Vacuum leak ends great weekend for Sampey
Madison, Sunday: Angelle Sampey and her Rush Racing Pro Stock Motorcycle team have dealt with a host of performance robbing issues with her S&S powered Buell through the first three races on the NHRA POWERade season. But this past weekend at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, they finally had a platform to tune with. The winningest woman in professional motorsports started the weekend in the top half of the field, jumped to fourth in the second qualifying round, and started eliminations with the second quickest ET of the round.
qualifying round 1
8th Angelle Sampey right lane 7.050 at 185.21 mph
qualifying round 2
4th Angelle Sampey left lane 6.982 at 187.86 mph
qualifying round 3
6th Angelle Sampey right lane 7.054 at 181.86 mph
Sampey was out of the groove and close to the centerline on her Q3 pass, but this time it wasn't the will of the bike that drove her there. "On Friday and Saturday I had to work to get motorcycle to go straight because of the crosswind, but that was mother nature," said Angelle. "On Sunday the wind was gone and the bike went perfectly straight. It's much more fun to ride when you don't have to work it so much."
qualifying round 4
5th Angelle Sampey left lane 6.961 at 187.86 mph
eliminations round 1
(W) Angelle Sampey .014 6.917 at 191.51 mph
Hector Arana .013 7.086 at 182.82 mph
"We ran fast first round, a 6.91," said six-time champion tuner George Bryce. "Chip (Ellis) ran a 6.93, Matt (Smith) went 6.88, Drew (Andrew Hines) went 6.87. We went 160 mph in the eighth, Matt went 159, and Drew went 159. So we had it going."
Next up for Sampey was Hines's teammate Eddie Krawiec, who lost to Angelle on a holeshot the previous week in Atlanta. This time Eddie was ready, and another small but identifiable problem robbed Angelle's Buell of the power she needed to drive around him.
eliminations round 2
(W) Eddie Krawiec .025 6.944 at 188.52 mph
Angelle Sampey .030 6.961 at 188.99 mph
"We were going to go fast, but we had a vacuum leak," reported Bryce. "A hose vibrated loose. We had twenty inches of vacuum in the first round, then the leak brought us down to twelve inches. That's worth about four to eight horsepower loss, or three or four hundredths of a second. Everyone slowed down second round but we slowed more, and we lost by six feet.
"But Angelle did great today. Three times she had a great .01 light. I was happy with how we ran, and I feel like we have improved our performance a bunch in two weeks. The first round, we ran the same back half as Chip and Matt. What Matthew had going was the front half, and Chip's Suzuki's front half program is doing great. We're all doing much better and we've stepped up to be competitive."
"We had six great passes," agreed Angelle. "The bike went straight, we had something to tune on, and I worked real hard on my reaction times. George and the crew work so hard on the bike, and I really feel like I have to hold up my end on the track."
Off the track, it was a big weekend for hospitality in the Rush Racing pits. Marketing partner Doc's Harley-Davidson is located in nearby Kirkwood, Missouri. "The chandelier was up this weekend!" said team owner Karl Klement. "Patty Bush was here with all her employees from Doc's and brought a lot of her customers and special guests. Lou and Jeremy Pringle from Rush Racing were there and Steve Johnson from Tucker Rocky. It was great1"
"When you have people in the pits who cheer for you like that, it's like having family there," agreed Angelle. "Jim Davis from CycleSpot was there, and he's really become a friend. He's been helping me with my website. Also, Magneti-Marelli expert Steve Nichols was there. Steve's a cool guy and I love having him around."
"Everybody was working good together, Angelle's getting used to the bike, and George is getting a handle on the tune-up," said Klement. "Everything was good. I couldn't ask for anything any better anywhere, we just got beat."
"It's all been a lesson for us," reasoned Angelle. "I think we're being built up to enjoy the win when we get it. We're not struggling, but the little things that have happened to us have made us appreciate how hard it is. I went here thinking we were gonna win or something was gonna happen, and something good did happen. We ran really well, we had so much fun, and we had a great weekend."
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