Ellis Races to Semis in Norwalk Chip Ellis put in a strong weekend on the DRAG Specialties/S&S powered Buell at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, qualifying second in the difficult Pro Stock Motorcycle class and ...
Ellis Races to Semis in Norwalk
Chip Ellis put in a strong weekend on the DRAG Specialties/S&S powered Buell at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, qualifying second in the difficult Pro Stock Motorcycle class and racing to the semis. "We could've done better, but we had a great weekend," said George Smith, the G2 Motorsports president and crew chief on Ellis's bike.
"We matched Andrew Hines on the back half in the third round of qualifying," noted Smith. "We've recently made some headway improving the motor. George Bryce and the G2 crew in Americus put together a new port and chamber combination and it's showing promise. We were making some serious power when the tune-up was right."
"The 7.06 in the fourth round screwed up our chances for the Full Throttle award," admitted Smith. "What slowed us down was an experimental tuning call on my part to try something new."
Ellis's second round match-up with Eddie Krawiec reignited a rivalry that dates back to the days when the two competed for the AMA/Prostar 600 Supersport championship. "I raced Eddie quite a few times back then," said Ellis. "But here I was just racing myself. I knew I just had to go out there and ride good and cut good lights." This first Pro Stock meeting between the two was a great race from start to finish, with Ellis and the S&S powerplant squeaking out the win.
"We didn't get away from the line too well against Krawiec," said Smith. "We hoped to fix that against Hines, but we missed it. We knew we needed everything we had and did not slow the clutch linkage down at all. I told Chip to hit the tree as hard as he could and maybe we'd hit the light .00 on the green side." Instead, Chip's light went the other way.
"We knew we had to try something to get past Andrew," said Ellis, who had a scant -.003 redlight against Hines. "I knew I had to go .00 against him at the tree. I was trying to go .005 and I missed it."
"The biggest thing I wanted to do was get Chip comfortable so he could hit the tree hard, which we did," said Smith. "The -.003 red was not Chip's fault. Chip rode well and cut good lights. In the first round against Hector Arana, we slowed the bike's reaction time too much. Against Eddie, we backed off on that, and we used no mechanical delay at all against Andrew. And I went the wrong way on the tune-up in the third round, that's why the bike slowed down. It was my fault, but I learned from it and I won't make that mistake again. I used to think the tune-up was forgiving on these S&S engines, but to get that extra 5 horsepower, you have to be right on it. Part of what we learned about making more power caused us some grief getting away from the starting line."
Just before the Norwalk race, the NHRA took away five of the ten pounds recently added to the Buells, and added five each to the other two makes. "It looked like going to equal weights was good for everybody," noted G2 operations director Jackie Bryce, who had to spend the night in the Atlanta airport along with husband George and daughter Julie after weather delays cancelled their flight at 3:30am Friday morning. "We got to the track just in time to make the first run. I think overall, the rule change made it very exciting for the fans. We were real proud of Chip qualifying number 2, and Matt Smith going to the final was good for all the Buell teams."
"And it was good to see Peggy Llewellyn continue to improve," added Smith. Llewellyn qualified eighth on the Karl Klement Racing S&S powered Buell. She beat Englishtown winner Craig Treble in round 1 and narrowly lost by 3 feet to points leader Matt Smith in round 2.
Ohio in the Rearview
"Norwalk did a great job hosting their first NHRA event," said Jackie Bryce. "Everybody was very nice and the fans were incredible and really loved the motorcycles."
"The facility at Norwalk was really nice," agreed Ellis. "All the track people were really nice. I just wish we could have run one more round. But if we can continue to run like this, we'll be fine for the rest of the year. We're still solid in the top 8 and doing the best we can. Now we're gonna get home, get stuff ready for Denver, and let Ken (G2 chief mechanic Ken "Big" Johnson) and his wife Kassi have their baby."
"Qualifying number 2 and having Chip win some rounds on the DRAG Specialties Buell was awesome," said G2 co-owner George Bryce. "We're running at the front now and looking forward to Denver."
"This was a very good weekend," concluded Smith. "We had a good tune-up in Denver last year, and we were dominating the race until the bike hit a bump and didn't shift. We hope to bring one home from there this time."
Ellis and the G2 team race next at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 13-15 at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado.
-credit: G2 Motorsports