Popular Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Karen Stoffer has dubbed the last four races of the 2010 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series as her “Redemption Tour” after a season that began with so much promise but has seen more than its share of adversity since.
Stoffer shocked the two-wheel set at the season-opener in Gainesville, Fla., when she rode her powerful GEICO Powersports Suzuki to the top of the motorcycle world with a record pass of 6.847 seconds. It appeared at the time that no one had mastered the bigger Suzuki engine allowed by the NHRA rule makers better than Stoffer and her crew chief husband Gary.
But as quickly as it appeared, Stoffer’s newfound success was lost in a sea of chassis issues, mechanical gremlins, and a riding style makeover that dropped her from championship contender to mid-pack status.
Then came Denver and a runner-up result that invigorated the always cheerful rider and her Doug Johnson-owned race team. They cruised into the playoff field for the third straight year, assuring themselves of a seventh successive top-10 finish, and found more things that needed fixing. Finally, it seemed, they were ready to race.
“We hadn’t felt comfortable as a team with the bike all year long,” Stoffer said. “By Indy and the start of the Countdown to 1, it seemed like we got our bike back. Actually, we know we have the bike now. We’ve got our record-breaking bike back.”
Perhaps a little too excited by the prospects ahead, Stoffer squandered a solid qualifying effort in Charlotte with a foul start on race day, which makes her doubly anxious to get to Dallas and start fresh at this weekend’s 25th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals.
“I have a do-over,” Stoffer said. “The good thing about back-to-back races is I can have a do-over. I can redeem myself. You don’t have time to worry about what just happened so it’s not lingering in the back of your head any more. Now, I’ve just got to focus on my mind and the tree and getting my head in the right spot so I don’t let the team down again.
“After all we’ve been through this year I’ve decided to call these last four races the ‘Redemption Tour.’ I’ve just got to redeem our team’s effort, redeem ourselves, and validate that we deserve our spot in the top 10.”
On Thursday, Stoffer will deliver food to the elderly by completing a route with local Meals on Wheels volunteers. Then it’s off to Splitsville in Arlington for a bowling party from 6-8 p.m. that’s free and open to area fans.
Qualifying begins with two sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. Friday at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, just south of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.