Stoffer’s Superpower Takes Afternoon Off, Hines Wins

Karen Stoffer is known as the best leaver in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle. Her four straight .00 reaction times at Joliet in June marked the first time ever that an NHRA pro had achieved that feat. It’s her superpower.

Karen Stoffer (near lane) and Eddie Krawiec

But sometime after her second round win at the 12th annual NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway over Eddie Krawiec (with Karen logging an .030 light) , someone must have planted some kryptonite in her White Alligator Racing Suzuki. Her .110 against Steve Johnson survived round 3 courtesy of a 6.79—low ET of the round by nearly 3/100ths—and a drop in performance by Johnson. His Suzuki stuttered at about 100 feet, but Steve swears he didn’t double-button.

Steve Johnson won the green hat on Saturday but fell off against Stoffer on Monday.

Stoffer had no such luck in the final—a rematch with of her Gateway win two weeks ago vs. Andrew Hines. Her 6.804 at 199.20 mph (with a gentle arc towards and away from the centerline) came up short against Hines’ 6.805 at 199.37 on his Harley-Davidson via her .100 light vs. Andrew’s .041.

Karen Stoffer

“My top secret, double layered, power potion lined gloves were misplaced in the trailer after second round,” joked Stoffer. “It sure was a bummer to let the team down, but, where I come from you make mistakes, and that’s OK, as long as you learn and move on. I hope it was not too detrimental for the season, but there is nothing that I can do except look forward.”

Stoffer is in second, 57 points behind Hines with three races to go, and claims to feel no pressure from being within striking distance of a championship. “Pressure—well, as I see it right now, I’m having the best Countdown season in my career, with career bests in ET and MPH, as well as a Suzuki record in MPH. I’m really staying foucesd on that and the task of riding good.

“I’ll continue to be focused on the short term targets of good passes and then good racing. If that parleys into a bigger picture outcome, I’m pretty sure the WAR team and the US Underdahl/Stoffer team will be closely monitoring it.”

Andrew Hines

“It was a tough day,” said Hines. “We were sitting around during the rain delay yesterday talking about this Pro Stock Motorcycle class and how stacked it is right now. If you look at the top ten in qualifying, any one of those people could be number one at any given time. You just never know when that’s going to happen, so these races right now are hard fought and hard earned.”

Hines raced past Michael Ray in round 1, Scotty Pollacheck in 2 and Hector Arana Jr. in the semi. In addition to Krawiec and Johnson, Stoffer also beat Kelly Clontz.

Andrew Hines and Matt Smith were on opposite ends of the results spectrum at zMAX. Smith never took the stripe at full throttle on his home track.

Johnson hasn’t solved the riddle of his Suzuki’s slowdown against Stoffer. “Putting the engine back together now,” Johnson told me on Wednesday afternoon. “Saw nothing.” “We’re looking at electrical next,” said Ervin “Jock” Allen.
Angie Smith lost to Hector Arana Jr in E1

Hector Jr’s .004 light served him well when his bike apparently failed to shift against Jianna Salinas in E2. He then went -.041 red against Hines in the semis.
That’s right, Jianna Salinas was in round 2 courtesy of Jerry Savoie’s -.012 redlight.
Jianna’s happy parents Mike and Monica

“I knew today wasn’t gonna go right,” said Savoie, who was a victim of dairy voodoo. “Look, I got the milk outta the refrigerator for my cereal this morning and it was sour. I got the other bottle and it was sour too. All I’ve had today was coffee.”
Ryan Oehler advanced past Angelle Sampey in E1 despite an .066 disadvantage at the tree. Angelle’s Harley hustled to the centerline and she had to back out. Oehler then went the other way, redlighting -.020 against Johnson in E2.
Michael Ray dropped the record once again for a MaxxECU with all the “N.R.M.F.” switches turned off. He put a hun on Hines at the tree and out-60ed the Harley by nearly 3 more. Ray’s 6.92 wasn’t enough to keep Hines from the win, which makes you wonder what Michael could have done with one of MSR’s Gen2 S&S motors (Ray’s Victory bodied bike sports a Gen1)
Greg Underdahl thought it nonsense that Andrew Hines or Eddie Krawiec would switch to racing Suzukis at this point in their careers, but didn’t rule out the Vance & Hines team switching to Suzukis should they lose their Harley-Davidson sponsorship. “In that case, I’d like to see Jimmy Underdahl and Karen Stoffer riding them,” said Greg.

When Chris and Kelly Clontz saw me rollin’ through the pits, they were relieved to have they boots on ‘cuz they knew the shit was ’bout to get deep…
Andie Rawlings is not just one of the most pleasant people in the PSM pits, she’s also hilarious

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 17-20 with the fourth of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Dallas.

story and photos by Tim Hailey

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