GEICO/Lucas Oil Racing
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (May 30) – GEICO Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer has reached the final round at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in three of the last seven Pro Stock Motorcycle races at the famed track.
So does that make it her favorite?
"It would be my favorite track if everything came together," Stoffer said as she arrived in town for this weekend's Toyota NHRA Supernationals. "You just never know. It's a historical track, so it's always a cool place to go. There are always some great people, and it's got a lot of nostalgia and memories there.
"Ultimately, the memories we hope to take home with us are the ones of going late rounds and bringing home a Wally."
Going late rounds in E-town hasn't been a problem for the veteran. She reached the finals last year, duplicating her success there from final-round appearances in 2005 and 2006. And that's despite a finicky track that changes with the Northeast weather.
"Englishtown has always been a challenging track in one way or another," said Stoffer, a seven-time national-event winner. "It's definitely a tuner's race. I'm saying that more and more this year just because it's such a crazy weather year for everybody."
She's right. The season-opener in Gainesville had near perfect conditions, and national records were set in elapsed time and top speed. Houston was hot and humid, and Atlanta was even hotter and more humid.
Still, crew chief Gary Stoffer has been able to get his wife's GEICO bike down the track well, as she's won at least one round in all three races while qualifying in the top half of the field at every event. With one semifinal appearance, Stoffer sits fifth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings.
"We've got that GEICO Suzuki out there, and we've been the fastest Suzuki in every event this season so far, so we're hoping we keep that status," Stoffer said. "Gary usually does fairly well. We've gone to the finals there three times, so it can definitely be a good race if the weather can work toward the inline motors. If we can put a package together, we can put that GEICO Suzuki in the later rounds."
Stoffer would like to see cooler weather, and she may get it this weekend. After 80-degree weather in the middle of the week, high temperatures won't get out of the mid-70s for qualifying and racing.
"Sometimes Englishtown has that," Stoffer said of the cooler temps. "But it's notorious for hot, humid weather, and Englishtown gets both. We'll have one day of cooler, crisper, fast weather, and then we'll have one day where it's hot, humid and sticky.
"The good news is Gary is versatile, and he can usually adapt fairly quickly."