Ellis advances to the semifinals in second straight race
Houston, Sunday: Chip Ellis rode the Schumacher Electric Suzuki to his second consecutive semifinal finish today at the NHRA Spring Nationals, the second of 17 races for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class on the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series tour. Ellis remained fourth in point standings with his strong showing today in eliminations.
Ellis began the day by setting low elapsed time of the first round with a stunning 6.995-second run at 187.86 mph to defeat Angie McBride's 8.188/114.57. He then eliminated Hector Arana in the second round with a 7.095/184.19 to Arana's losing 7.119/184.60.
In the semifinals Ellis squared off against Matt Guidera in a repeat of their semifinal match-up two weeks earlier in Gainesville, Fla., where Ellis's Suzuki broke before he had a chance to run. This time Ellis made a race of it with a 7.084/185.49 pass, but lost to Guidera's slightly quicker 7.067/189.47 lap by a margin of .0795 of a second.
"The weather has been kind of tricky today," said Ellis of the cloudy and humid conditions. "Crew chief Steve Tartaglia did a great job tuning the bike and we just came up a little bit short in the semis. I wasn't as good on the tree as I'd like to have been, especially in the semifinals, but I shifted well and I went straight. I just need to get back to basics and cut good lights like I did at the first race in Gainesville. I'm not going to stress about it. I'll get back to the DSR shop and get the reaction-time practice tree out and try to be a little more consistent.
"It really surprised me to set low elapsed time in the first round, but the Schumacher Electric Suzuki is very fast. I'm still trying to learn to drive it well. We're still leaving a little bit out there on every run. I just want to work on driving the bike and we'll pick up again where we left off at the next race. The way I see it, if we keep going to the semifinals every race and make it to a few final rounds we'll be looking pretty good. We're off to a good start. At this point last year I was looking bad, but with this new DSR team we're looking pretty good.
"When you're off to a good start it gives you a lot of momentum. We'll just keep chugging along and taking it one round at a time. I think the guys on the team are pretty happy with another semifinal finish. We're kind of the underdogs out here on the Suzuki but we have the fastest one out here. We'll just go back to the shop in Indianapolis and work hard and be ready to go in Atlanta."
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