Defending Pro Stock Motorcycle winner Karen Stoffer returns to Bandimere Speedway for the 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals this weekend in hopes of securing another victory on her GEICO Suzuki.
Stoffer beat Shawn Gann, Jerry Savoie, Eddie Krawiec and Michael Phillips en route to her sixth career victory last year in Denver.
"We're going back to a track where we did well last year," Stoffer said. "Hopefully, we can do well again. We've got to turn this season around if we want to stay in the top 10. We certainly have to make some moves now and get our game straight."
Stoffer is sixth in the points standings after six races, winning at least one round in all but one event of 2012. Still, the veteran racer hopes for more, and Denver could be the place where she and crew chief Gary Stoffer post their best performance.
The longtime GEICO racer won't be intimidated by Denver's altitude, which slows the bikes down by about three-tenths of a second compared to other tracks.
"I'm from the West coast, and I live in a high-altitude area near Lake Tahoe," Stoffer said. "I'm not too scared of the altitude. Gary is used to tuning at altitude, and we have a high-altitude track where Gary races his bracket car. He knows what it's like, and we did well last year, so we'll pull up last year's tuneup and work from there. Hopefully, the weather will be the same, because that always helps, and I'll get back on my game."
The forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s all three days, cooler than the scorching conditions in Norwalk, Ohio, where Stoffer posted her best qualifying effort of the season, fourth.
"I think Norwalk prepped us for the heat," Stoffer said. "It's usually pretty hot in Denver, and we sometimes have to fight a little rain. Just as the Baders did in Norwalk, the Bandimeres keep that starting line nice and cool. They have the cool water running underneath the starting line, which helps out."
Denver should be a favorite for Stoffer, as she's reached the finals there the last two seasons. In 2010, she fell to Andrew Hines in the finals before winning last year's race.
"We're on our last motor here," Stoffer said. "This is our only good motor. It lasted through Norwalk, which is what we wanted, and is a great thing considering all the heat and torment we put the motor through. The fact that it stayed together is props to Vance & Hines because the heat is not only treacherous on humans but also on motors
"We're going to put that GEICO bike down the track well, and I'm going to do my job riding well and Gary's going to do his job tuning. Hopefully, we'll go four rounds again on Sunday."