GEICO Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer endured a bittersweet day at the NHRA Finals Sunday, winning another Pro Stock Motorcycle round before falling to 2012 champion Eddie Krawiec in the second round. The defeat also ended Stoffer’s nine-year relationship with GEICO.
“It’s been a wonderful relationship,” Stoffer said. “I can’t express thanks enough for what they’ve done. Hopefully, they appreciate the value that we’ve given them. It’s been a good relationship, and hopefully a foundation that we can do this for other businesses.”
Stoffer posted her best finish in the final points standings by coming home fifth. Her previous best was sixth, where she finished in 2011 and 2006.
“It’s been a great ride,” Stoffer said. “It was a little different coming down the return road after I lost that round. I was waving to the fans, definitely for the last time on the GEICO bike. But I’m optimistic. When one door closes, another door opens up. It’s been a great time, a good relationship, and hopefully we can show that to our next partner.”
Stoffer began her final ride on the GEICO bike with a victory over past champion Hector Arana Sr. in the first round. Stoffer left first and made a pass of 6.879 seconds at 192.91 mph to beat Arana’s slowing run of 8.754 seconds at 111.74 mph.
That matched her up against Krawiec, who won the Pro Stock Motorcycle title for the second year in a row in a dominant season. Stoffer tried to gain an advantage on the Christmas Tree, but she left a tick too soon.
“We had that Eddie Krawiec in the second round,” Stoffer said. “I did take a little bit of a shot at the Tree. I’ve done it in the past, and we ended up on the good side. This time, it was just on the wrong side. Even with a perfect light, we wouldn’t have won that race. That’s why he’s the champ, that’s why the Harley-Davidsons are the champs.”
Stoffer’s plans are uncertain for next season and beyond, but she spent the weekend in Pomona encouraged by her fans and supporters.
“The fans have been phenomenal,” Stoffer said. “The No. 1 question I get from the fans is, ‘Do you have anything for next year?’ Then when I say no, they say, ‘Please come out here next year. We need you out here and we love following you.’ They’ve been inspirational and motivational. Time will tell.”