Finals Again for Sampey For the second straight race, three time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Angelle Sampey rode her Rush Racing S&S powered V-Twin all the way to the final round. She also jumped all the way to fourth in the...
Finals Again for Sampey
For the second straight race, three time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Angelle Sampey rode her Rush Racing S&S powered V-Twin all the way to the final round. She also jumped all the way to fourth in the POWERade standings and moved up one notch on the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship ladder as well. With one race to go before the Countdown to the Championship, Sampey and her team have hit their stride and are peaking at precisely the right time. "The team did fantastic," said Angelle. "Everybody worked together so well, everybody did their jobs, everything just worked. I really think that us learning each other and me learning the bike and what it takes to be a championship contending team has come together for us."
Using one motor for the weekend and concentrating on a raceday set-up, Sampey qualified solidly in the middle of the front half of the Reading field.
qualifying round 1 !7th Angelle Sampey right lane 7.019 at 189.47 mph 1.082 60 foot time
qualifying round 2 !4th Angelle Sampey left lane 6.964 at 190.40 mph 1.105 60 foot time
qualifying round 3 !5th Angelle Sampey right lane 6.977 at 190.16 mph
qualifying round 4 !6th Angelle Sampey left lane 6.971 at 190.65 mph
"We qualified pretty well," continued Angelle. "Like everybody, we wish we'd qualified higher, but it actually worked out in our favor where we qualified. We had a good side of the ladder, with some of the really tough competitors going out early. Not that anybody's not a tough competitor anymore, because every single person in the other lane feels like a final round these days. But there were bikes that were faster than some of the ones I had to race and they went out early. So that was a little bit less stressful."
"We had a plan on Sunday to win as many rounds as we could and keep our nose to the grindstone," said George Bryce, the six time national champion tuner on Sampey's Buell.
And the grindstone is where the team spent a good deal of time on raceday. "We kept having things go wrong, but we kept fighting and fighting and kept going rounds," said team owner Karl Klement. "Everybody did a great job."
Indeed. Sampey and the team maintained their poise and consistency early in the day when redlights plagued the class. "There were a lot of redlights today," said Bryce. "Every time I turned around, Angelle was looking down and not watching. I'm proud of her for that. She made everybody nervous all day when they raced her."
eliminations round 1 (W) Angelle Sampey .057 6.955 at 189.55 mph Wes Wells -.022 (R) 7.152 at 186.12 mph
eliminations round 2 (W) Angelle Sampey .040 7.013 at 189.04 mph Chris Rivas -.031 (R) 7.042 at 185.51 mph
eliminations round 3 (W) Angelle Sampey .107 7.024 at 187.21 mph Karen Stoffer .069 7.093 at 186.15 mph
Sampey's semifinal win over Karen Stoffer set up a repeat final round of last week's race in Brainerd between Angelle and defending national champion Matt Smith, both on S&S powered V-Twins. In Brainerd, though, an inexpensive electrical part failed on Sampey's Buell and she didn't get a chance to strut her stuff. "We rolled up to the starting line against Matt for the dejà vu final," said Bryce. "And I said real loud so everybody could hear me 'If it starts up we'll be better than last week.' It fired and everybody smiled." For a while, anyway, but the smiles of the team in the black and lime Rush Racing shirts would have been bigger had the similarly colored Buell taken the stripe.
eliminations final round
(W) Matt Smith .045 6.957 at 188.81 mph
Angelle Sampey .036 7.061 at 186.28 mph
"If it hadn't started, I believe Lou and Jeremy Pringle and Terry Daniels of Rush Racing would have called me into their office first thing Monday morning!" said Klement.
Though happy the bike ran, Bryce wasn't sure why it wasn't up to snuff to take out Smith. "We went 6.95 first round, then we tuned and it slowed down," said George. "We said 'OK that didn't work,' and went back the other way and it slowed down again. Usually when you go back to where you were it picks back up. So there might be something wrong with that motor. We're gonna take it all apart and make sure it's ready for Indy. We're gonna run two engines there instead of one like we did at Brainerd and Reading. Ken Johnson is taking the bike and engines back to the shop. We're gonna work on them and come out as best we can for the U.S. Nationals."
"I think the engine was hurt, maybe the crankshaft," said Angelle. "We were losing power every round. And Matt Smith is just one heck of a competitor. It's gonna take a lot to take him down, but I do believe we have it."
"Angelle did a great job," boasted Bryce. "She left on Matt, rode straight and shifted on time, which is all we can ask. I'm very proud to be able to go to two finals in a row. Going to these finals is right what we were trying to do. I'd like to win every race, but peaking when it counts is a good thing. It's typical of our race team to peak towards the end of the year."
"I wasn't disappointed in any way," said Angelle. "I think everybody gave their all and there wasn't anything else we could have done, it's just the way the cards fell. I'm very proud of my guys.
"And I want to say a big 'Thank you' to our sponsors and family at Rush Racing. Thy have been very supportive and very patient with us. I hope they can see we're turning things around. And all the other people who support us, like Doc's Harley-Davidson, Tucker Rocky, Royal Purple and everybody. We have great people behind us, and that's what it takes.
"And Karl and Kim Klement have been fantastic. Karl tells me 'Good job' after every run. He did a great thing for me in Brainerd when he said 'No matter what happens in the final, Angelle, you did a great job this weekend.' That takes all the pressure off, and I know that he felt the same way here in Reading. When you go into the final, you want to win more than anything, but you know that you've done a good job. George reminded me that this was my tenth final round at Reading out of twelve times racing here, so I have to say that it's my all time favorite place to race because we are so successful here.
"We're fourth in the world in points and I think we can move into third after Indy," said Klement. "And if we keep going the way we're going, I think we'll be there. The team's starting to really come together. I want to qualify number one at Indy, win the Ringer's Gloves Battle and win the U.S. Nationals." And nothing else would be acceptable for this team with high hopes.
"I really thought we were gonna get our first win of the year, but we didn't, and I am totally motivated and so ready to go to Indy because I think our team is on a roll and it's all gonna fall into place just at the right time," finished Sampey. "We made a huge move up to fourth in points and things are falling right where we want them to fall when the Countdown starts, and we are gonna be contenders. I'm excited about it. Matt Smith is not gonna be the only thorn in everybody's side!"
Angelle and the Rush Racing team race next August 27 to September 1 at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park near Indianapolis, Indiana.