Gators Bite Ellis Early After leading the first day of Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying for the NHRA ACDelco Gatornationals, Chip Ellis and the Drag Specialties/S&S powered Buell slipped to fourth in the qualifying order. The bracket ...
Gators Bite Ellis Early
After leading the first day of Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying for the NHRA ACDelco Gatornationals, Chip Ellis and the Drag Specialties/S&S powered Buell slipped to fourth in the qualifying order. The bracket bike consistency of Ellis's Buell may have kept him from improving to a pole position ET, but that consistency bode well for the his raceday chances.
And indeed, the G2 team was all smiles in the cool and sunny staging lanes on Sunday morning. "Consistency is what wins races," said George Smith, G2 president and crew chief of the Drag Specialties/S&S Cycle team. And there was no reason to think that this team's chances weren't as good as any. But that's not how it worked out.
Instead, Ellis's own machinelike consistency failed him at just the wrong moment-at the line for round 1 of eliminations. Chip's .132 reaction time allowed Steve Johnson to snatch a holeshot victory away from the quicker Drag Specialties/S&S powered Buell. "I don't really have too much to say," said Ellis. "It sucks to let the guys down. The only thing I can say is I'm gonna do better next time."
"It's obvious that our sponsors have taken care of their end and given us the support for a solid program, and I'd like to thank DRAG Specialties, S&S Cycle, Doc's Harley-Davidson of St. Louis, and all of our supporting sponsors for their confidence in G2," said Smith. "The past two weeks and our performance here at the Gators show us that the bike has got the performance to win a lot of rounds. And we demonstrated great consistency with a .95, a .95, a .94, a .93 and a .96. But the rider's got to be there the first one and a half seconds. Chip's been doing great and I've got to take some responsibility for making sure he doesn't start thinking at the line. We were loose in the lanes, but Chip started thinking and that's trouble. We were the fifth pair out and the other fast qualifiers were eliminated for one thing or another, and Chip started thinking 'I've gotta get a green light.'"
"We're gonna talk in the truck about how we're not gonna screw up like this anymore," said Ken "Big" Johnson, the team's Full Throttle NHRA Pit Crew Champion chief mechanic. "It's gotta be like walking through a door. You don't think about turning a doorknob."
"To hell with all the thinking," agreed Ellis. "I felt good up there, but I just wanted to make sure I got a green light. Ken's got my bike set up where I'm not likely to get a redlight, so I've just got to stop thinking about it. I tried to play it safe and you can't do that. We've made 30 runs on the bike in 2 weeks and I haven't come close to redlighting. I had a bike capable of winning this weekend. Angelle caught a .119, Antron caught a .109, and it's because they were thinking the same thing I was."
"Chip's not alone in this, as evidenced by the other big name losses in the first round," agreed Smith. "All the pros have done this and did it today. The 2007 Pro Stock Motorcycle class will be won by the pro that's most consistent. Chip Ellis has great natural ability and instinct, he just has to come to the starting line every time with the same routine."
"It's a long season, and we've got plenty of time to catch up," said Ellis.
"On another positive note, George Bryce did real well with Peggy Llewellyn at the Karl Klement team, so they're headed in the right direction," finished Smith. "And Jackie did a great job working with all of our customers. We have a great program at G2, and I have to thank the sponsors because Pro Stock Motorcycle is not an easy class. It's tough. Our sponsors have helped us to put together a better funded program than we've ever had. Now it's up to us to give them the results they expect."