Richmond Pro Stock Bike Preview

SEELING READY FOR BIKE BATTLE AT VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK DINWIDDIE, Va. -- While Virginia's tourism bureau lures many women to visit the state with its popular slogan 'Virginia is for Lovers,' there's a southern belle in NHRA's Pro...

SEELING READY FOR BIKE BATTLE AT VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK DINWIDDIE, Va. -- While Virginia's tourism bureau lures many women to visit the state with its popular slogan 'Virginia is for Lovers,' there's a southern belle in NHRA's Pro Stock Motorcycle category who heads to the Commonwealth every year for a different reason. In her mind, Virginia is for drag racing. Angelle Seeling, 5-1, 110 pounds, and one of the toughest riders in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, will lead the charge for two-wheel competitors at the fourth annual Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto, April 23-26 at Virginia Motorsports Park. Even though Virginia's diverse terrain provides one of the most scenic stops on the 22 event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series tour, Seeling won't allow herself to get sidetracked in the vast natural wonderland. Her purpose is clear: to win the race and inch closer to defending Winston champion Matt Hines' points lead. "I really love the track, it's so beautiful there," said Seeling, 27, from New Orleans. "We're just looking forward to doing a little better there this year. Last year we had a mechanical problem and lost in the second round." After qualifying second in the 16-bike field, Seeling lost to rookie Joey Bartone in a race that she feels like she should have won. Seeling's Star Racing Suzuki left the starting line first and pulled away from Bartone, but then drifted to the right and lost power. Bartone motored by to advance to the semifinals. Seeling opened this season with a second round loss at the Mac Tools Gatornationals, then earned the top qualifying position at the non-points Winston Invitational at Rockingham, N.C. before posting a runner-up finish against Hines. At Atlanta she debuted a new sponsor in Winston, and lost in the first round. After only three events, she has already improved on her career best elapsed time, running 7.283 seconds. Overall, she feels better prepared for the season and hopes to get a third career victory this weekend, and first ever at VMP. "I'm more focused this season," she said. "I'm on a strict diet and I've started a very good workout program. I've gained about 10 pounds in muscle and it's really helped me control the bike better. I just feel a lot better about my physical condition this season and I think it's showing good results on the track." She says after nearly two years in NHRA competition, winning is the biggest thrill. It's what drives her. She loves to see the puzzled looks on the faces of her mostly male competitors when she crosses the finish line first. And don't let her innocent appearance fool you, she means business. "I've always felt like I was just one of the guys," Seeling said. "And most of my competitors are sort of starting to accept me that way. However, there's still a few who just can't take it when they get beat by me. I guess their friends make it hard on them when they find out they got beat by a girl." While several goals remain on her drag racing checklist, she's still somewhat in awe that her desire to race motorcycles has taken her this far in the sport. But with a passion for her profession that's second to none, Seeling feels confident that she can attain her next goal in the very near future. "I've been very fortunate to be able to accomplish my goals in this sport," Seeling said. "At first I just wanted to participate in an NHRA event. Then I wanted to win a race. Now that I've won a race, I want to win the Winston championship. That's where my attention is centered now."

GENERAL INFORMATION * Schedule: Pro qualifying is at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 24. Qualifying continues at noon and 4 p.m. April 25. Final professional eliminations start at 11 a.m. April 26. Federal-Mogul competition starts at 10 a.m. April 23. * Tickets: Tickets are available for the Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto. Call Virginia Motorsports Park, (804) 862-3174, or Ticketmaster, (804) 262-8100, for ticket information. * On TV: ESPN2 will televise two hours of highlights and live final round coverage from the Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto on April 26 at 4 p.m. (EDT). ESPN2 will show two hours of same-day qualifying highlights on April 25 at 7 p.m. (EDT).

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines