Powersports Racing press release
With Countdown berth secured, points leader Stoffer focused on winning
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16) – GEICO Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer will have a front-row seat for the fight to get in the Pro Stock Motorcycle Countdown to the Championship in this weekend's Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
As the class points leader, Stoffer has already secured a spot in the Countdown, which begins in two races. This season is the first in which Stoffer didn't have to wait until the final few races before the Countdown to make the NHRA's playoffs, a welcome respite from the cutthroat competition.
"I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike and getting out to Brainerd," Stoffer said. "It should be pretty exciting and a lot of fun. We're getting close to the Countdown, so it should be pretty interesting watching how this all plays out. This will be the first time we're not in that mix of who gets on the board and who doesn't.
"The last few times I've been at Brainerd, it's where I put my name on the board, and that's kind of cutting it close to the deadline for the cutoff. I'm glad we were able to put our name up there sooner and put to rest the fact we're in the Countdown. Now we get to go out and race."
Stoffer has a five-point edge over Eddie Krawiec in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings, and she's held down the No. 1 spot after four of the first eight races this season. Stoffer regained the points lead with her victory in Denver two races ago.
"For me personally, I'm trying really hard not to look at the points and to stay focused and do my job of staying consistent and riding the bike as fast and straight as I can every single opportunity at the event," Stoffer said. "However, my team will probably tell you it's vastly important that we maintain the No. 1 status. While I'm trying to maintain our consistency and stick to the plan, and the team is doing the same thing, they have the ulterior motive and are definitely keeping their eye on that target – the No. 1 spot going into the Countdown."
Stoffer has had a career season, despite the occasional mechanical gremlin. She's won at least two rounds of eliminations in five of the eight races, reaching the finals four times and the semifinals once.
Her GEICO team used two engines in Sonoma in an effort to get her most recent mechanical problems solved for the rest of the season.
"It's been interesting," Stoffer said of 2011. "I classify this season as our best season ever, but it's been riddled with some of our worst issues. We've had the best season as far as starting and position and consistency, but that's not been pure.
"Starting in Norwalk, we've had these nagging mechanical issues and gremlins. The last five straight races, there's been at least one time we haven't gone down the race track in front of the fans. That's kind of opposite of our plans and our goal.
"We're focusing really hard on getting that engine program back to top form, the way it was in the first five races of the season. I'm very confident in my team. The fact that we've been able to maintain our position and our points status even with all these gremlins probably gives me more confidence that once we get it all figured out, we'll be back straight on track."