to everything I did to it, which is phenomenal regardless of the location. For me it's just another track to tune, so overall I'm happy with it."

Aside from the success of coming together as a team, Van Buren was also pleased with the exposure he was able to generate for "Committed to Freedom", an organization that provides abuse survivors with spiritual tools to help them move beyond their circumstances.

Van Buren said, "We got a lot of positive feedback about Committed to Freedom throughout the weekend. Fans commented that it's great when you can admit there's bad things going on in the world and that you want to help change them, and that's really the point - to do something with the platform we've been given.

"Now we are gong on to Sonoma with a new mind set and we're going to really give them all we've got when we get there," he said.

-credit: www.committedtofreedom.org.

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