Stoffer And Team Looking To End Three-Year Winless Drought - 5/12/2010
Rob Geiger - Geiger Media

ATLANTA (May 11) -- The 30th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway is the last place the GEICO Powersports Suzuki took center stage in an NHRA victory circle. The team is hoping the bike has what it takes to get back there at the end of the May 14-16 event.

Rider Karen Stoffer won Atlanta in 2007, the team's last triumph. This year she sits eighth in the NHRA Full Throttle Series Pro Stock Motorcycle points after struggling to get a handle on the horsepower boost granted to the Suzukis during the off-season.

Team owner Doug Johnson said the season has been a roller-coaster ride.

"It's been a little disappointing after the way we started off in Gainesville," Johnson said, referring to the national record Stoffer set in the season opening race. "We thought we had a handle on the extra power we had. I thought we had it mastered all in one race."

But as in a lot of things, Johnson said harnessing that extra power is a lot easier said than done.

"Reality set it in and since that time we've struggled with the setup," Johnson said. "More power means more problems -- more stress on the chassis, more tire issues, and more of a challenge to keep the bike hooked up and going down the track."

Johnson said inconsistent conditions have also made it difficult for the team to get its revised baseline tune-up set.

However, optimism is not in short supply in the GEICO Powersports Suzuki pits. Johnson said the team stayed over after the St. Louis race, making several runs that yielded some helpful data.

"We tested all day Monday," Johnson said. "We think we learned quite a bit. We didn't do anything miraculous, but we did figure out some things we can correct. Hopefully it will all pay off in Atlanta."

Qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals begins at 3:45 p.m. EDT on May 14 with eliminations starting at 11 a.m. on May 16.

Stoffer went on to extend special thanks to all of the 2010 sponsors and supporters.
Geico Powersports 1-800-442-9253, Speed Dawg, Bates Leathers, Suzuki Extended Protection, KYMCOUSA, NGK, Airtech, Red Line Oil, American Racing Products, Mechanix Wear Gloves, and TKO Graphics.