Karen Stoffer is higher in the Full Throttle championship points standings then she’s been since mid May, but the rider of the GEICO Powersports Suzuki says she wants to feel more like she’s earned her position than had it given to her by the playoff rules.
After successfully qualifying for Countdown to the Championship, the NHRA’s version of playoff drag racing, Stoffer and the rest of the top-10 riders were bunched up in the standings and separated by just 10 points each. One race into the postseason, Stoffer has risen to eighth place overall, and she’s now just 201 markers behind leader Andrew Hines.
“We’ve come up in the points, which is good,” Stoffer said. “We haven’t earned them but we’ve gotten them given to us, so we’ll certainly take ’em. Now the plan is to start earning them, and we’re going to get to work on that in Charlotte.”
This weekend’s third annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals will mark the second time this season that Stoffer and her compatriots in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class will visit zMax Dragway. Earlier this year, in somewhat of an experiment, NHRA ran the race in a four-wide format, with four competitors running down the track at once. This time through, they’ll return to regular rules.
“We’re not going four wide this time; we’re going back to traditional side-by-side drag racing,” Stoffer said. “I think it’s a good call by the NHRA, especially with the playoffs going on. The challenge we all had in the spring was that the two newer lanes on the right side were considerably greener than the ones they use all the time on the left side. Now we’ll all be on equal footing.
“We’re going to go in there knowing our GEICO Powersports Suzuki goes straight, which has been a problem for us at times this year. We really feel as though we figured out the chassis in Indy. We’re extremely optimistic about Charlotte. We’re going to put the A motor in there and hopefully challenge for the trophy.
“Where you are in the points, that stuff all takes care of itself. You really just need to race and do the best you can and the points will add up by themselves.”