BREA, CA – March 14, 2022 — The NHRA Gatornationals season opener for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class didn’t produce the winning result the Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle Team hoped for on its debut, but the weekend did end on a high note for another Suzuki rider, Karen Stoffer, who made the two quickest Elapsed Time runs in class history, en route to victory at Gainesville Raceway.
Eddie Krawiec (4) getting acclimated with his new Pro Stock Motorcycle.
A cold and rain-soaked start to the event forced qualifying rounds on Friday and Saturday to be canceled due to inclement weather. As a result, the run order for Sunday’s final eliminations was set based on last season’s final points standings, putting Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki rider Angelle Sampey, the 2021 Championship Runner-Up, in the number two spot on the ladder. Teammate Eddie Krawiec, a six-time winner at Gainesville, started in the fourth position. The weather improved on race day, with the cool, dense air and well-groomed track presenting ideal conditions for record-setting runs.
Karen Stoffer (5) takes the victory after a record setting first run.
The lack of qualifying did not stop four-time class champion Krawiec from starting off a new era in his career as a Suzuki rider on the right foot with a 6.884-second/198.70 mph victory over Michael Phillips in the first round of eliminations. However, his second-round 6.92-second/197.74 mph run was not enough to advance against eventual race winner Stoffer, whose 6.66-second/200.71 mph blast was the quickest in Pro Stock Motorcycle class history, backing up her previous record 6.68-second run from the first round. Suzuki congratulates Stoffer on her remarkable, record-setting achievement.
“The air today was incredible. These are conditions that we bench race about,” Krawiec said. “The track was so good, but you have to understand how to get down it. Everything is new in my bike’s package, and we did not have a lot of data. Not having the opportunity to make runs during qualifying was a huge disadvantage. The (tuning) window on a track like this is very narrow, and with everything being new, we don’t know exactly where that window is yet. I was hoping we would get five or six runs out of this weekend, but what we did learn today we’ll apply to rounds and races going forward. Right now, the most valuable asset I can have is making runs down the dragstrip.”
Angelle Sampey (2) happy to get a run in the sun after two days of rain.
For Sampey, the Gatornationals marked a return to her roots as a Suzuki-sponsored rider. Sampey spun the tire off the line resulting in an 8.30-second/105 mph first-round loss to Marc Ingwersen, but the three-time class champion was elated to be back in action with the motorcycle brand where she has spent most of her storied career.
An excited young fan with Angelle Sampey signing autographs in the Suzuki display.
“We spun the tire pretty hard in the first round and I wasn’t able to recover from it,” Sampey said. “I’m disappointed because I knew we were capable of setting a record in these conditions if we had left the starting line well. We witnessed it with Karen Stoffer. I know I have exactly what I need with Vance & Hines power and Suzuki on board this year. I spent some time at the Suzuki display trailer this weekend signing autographs and taking photos with NHRA fans. I feel like I’m back at home. I started racing a Suzuki RM50 when I was six years old. I can’t wait to see what we’re going to do together this season.”
The Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle team will be back in action April 22-24 when the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle season resumes at Houston Raceway Park in Houston, Texas. For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.
Suzuki Motor USA, LLC. (SMO) distributes Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Automotive Parts, Accessories, and ECSTAR Oils & Chemicals via an extensive dealer network throughout 49 states. Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide manufacturer of Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Automobiles, Outboard Motors, and related products. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has business relations with 201 countries/regions. For more information, visit www.suzuki.com.
About Vance & Hines
The Vance & Hines brand has always been about enhancing the exhilaration of the motorcycle ride. It started over 40 years ago, when Terry Vance and Byron Hines were two young enthusiasts in the fledgling Southern California motorcycle drag race scene. Terry always wanted to go faster and Byron knew how to make that happen. In short order, their on-track success and innovation drew the attention of other racers, riders and motorcycle manufacturers, which ultimately translated to commercial demand for their products and services. Today, the Company's mission and activity is the same; make bikes go faster on the racetrack and take those learnings to make impactful products for riders around the world. Since the Company's inception in 1979, it has run factory race programs in partnership with Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati and Harley-Davidson in drag racing, road racing and flat track. Vance & Hines is based in Santa Fe Springs CA and has its Racing Development Center in Brownsburg IN. Learn more about the company's history and products at www.vanceandhines.com.