Joliet: Angelle Sampey final report

Sampey Advances to Semis in Chicago The windy city lived up to its name this past weekend at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals, and few were more susceptible to the conditions than Angelle Sampey and her Rush Racing S&S powered Buell. "We have ...

Sampey Advances to Semis in Chicago

The windy city lived up to its name this past weekend at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals, and few were more susceptible to the conditions than Angelle Sampey and her Rush Racing S&S powered Buell. "We have the lightest driver and the heaviest bike," said George Bryce, the six-time POWERade champion tuner/crew chief on Sampey's Pro Stock Motorcycle. "The wind got us and we never made a good run."

Still, the Rush Racing team made it to the semifinals on a trying weekend weather-wise. "It was treacherous," said team owner Karl Klement. "It rained every day, and Saturday night there was a tornado that came all the way around the track."

Better around than through, most would agree, though the crosswinds at Route 66 Raceway had a profound effect on the bikes. "Craig hit the wall twice," Bryce said about the diminutive Craig Treble who, despite his brushes with the concrete, went on to runner-up to Sampey's G2 Motorsports teammate Chris Rivas.

It was clearly Rivas's weekend, as the first time winner also qualified number one. Sampey ended up fifth in the qualifying order, a spot that seemed to please Bryce. "That tied the best we've qualified this year," said George, noticing that the team seemed to qualify well at the home race of their marketing partners. Chicago is the home race of Merrillville, Indiana based Rush Racing. The other number five spot was nailed at the home track for associate sponsor Doc's Harley-Davidson near St. Louis.

Qualifying round 1: No doubt influenced by the strong crosswind, Angelle drifted to the right and very close to the wall on her Q1 pass. "The weather was definitely an issue," said Angelle. "I had to battle a 22 mph crosswind on all four runs in qualifying."

"On Sunday's eliminations, the wind died down some but was still a factor," said Angelle. "We did the best we could to compensate for it with the set up of my Rush Racing V-Twin, but I was still having to fight the motorcycle most of the way down the track. It can get pretty exciting to hang off of that monster while doing 180+ miles per hour!"

Shawn Gann drove into the sand trap in round one and didn't get the bike repaired in time to race Angelle in round two. Her bye run left her paired with Rivas for the semis. "We had good co-opitition with the G2 team on how to run good until we had to run each other," Bryce said, borrowing a word from former NASCAR Cup champ and current Fox TV commentator Darrell Waltrip. "Chris was pretty flawless all weekend, and we're pretty proud of that." That flawlessness carried Rivas past Sampey and on to the win against Treble.

Eliminations round 3: "I had a pretty good reaction time and I left on him, but shook the tire pretty hard in first gear and Chris drove away from me," said Angelle, who's 60 foot time fell off accordingly on the pass. "Our incremental times showed that we had the best back half of the weekend on the run, so that is proof that we have the power that we need to win."

"The bike never went straight and it wasn't particularly drivable for the conditions," added Bryce.

"It was great having my sponsors from Rush Racing Products with us," said Sampey. "They are such an easy going and fun group of people, and I was really hoping to get a win for them this weekend."

"It was fun hanging with the Rush Racing group and getting to know more of those guys," agreed Bryce.

"Lou and Jeremy Pringle and Terry, Janet and Adam Daniel from Rush Racing set up hospitality at the race and all their employees were there," added Klement. "It was great seeing them and I'm glad they were all able to come out to their home race."

Angelle dropped slightly to sixth in points, while ironically moving closer to some of her rivals. "All in all it was a good weekend," said Bryce. "It doesn't seem like we dropped back since the points have tightened up."

"Everybody a great job this weekend," agreed Klement. "The bike was running good, we just didn't win."

"The team did great again and we continued to get along perfectly," finished Angelle. "I can't stress enough how important that is to being successful. I am so blessed with the greatest team owners in Karl and Kim Klement, and the greatest group of guys working on my bike, along with one of my closest and best friends as my crew chief. Winning is the only thing we're missing and I know that it's only a matter of time for that to happen."

-credit: rr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Shawn Gann , Craig Treble , George Bryce , Chris Rivas , Angelle Sampey