G2 Heads South The G2 Motorsports NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle team leaves behind a bittersweet weekend up north in Brainerd and looks forward to more complete success this weekend in hot and sticky Memphis. Chip Ellis's DRAG Specialties/S&S Buell...
G2 Heads South
The G2 Motorsports NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle team leaves behind a bittersweet weekend up north in Brainerd and looks forward to more complete success this weekend in hot and sticky Memphis. Chip Ellis's DRAG Specialties/S&S Buell continued to show it's silver tail to the field in qualifying at Brainerd, nailing down the #1 spot with a 7.086. Teammate Matt Smith was four spots behind in fifth with a 7.131 on the Torco Race Fuels/Skull Gear Buell.
Blow-by-Blow from Brainerd
"It was pretty good," Ellis said about the Brainerd weekend. "We qualified on the pole and won the Full Throttle award. But it could have been a little better." That's because Ellis lost to eventual winner Antron Brown in a knock-down, drag-out, drag race in round 2 of eliminations. "The skies were clear when we went to the staging lanes for the round and then it started raining," Ellis reported about the lead-up to his last round of competition.
"We had to run back to the truck," said G2 tuner/crew chief George Bryce. "The temperature dropped ten degrees and we pulled our hair out trying to decide whether to make a tuning change."
"We were at the trailer for about 20 minutes and the altitude changed 700 feet while we were waiting to run," added Ellis.
Making a tuning change on the S&S Buell's electronic fuel injection system isn't quite as easy as one might think. "The NHRA doesn't allow sensors on the bike, so when the temperature changes we have to manually change the jetting just like a carburetor," explained Bryce. "The NHRA guys came running over to the truck and said 'The track's dry, let's go!'"
At the line, Brown was still smarting from his Sonoma redlight loss to Ellis, who made matters worse when he broke down track. "Antron had a .002 light in Brainerd and got left on," said Bryce, who noted that his driver Ellis cut a perfect .000. "We ran lean and got beat by a foot. That's cut throat racing there. That's like index racing."
"Antron owed me one so he paid me back," said Ellis. "But we learned a lot about the air/fuel ratio and what the bike needs."
"We came close, but we went the wrong way on the tune-up with Chip's bike and it cost us few hundredths," said G2's George Smith. "We got Matt's bike to run better, but we've still got work to do there."
Matt also went out in second round, redlighting as Tom Bradford ran low ET of the meet in the other lane. "That wasn't anybody's fault but my own," said Matt. "I just let the clutch go. But I knew Bradford had the performance advantage, and I knew my bike wasn't going to run faster. My air/fuel ratio from round 1 looked good, and I rode the bike good. There may have been a hundredth in the clutch but that was it, and Bradford had three hundredths on me."
Back Down South
G2 is based in Americus in South Georgia, and Bryce has always been comfortable tuning to a hot, slippery track. And that's what he expects to find when the Buells hit the Memphis Motorsports starting line this weekend. "It's gonna be a 100 degrees on Friday with a chance of thunderstorms every day," said Bryce. "When it's hot and slippery, it takes a good tuner to make the bikes work."
Ken "Big" Johnson, crew chief on Ellis's DRAG Specialties/S&S Buell, put in some extra work at Brainerd to keep the team's favorite 007 heads and cams combination alive. "007 seized a piston in the second round of qualifying," reported Johnson. "So Saturday night we tore the rear cylinder apart, busted the aluminum out of the cylinder, smoothed out the piston with some 80 grit sandpaper, and put some new rings on it." The repair job worked pretty well, but the bike never did match the 7.08 it ran in that second round of qualifying. "It's still a good one and we really like it. We'll get it back to 100% for Memphis."
"Chip's got an awesome bike," said Matt, who pointed out that it's more than just 007 that makes the DRAG Specialties/S&S Buell a special piece. "The chassis set-up is just right."
"We need to continue to make Matthew's bike faster," said Bryce. "We did better on it in Brainerd and got it within two and a half hundredths of Chip's bike."
"The team's doing good and I'm happy with the way everything's going, I just wanna go faster!" said Matt. "I ran Antron in the final in Memphis two years ago. That track has been good to me and I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking to have a fast bike and momentum going into Indy, and If we can get us a win in Memphis that would be a plus."
"We were pretty consistent in Brainerd," said Ellis. "I feel like I rode pretty good and I can't wait to get back out in Memphis and try it again."
"We did experiment with some different ideas in one of the engines we ran in Brainerd, and that should pay dividends in the next few races," said George Smith. "Every time we think we have something figured out, we learn something new from it that we can use in the future. We've just got to give Chip and Matt the best power and equipment to go rounds."
"We moved closer to the front in points, and it looks very reachable now," finished Bryce, a 6-time national champion tuner who knows a thing or two about winning Pro Stock Motorcycle championships.