Ellis Leads Gators Qualifying It's a cliche, but Chip Ellis really did ride his Drag Specialties/S&S powered Buell like a bracket bike-a very, very quick bracket bike. Ellis led round 1 of Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying for the NHRA ...
Ellis Leads Gators Qualifying
It's a cliche, but Chip Ellis really did ride his Drag Specialties/S&S powered Buell like a bracket bike-a very, very quick bracket bike. Ellis led round 1 of Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying for the NHRA ACDelco Gatornationals with a 6.956 at 192.36 mph. Then he dropped off slightly in round 2, incredibly slightly, by only .001 of a second despite experimenting with tuning changes. "The first lap was a good lap," said Chip. "We tried something a little different on the tune-up the second lap, which helped us on the first half of the track but hurt us on the backhalf." Ellis had identical 1.071 60 foot times on the two passes.
The two passes continue the steady, successful string of runs that Chip started two weeks ago at the AHDRA race in Gainesville and continued through testing in Valdosta. Remarkably, the 6.95s run at the Gators used a different motor, yet yielded nearly identical results. "We got out another reasonably stock engine, number .023 from last year, and were trying to make good passes with it," said George Smith, G2 Motorsports president and crew chief for the DRAG Specialties Buell. "The only thing that we saw here in Gainesville that was different from last week's testing in Valdosta is that the barometer is down 2 or 3 tenths."
"They're in a very aggressive and experimental mode right now that is very exciting," said George Bryce, G2 director of racing operations. "I'm very, very proud of the Drag Specialties/S&S Cycle/G2 flagship team. The combination of talents assembled in the Drag Specialties pit, it's almost an unfair advantage. We've got our Georgia Tech engineer Derrell Mullis, George Smith and his 40 years of drag racing experience, Ken Johnson, whose been racing with me for 22 years, and Chip Ellis, who is quite extraordinary in his third full season at this level. Chip has driven the bike like a machine today. He kept the bike straight as can be and hit all his shift points."
"Chip is relaxed and riding like a machine," agreed Smith. "I really can't say enough about the job he's doing for us right now."
"Chip is riding more relaxed and confident than I've ever seen him ride in all my years," said Dale Ellis, Chip's dad and crewmember. "He's comfortable with George and Derrell and Ken and what they're doing and that makes him comfortable to ride. He believes in the program."
"Part of the reason I'm so relaxed is that we're able to focus on one bike," said Chip. "It's half as much work, really. And I feel comfortable on the bike and I just wanna have some fun. So far, we're having a lot of fun and I feel really good."
One reason that Chip is able to do so well on the bike now is that the team did so well forming new marketing partnerships in the off season. "Other than being delighted that we were low both rounds, there is one thing that I'd like to stress," said Smith. "Our sponsors Drag Specialties, S&S Cycle, Docs Harley-Davidson of St. Louis, Mac Tools, SAP, itelligence, Mazak Machine Tool, Gates Belts and Hoses, and Carley Foundry Aluminum Castings, have all stepped up big time to give G2 an adequate budget to do the R&D required to run competitively in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class."
"The Drag Specialties team has a lot of participation from a lot of companies," agreed Bryce. "It adds up to a very substantial budget, which is something we haven't had since the Team Winston days. So we should go fast. After all my 30 years of drag racing, I realize that your only limitations are imagination and budget. So a group like the Motor Company and Vance & Hines have imagination and budget and they're able to win three championships in a row. This is the first time that Big George and myself feel like we have similar resources as the champions, and it's gonna be fun to watch how it plays out."
"And the icing on the cake is that Shad Dean of South Georgia Motorsports Park has provided us with a world class dragstrip an hour and a half from Americus for our test and tune sessions," added Smith. "2007 will, I predict, see the most competitive and exciting Pro Stock Motorcycle class ever with 6 second passes being the norm. And the team that can work best on their program will win."
"We're doing good," said Chip. "The bike's running good, the team's working good together, and the hard work is paying off."
"We really had a good day and I hope we do more of the same tomorrow," said Ken Johnson, the team's Full Throttle NHRA Pit Crew Champion chief mechanic. "For now I'll keep checking and double checking."
"We're gonna go back to that first round tune-up," finished Chip. "We've got a new tire on, and I'm gonna try to do the same thing driving-wise. My goal is to ride the bike exactly the same every time and hit my shift points at exactly the same time every run so that these guys can get a good tune-up. And as long as I can get in the show, that's all it takes . . . I don't think I can get bumped out now, but anything's possible."