Ellis advances to semifinals in Schumacher Racing debut
Gainesville, Sunday: NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor Chip Ellis rode the Schumacher Electric Suzuki to a semifinal finish on Sunday at the NHRA Gatornationals, his first race competing for the Don Schumacher Racing team.
Florida native Ellis enjoyed his best weekend ever at Gainesville Raceway. He began by qualifying No. 5 with an elapsed time of 7.016 seconds at 187.08 mph, the quickest Suzuki at the event. On Sunday he began eliminations with a 6.975/189.95 lap to defeat Shawn Gann, who broke on the starting line. In the quarterfinals he recorded a .003 reaction time (.000 is perfect) and laid down a 7.017/185.43 pass, while his opponent Eddie Krawiec fouled out with a red-light start.
Ellis was prepared to race Matt Guidera in the semifinals when a mechanical problem arose. Ellis started up the Schumacher Electric Suzuki, but the motor didn't sound right to him and he wisely shut it off rather than risk further damage. Guidera claimed the win with a 6.934/191.97. He then advanced to the final round and collected the event win.
"It's been a great race," said Ellis, despite the problems he faced in the semifinals. "All of the guys on the Schumacher Electric Suzuki team are working together like a machine. I rode well and I cut good lights all weekend. My worst light out of four runs was a .024. The bike ran great; we just had a little problem in the semifinals. It was some kind of mechanical problem. We don't know at this time what it was.
"It gives me a feeling of satisfaction to know that we can get out here and compete at the top level on a bike that we're doing most of the work on in-house at DSR. We have a great bunch of guys and great sponsors and I'm looking forward to Houston because I think we've got something for them."
With 10 V-Twin motorcycles (Buells and Harley-Davidsons) and six Suzukis competing in eliminations, Ellis was the only Suzuki rider left after the first round.
"I felt like a goldfish in a shark tank," he said. "Trying to outrun those V-Twins with a Suzuki is a tough challenge, but I like a good challenge. I think I've got the people, the team, the sponsors and everything I need to do that. I think we're really going to have a good year after seeing how this race played out for us."
Ellis leaves the Gatornationals fourth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle point standings.
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