Clinching playoff berth important but not top priority for GEICO's Stoffer - 8/15/2012
Rob Geiger - Geiger Media

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 15) - GEICO Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer can wrap up a spot in the Countdown to the Championship this weekend in the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

But that's not foremost in her mind as she prepares to race in the ninth Pro Stock Motorcycle event of the season.

"We're really not thinking about that," Stoffer said. "There's a lot of things going on, and we have to put our main focus on doing the best we can with that Suzuki. They're definitely a little bit handicapped with the way the rules are right now. We're just focusing on doing the best with what we have and scrounging and trying to find what we can to compete."

Stoffer can clinch her place in the Countdown by going one round further than Steve Johnson or by reaching the semifinals. She's currently fifth in the points standings, trailing only the powerful Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod and Lucas Oil Buell V-Twins.

"We have so many other things to think about with the Suzukis," Stoffer said. "I haven't really thought about points too much. We know the GEICO Suzuki can't go up any higher before the Countdown. The only place we can go is down, so we're going to try our hardest to continue what we've started over the last few races and be consistent.

"Gary (Stoffer, crew chief/husband) is really good at getting the tune-up, so we're just doing what we can and doing the best we can with what we have."

Stoffer has won at least one round in seven of the eight races this season, going to the semifinals twice. She's also qualified in the top half of the field six times. But she's looking for some improvement at Brainerd over 2011, where she lost in the first round.

"Brainerd's been an iffy track," Stoffer said. "Sometimes, it's been good; sometimes, it's been bad. We haven't really had consistency year after year there. We'll see what it brings. I'm glad we're racing, and the GEICO bike is running well."

Every event is fun for Stoffer and her GEICO team, mainly because they get to race. But Brainerd is a little more fun than other races because of the Zoo, the fan campground inside the track that many racers visit during the weekend. Stoffer has been racing full time since 2003, and the craziness of the Zoo has remained pretty much the same.

"It's always nuts," Stoffer said. "We have a lot of the regulars and a lot of the same people. You get some new people, but the Zoo is always the same. The race is pretty much the same, too. It's always interesting because this is the only race where they have snowmobiles. That's also an interesting element.

"But the race has stayed the same and it's a lot of fun. The owners are great and the fans are wonderful. It's like going to a big campout."

Stoffer went on to extend special thanks to all of the 2012 sponsors and supporters.
Geico Powersports 1-800-442-9253, Suzuki Extended Protetion, Bates Leathers, KYMCOUSA, NGK, Airtech, Red Line Oil, American Racing Products, Mechanix Wear Gloves, and TKO Graphics.