Llewellyn Bows in Round 2 After her breakthrough win at the last race in Dallas, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship contender Peggy Llewellyn was hungry for another one at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals. Anything less wouldn't be enough, so...
Llewellyn Bows in Round 2
After her breakthrough win at the last race in Dallas, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship contender Peggy Llewellyn was hungry for another one at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals. Anything less wouldn't be enough, so a solid qualifying performance and second round loss left Llewellyn even hungrier to return to the track for the season finale at Pomona, California.
Despite the media attention all around her, Peggy hit the ground running at The Strip, posting a solid third place run in Friday's first round.
The sixth place qualifying spot placed Llewellyn on the tough side of the ladder. "We were still on a high from winning in Dallas and wanted to repeat that feeling," said George Bryce, crew chief on the Rush Racing S&S powered Buell. "Peggy was driving really well, but she had two of the Countdown drivers on her side of the ladder. She had to knock down all the hitters if she was gonna get to the final, and she did really great in the first round."
In the second round, Llewellyn faced Matt Smith, the son of "Tricky Ricky" Smith, a Pro Stock Car racer who knows a thing or two about starting line maneuvers. A small staging "burndown" ensued, and Llewellyn deviated from her normal routine. "Matt was just doing what he does, but I got out of my process completely," said Peggy. "I waited longer than normal to stage and I shouldn't do that."
"Matthew wouldn't stage and Peggy wouldn't stage," said Bryce. "She waited 18 seconds to stage, then she did a really good job riding the bike and outran him. If she'd done her own routine, she would have outrun him and won the round." Instead of winning on a holeshot like she did in Dallas, Peggy lost to one in Vegas.
"I feel bad 'cause I let my team down," said Llewellyn. "I lit the top bulb, and I thought 'Whenever I'm ready I'll light the next bulb.' But I must have gone into a dead stare. We watched it back on videotape and George said to me 'You never take that long!'
"Honestly, I didn't drive my best all weekend long. I was short shifting fourth, fifth and sixth, and I was shutting the bike down too late."
"Everybody did what they were supposed to do, everything went real smooth, we just got beat," said team owner Karl Klement.
"We've had an outstanding year, but after we won in Dallas, we want to win them all," said Kim Klement, who owns the team along with her husband Karl. "We like that feeling! But it was a great race, and the whole team did awesome."
"I was very proud of Garret Whaley and Curtis Jackson," Bryce said about the two Klement team crew members. "Those guys did a great job and I was very proud. And I'm very proud of the opportunity to work with this team and I thank Karl and Kim for that."
"It was a real good day, we just didn't win like we did last time," said Karl. "But we had real good support from our marketing partners at Vegas. DynoJet president Robert Vlcek came by the pits and we were real glad to have him there. Ed from Rush Racing and Bob LaGuardia from Diamond Bar Choppers were there, and I just wish we could have given them all a win. But we're ready for Pomona."
The Las Vegas race was the first of two events to determine the champions in each of the four professional classes in the POWERade series, and first year racer Llewellyn is one of only four contenders for the Pro Stock Motorcycle crown. Peggy and the team will still have a chance this coming weekend at Pomona. "I need to do better there," finished Llewellyn. "They've given me the bike, and I just need to stick to my process and not second guess about anything that isn't part of that. As good as we're doing, I'm still learning. Now I'm gonna go out to Pomona and do better." She beat the odds in Dallas, she can do it again in Pomona.