Sampey to the Finals at Brainerd For the first time in 2008, three time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Angelle Sampey and her Rush Racing S&S powered V-Twin went all the way to the final round. Sampey parlayed her third place qualifying effort ...
Sampey to the Finals at Brainerd
For the first time in 2008, three time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Angelle Sampey and her Rush Racing S&S powered V-Twin went all the way to the final round. Sampey parlayed her third place qualifying effort into a near win at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota, but a faulty cam sensor let her and the team down as the bike failed to start for the final round. "We were all heart broken that we didn't get a chance to run, but we feel like it's really turned around and we had a chance to win," said Angelle.
After a botched round 1 qualifying attempt, Sampey and the Rush Racing team started a relentless march through the field. "I just totally missed the shifter button in the first round of qualifying," reported Angelle. "The bike took off to the left, which it's never done. Usually I'm prepared for the bike to go right. I was just holding on, and you can't hold on and shift the motorcycle. You have to go with the motorcycle and really ride the thing."
qualifying round 1
"After that, I was just determined to ride that motorcycle like I knew I could, and we went better and better."
True enough. Sampey's times improved every round, as did the 60 foot times that have proven elusive for her and the bike so far this year. "We did really well," said George Bryce, the six time national champion tuner on Sampey's Buell. "We had the best qualifying position we've had this year. We went really fast and improved every round. Then we improved again first round on Sunday and went a 6.95, set the track record and got low ET of the meet."
eliminations round 1
Sampey's Rush Racing Buell leapt to a 1.064 60 foot time on the pass. "That was a beautiful pass and the bike went really straight," said Angelle.
"Then we had to run the Harley and Andrew Hines in the second round," said Bryce. "He redlighted and Angelle had a good light, an .04. She got excited when she saw his redlight, looked over and took a peek, missed a shift and hit the rev limiter and slowed us down to a 7.05. But it would've gone a 6.90something again."
eliminations round 2
"In the next round, Chip Ellis redlighted and Angelle was able to go a 7 flat," continued Bryce.
eliminations round 3
So the table was set for Sampey's first final on the Rush Racing rocket. But in a cruel twist of fate, an inexpensive electronic part failed in the water box and the bike refused to start.
eliminations final round
"It was a lowly cam sensor," groaned Bryce. "All it does is tell the ECU (Engine Control Unit) that the engine's turning over. It costs $31."
"It cost us the race!" said team owner Karl Klement. "We came back to the trailer and changed it and it started right up."
"Fired up and sounded perfect," agreed Bryce.
"I was upset, but it was really a nice weekend," said Angelle. "The weather was beautiful, we had fun, and the crew guys Michael and Curtis did great."
"Everybody worked together real well," agreed Klement. "We had a great weekend and we finally found the tune-up in the bike."
"Thanks to Karl and Kim Klement and the Rush Racing Products folks for giving us a chance to do this," said Bryce. "And I want to give Angelle a pat on the back for her driving this weekend, and my boys did everything right. The motorcycle was great. The boys back at Star Racing and G2 did a good job putting the motors together."
"But there's still more in it," said Angelle. "I can hold first gear longer than I have been, but I've hit the rev limiter a few times and I'm scared of that. I can't be scared of it."
"Angelle was coiled and cocked and ready to rock and we didn't get a chance to show off what we could do in the finals," said Bryce. "But we picked up 60 points on the guys who went out first round, like Eddie Krawiec, Chris Rivas, and a couple of other guys we closed the gap on. It was a good move for us. The bike was fast and we're ready for the next race at Reading."
"We had some really good runs all weekend, but I still haven't won Brainerd yet," said Angelle. "It's the only track I haven't won on yet. But Reading is a great track for me. I think there have been only two or three times I've raced at Reading that I haven't been in the final round. So since we did this well at Brainerd, I feel I have a mental advantage going to Reading. That is my race!"
Angelle and the Rush Racing team race next August 14-17 at the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania.