Ellis to the Semis in St. Louis Despite a week of personal tragedy, Chip Ellis rode his DRAG Specialties/S&S powered Buell flawlessly to the Pro Stock Motorcycle semifinals at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. Hubert Ellis, Chip's ...
Ellis to the Semis in St. Louis
Despite a week of personal tragedy, Chip Ellis rode his DRAG Specialties/S&S powered Buell flawlessly to the Pro Stock Motorcycle semifinals at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. Hubert Ellis, Chip's grandfather and the father of G2 Motorsports crewman Dale Ellis, was murdered earlier in the week in his South Carolina home. But throughout the race weekend in St. Louis, the Ellis's focused on the job at hand and even won the Full Throttle Pit Crew award for the event. Dale and Chip accepted the award, based on qualifying performance consistency, for themselves, chief mechanic Ken "Big" Johnson, and G2 president and crew chief George Smith. "I was very proud of the DRAG Specialties/S&S guys to pull off the Full Throttle Award," said G2's director of race operations, George Bryce. "That's twice in four races, so that's pretty good."
Ellis shadowed former teammate Matt Smith throughout qualifying. Smith eventually won the race and set the new national record ET record on his own S&S powered Buell.
"I was real consistent with my lights except when I ran Chris Rivas," said Ellis, who like most of the Pro Stock Motorcycle field has struggled at the tree this year. "I saw him take off as soon as I put my bike on the 2-step, and that threw me off a little bit. The rollout seemed to be a less in the right lane than the left. So when I got the right lane for the semi, I asked the team to line me up in the left tire groove. The rollout seemed to be a little better there."
Ellis was racing without the adjustable mechanical device the team has been developing to slightly slow down the bike's reaction time. "The clutch lever didn't feel good to me with it on, and we didn't seem to need it at this track."
"The rollout seemed different at Gateway, and we felt we didn't need to put a delay in," said George Smith. "In the three laps of qualifying, Chip had a couple of .020 greens and an .016 red, and we felt he could hit the tree pretty hard with no delay."
"It's really easy to redlight, and if they could make the rollout the same at every race, we'd redlight less," said Ellis, who along with Angelle Sampey nailed the tree hard in the semi.
The semifinal round between Ellis and Sampey was an awesome drag race. After identical, killer reaction times, Sampey led to the 330. Ellis drove around and led until Sampey slipped by just before the finishline for a .0017 margin of victory--about 6 inches. "The best race in any class of the weekend was the one with Angelle," said George Smith.
"Rick Maney (a former G2 chief mechanic and now the crew chief for Chris Rivas's Buell team) summed it up best--'It's a shark tank out there,'" said Ellis. "If you take Matt out of the equation, everybody else is right there together and we just got outrun. But we were right there and if we keep it up, we'll be OK."
"I want congratulate Matt for the national record and winning the event," said George Smith. "Matt's very good at surging and timing his launch and now has the best 60 foot times of anybody. He's now met and surpassed Angelle. He's really figured out how to make some bottom end power, and he's raised the bar for all of us. He's found something and we'll have to work hard to keep up.
"But we learned quite a lot on our own tune-up. This was our second event using the updated S&S EFI system, and we liked what we saw and we're ready to release it to the general public.
"It was also another good day for S&S power, and as distributor of the S&S Buell, we're happy. I'd like to congratulate Hector Arana, one of our customers. Hector went to the semis and had a great weekend."
"We're very proud of Hector and his performance," added Jackie Bryce, G2's vice president of operations. "And we're also proud of Matt for winning the race and running the record 6.901 on an S&S powered Buell, and the whole G2 team for winning the Full Throttle Award for the event. The Doc's Harley-Davidson of St. Louis people were there and they really enjoyed themselves, as did the DRAG Specialties people."
"We had a great weekend with the Doc's and DRAG Specialties folks," agreed George Smith. "The DRAG Specialties hospitality will be back out in Joliet (site of the next Pro Stock Motorcycle event), and the folks of SAP and itelligence will also be our guests at Joliet. We're welcoming the time out between then and now. There's several things we learned this weekend that we'd like to try out, and we've got some catching up to do."
"Overall, it was a good weekend," Ellis said about St. Louis. He'll be traveling to the Santa Pod race track in England in the next few weeks to work on a customer Buell, as well as working on his own bike back in Americus, Georgia. "We're just gonna keep chugging along and try and sneak up on 'em. Ken, Big George, my dad and myself are all coming together as a team, and I think it's really showing."
"Chip did a great job riding the bike, especially with the adversity," finished Jackie Bryce. "He and Dale were very strong through the weekend. It was good for them to be together, but towards the end of the day you could tell they were gonna have to deal with the reality of what happened."
Chip Ellis and the DRAG Specialties/S&S Cycle team race next June 7-10 in the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois.