Its a New Season for Stoffer - 9/14/2009
By: Jack Korpela,

If Pro Stock Motorcycle drag racing was football, the GEICO Powersports team came through in epic fashion with a last-minute scoring drive to make the playoffs.

Stoffer aims to continue her forward momentum at the NHRA Carolinas Nationals from zMax Dragway in Charlotte, NC, Sept. 18-20.

On Labor Day weekend Stoffer entered the illustrious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals needing to stay in the top ten in the Full Throttle Point Standings to qualify for NHRA's Countdown to One. Stoffer began the event tenth, clinging to a slim two point lead over No. 11 Steve Johnson.

Johnson struck first by out-qualifying Stoffer, capturing the sixth spot with a 7.014, as Stoffer qualified tenth with a 7.023.

Monday's opening round of eliminations proved to be the final factor in setting the Countdown field. Johnson fouled-out with a -.004 red light against Chip Ellis, and Stoffer came through in the clutch with an upset victory over No. 7 qualifier LE Tonglet, 7.00 to Tonglet's 7.16. The 20 points awarded for the round win were just what Stoffer needed to clinch a Countdown berth.

Stoffer has now qualified for the Countdown to One every season since its inception. It is the second consecutive time she qualified in dramatic fashion, with opening-round victories at the U.S. Nationals making the difference. For Stoffer, the experience has produced confidence.

"Really, having gone through this in 2008, I felt calm the night before," Stoffer said. "We knew we would give it our best shot, and if we outperformed our competition, we would win."

Stoffer was considerably calmer than team owner Doug Johnson.

"Two years in a row we get into the Countdown at the final race. My heart can't take this much longer," laughed Johnson.

Johnson said there was a lot of mechanical behind-the-scenes issues throughout the weekend, which were overcome by the tireless hard work of crew chief Gary Stoffer and assistant crew chief Greg Underdahl.

"It took three motors to get through this race, but making the countdown made it all worth it," Johnson said. "It seemed like after every run Greg and Gary had to change motors. They worked their butts off to make the Countdown."

After what has been a challenging year for the GEICO team, by virtue of the Countdown to One point adjustments, Stoffer is only 110 points behind leader and defending series champion Eddie Krawiec. With five races left in the season it's clear Stoffer is very much alive in the championship hunt. Stoffer, however, prefers not to get caught up looking at the standings.

"Honestly, I am happy that we made it, but I'm more focused on performing at our peak for the next race so we can continue to win rounds," Stoffer said. "It's just points. We have to go out and win rounds. It's about doing our best for each pass, and if we do, we will be the victor."

Stoffer extended a special thanks to all the fans, friends, sponsors and family that have supported the GEICO team throughout the regular season.

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.