Karen Stoffer is intimately familiar with Maple Grove Raceway, the site of this weekend’s 26th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, and speaks with some authority when asked about the possibilities of this weekend’s Countdown to 1 playoff race.
“We definitely could see a national record in Reading,” said Stoffer, who set the all-time elapsed time mark for Pro Stock Motorcycles earlier this year in Gainesville, Fla. “The track there is always in good shape and the Weather Channel is saying it’s going to be nice and cool, which is a really good recipe for quick times.
“It would be fun to be a fan this weekend, although I’m not giving up my regular seat on my GEICO Powersports Suzuki.”
Stoffer made history at “the Grove” in 2002 when she raced to the first all-female final in NHRA history opposite Angelle Sampey (Drago). Although she lost that race by a whisker, she redeemed herself a few years later in 2006 when she beat Geno Scali down Maple Grove’s quarter-mile for the trophy. She even joined the Mickey Thompson 6-Second Pro Bike Club that weekend, making it one of her best outings as a professional.
“Maple Grove has provided some great memories for me,” she said. “The race against Angelle was a big deal when it happened. I remember there was a lot of excitement for several weeks after we pulled that off. And of course winning it all in 2006 was special because every win is so precious at this level. I have a lot of affection for this facility and the surrounding area. It’s a nice little part of the country.
“The Countdown to 1 has been wild and we’re only halfway through it at this point. I think if you factor in the potential for a national record this weekend and, if the moons line up just right, another chance at a national record in Pomona at the end of the season that you really can’t count anyone out just yet. We’re certainly not giving up until Sunday night in California when they tell us it’s over.”
The GEICO Powersports Suzuki has shown it’s capable of mixing things up with the best bikes in the world. Stoffer’s incredible 6.847-second pass in Gainesville gave her the national record for almost half a year — a long time in drag racing — before current points leader Andrew Hines lowered the mark to an astonishing 6.815 seconds last month at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.