Stoffer Rings Bell at NYSE, Optimistic Heading into Englishtown After Quick Runs - 6/10/2009

After kicking off race week with the ringing of the Opening Bell for the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, Karen Stoffer and her GEICO Powersports Pro Stock Motorcycle team have a lot to look forward to heading into this weekend's NHRA Supernationals from Englishtown, NJ, June 12-14.

At the tour's last stop in Chicago, Ill., Stoffer couldn't have asked for a much better motorcycle. The GEICO Powersports Suzuki qualified in the No. 3 spot with a 6.97 at 192 mph, and was the quickest motorcycle of the second and third qualifying sessions. Stoffer also had the best 60-foot time of the fourth session.

"I attribute it to the hard work of the team," Stoffer said. "We laid down a great baseline run right off the trailer. Our new chassis is working really well."

Competitors in the category were faced with difficult, changing and often moist air conditions during most of the weekend. Crew chief Gary Stoffer was able to use some of his information from past races to help keep Stoffer's fuel-injected Suzuki at the top of the pack.

"The fuel injection is a big part of why we are running so well and in the future I think you will see a lot of people running it," said Stoffer, who is one of the only Suzuki racers to utilize fuel injection as opposed to a traditional carburetor set-up. "We now have a year's worth of data to pull from and we know how to tune it."

In the opening round of Chicago eliminations Stoffer suffered a heart-breaking loss to No. 14 qualifier Katie Sullivan when Stoffer fouled out by a mere -.023.

“It hurts bad but it's just part of Pro Stock Motorcycle racing," Stoffer said. "Our bikes react so quickly. If the track were only one-foot-long the bikes would be the quickest pro class out there."

Stoffer finds herself in an unusual position. She is regarded as one of the best leavers in the class and has won several events, like the Gatornationals in 2007 all thanks to her stellar reaction times. Now, she faces her second consecutive opening-round foul start and must struggle with an issue no racer wants to deal with - slowing down.

"It's almost contradicting ourselves when the goal of the sport is to go from point A to point B as quickly as you can, yet we have to try to slow the bike down off the line. It's difficult," Stoffer said.

Stoffer was not alone as the Pro Stock Motorcycle class experienced a significant number of redlights in qualifying and eliminations throughout the weekend.

Nonetheless Stoffer is hoping to put all of her starting-line troubles behind her in Englishtown.

"I'm planning on this being a breakout race for us," Stoffer said. "We've done well here in the past."

Stoffer was able to get the Englishtown festivities started early. On Wednesday, Stoffer along with six other NHRA Full Throttle Series drivers took part in the Opening Bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange. The GEICO Powersports Suzuki was on display in lower Manhattan where Stoffer met Wall Street executives, tourists and race fans from all over the world.

"It was a great opportunity to represent GEICO Powersports and Berkshire-Hathaway," Stoffer said. "We were able to showcase the sport of NHRA drag racing to the world's most influential city and nation's largest media market."

Stoffer went on to extend special thanks to all of her sponsors and supporters.

Geico Powersports 1-800-442-9253, Speed Dawg, Bates Leathers, Suzuki Extended Protection, Kymco, NGK, Airtech, Wrath Motorsports and TKO Graphics.

Special Note: Stoffer, along with GEICO Powersports teammate Morgan Lucas will be appearing live, in-studio on America's Nightly Scoreboard at 7:40 pm ET on the FOX Business Channel. Check local listings.