G2 Momentum Machine Rolls into St. Louis Fresh off of Matt Smith's first NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle win and Chip Ellis's 6 second, number 1 qualifying performance at Englishtown, the G2 team rolls into Gateway International Raceway with momentum...
G2 Momentum Machine Rolls into St. Louis
Fresh off of Matt Smith's first NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle win and Chip Ellis's 6 second, number 1 qualifying performance at Englishtown, the G2 team rolls into Gateway International Raceway with momentum on their side. Located just outside of St. Louis, Gateway is the site of NHRA's night race, as rounds are scheduled late to beat the oppressive heat and humidity of the Mississippi valley region. "The good news is that it's supposed to be cooler than normal," said George Bryce, G2's 6-time NHRA champion builder/tuner. "It should be unseasonably cool compared to last year."
DRAG Specialties/S&S Cycle Buell
"Last year it was so hot it was just crazy," said Chip Ellis, driver of the DRAG Specialties/S&S Cycle Buell. "This year it's not supposed to be too hot. It's supposed to be in the mid 80's, so there's a possibility we'll be able to put it in the 6's again."
Gateway has not been Ellis's favorite track. After qualifying number 1 in the 600 Supersport class at an AMA/Prostar race there a few years back, Chip's bike was stolen the night before eliminations. "I borrowed a bike and lost first round 'cause it spun out," recalled Ellis, whose bike was found by teammate Chad Milholland's parents after eliminations had begun.
Chip didn't get his Buell stolen (not at Gateway, anyway) last year at the NHRA race there, but he did go out first round. Chip went out in round 1 last weekend at Englishtown, also, and is ready to make amends. "I forgot about last weekend," Ellis deadpanned. "I can't remember what happened at all. But this weekend I feel good. I know my bike's fast and I'm just ready to go. I just wanna go out there and do good."
Torco Race Fuels/Skull Gear Buell
One person who thinks that Chip Ellis will do "good" at Gateway is his teammate Matt Smith. "Chip and I have pretty fast bikes, and I know Chip wants to win real bad," said Smith, who's spent a lot of time fielding kudos since last weekend's Englishtown win. "I've had so many phone calls and so much stuff to do around home, it's just unreal. I got just as many or more people call and congratulate me as I did after Indy last year." That Indy win was taken away when videotape showed Matt crossing the finishline second, contrary to what the timing system said.
Matt has raced in two NHRA races at Gateway. "I think we won a round on the bike I bought from George, and the other time we went out first round. It's not been one of my best tracks, but I'm pretty confident going in there."
In fact, Matt is pretty confident about the whole season. "I think Chip and I have a real chance to win the championship this year. I talked to (G2 engine builder) Derek Churchwell back at the shop yesterday, and he said they were showing progress with these S&S motors on the dyno and as soon as we get back from St. Louis they'll be putting some new parts in. We'll have more power for Denver, and that'll be exciting."
Perhaps as exciting as last weekend's Father's Day winners circle celebration at E-town. "We had a very good time there," said Matt. "My son Tristan had a ball. It was good getting my first win like that with him and my dad Rickie there."
"It was very rewarding for us to finally get Matt his win," said George Bryce. "Even when the stars lined up last year in Indy he still didn't get one. And Matt's really discovered how great of a teammate he has in Chip. Chip drives down the road thinking how he can make Matt's bike go faster." And that devotion to a common goal is part of what's making this G2 team click right now. "We all have fun together, don't we?"
Bryce had fun going to Ray Barton's Hemi shop in Reading, Pennsylvania, on his way from Englishtown to St. Louis. "We went to Ray's to compare some notes and work on some projects.
"The guys at the shop sent us some parts for St. Louis. We're continuously trying to update and go faster because we expect the competition to do the same thing. We feel like we've been slowly but surely plowing our way near the top, and we just wanna keep doing more of that.
"And we finally figured out how to start winning some rounds on Sunday. Qualifying is cool-we have three number 1 qualifiers and track records in a row. But I'd trade that for round wins any day. But I haven't been able to touch Paul Gast's MPH, though." Bryce was referring to longtime rival Gast's 194+ mph, new track record lap at Englishtown last weekend. "Must have been a paper cup blown through the lights. That's Paul's favorite saying when somebody runs fast."
Then Bryce turned more serious. "We want to dedicate our win in Englishtown to our friend Greg Guarinello." Longtime drag racing photographer and journalist Guarinello passed away suddenly a few weeks ago. "It was dramatic to win at his home track, where he was always standing there taking pictures and laughing with us. That was a huge hole there, something really important that was missing."