GEICO Powersports Rider Stoffer a Finalist In Denver - 7/25/2010
Rob Geiger - Geiger Media

DENVER (July 25) -- Karen Stoffer rode her yellow and black GEICO Powersports Suzuki to a runner-up finish Sunday at the 31st annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, while her Top Fuel teammate, Morgan Lucas, managed to clinch a position in the Countdown to the Championship field.

In her best outing of the 2010 season, Stoffer blazed a trail from the No. 3 starting slot to the money round by knocking off Angie Smith and top-10 riders Craig Treble and Steve Johnson to get her chance at Andrew Hines, the second-ranked rider in the class.

With the trophy on the line, Stoffer and Hines left within a few thousandths of a second of one another with Hines slowly creeping away at each incremental timer to take the win. The final tally showed Hines crossing the finish line with a 7.342 at 178.02 mph to Stoffer's 7.402 at 175.94 mph.

"It's kind of fitting that we had a finish like this up here because it seems like we've been climbing a mountain since Gainesville," said Stoffer, who leaves the race ninth in the Full Throttle points. "We're ecstatic. We made a nice move in the points and we were kind of in control of our own destiny today taking on the riders we needed to beat in the standings.

"This gives us so much confidence, all of us on this team, including the rider, to have a result like this. It shows us we have the power, that we know how to setup the bike and tune it for good runs. It's just a feel good deal all the way around."

Lucas had a tough Round 1 match-up with current series points leader Larry Dixon. Racing in the less desirable right-hand lane, not much went right for Lucas as his 8,000-horsepower GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster dropped a cylinder and made a big move towards the wall just off the launch pad. With Dixon streaking away, the 26-year-old smartly shut his car off before flirting with any further danger.

Dixon might have been tough to beat any way as he posted a strong 3.963 at 301.27 mph. Lucas eventually coasted through with a 6.285 at 102.06 mph.

"The Swing is over, finally, and now we get to go back to a track where we won the race last year," Lucas said, of the upcoming Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota. "Hopefully, we can go back to Brainerd and represent GEICO Powersports and Lucas Oil better than we have been.

"We're going to do whatever we have to do as a team, and make whatever moves we need to make, including personnel changes, to get this car on track. Things need to get better real fast."

Lucas earned his spot in the playoffs when Dave Grubnic lost in the second round, making it mathematically impossible for anyone to bump him out of the Countdown field. There is one race left before the Countdown begins over Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis with the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.

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.