Team Suzuki Press Office – October 31.

With both riders officially eliminated from contention in the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Countdown to the Championship, the Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki team left the NHRA Nevada Nationals at ‘The Strip’ in Las Vega’s Motor Speedway on Sunday seeking a shot at redemption at the NHRA Finals in two weeks.

Again showing she has the fastest Suzuki-powered bike in the Pro Stock Motorcycle field, Angelle Sampey qualified her Suzuki Hayabusa in the number two starting spot with a 6.807-second/198.64 mph run, setting up hopes for a deep run into Sunday eliminations. However, she was unable to convert that strong qualifying performance into round wins after fouling out at the starting line in her first-round match-up against Hector Arana, Jr. The premature end left the three-time champion frustrated and seeking answers to a recent string of starting line woes.

Said Sampey: “That was just me anticipating and leaving before I was supposed to. It’s frustrating. I can’t figure out what mental block I have, why I have it, or how to get rid of it. I’m climbing a mountain right now, but I know I’m going to get to the top of it, and once I start coming downhill, all hell is going to break loose for everybody else. That’s where I want to get to.

“I was hoping it would be today, but it wasn’t. I asked my crew chief if he could muster up any bit of faith in me for Pomona. I would appreciate it because I’m not done yet. There’s no better race to win than the last one because you are the race winner for the whole offseason.”

Eddie Krawiec continued his pursuit of a career-milestone 50th NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle win in Las Vegas with a 6.846-second/196.39 mph qualifying effort that placed his Suzuki Hayabusa seventh in the starting order. His 6.892-second/195.03 mph first-round run easily carried him past Chris Bostick (7.250 seconds/158.82 mph), setting up a second-round matchup against Arana. Hoping to get revenge for his teammate, Krawiec simply didn’t have the speed to run down the back-to-back winner at Dallas and Las Vegas, who is showing a strong late-season run of form despite racing a partial season. Krawiec’s 6.904-second/194.77 mph pass fell just short of Arana’s 6.884-second/195.99 mph run.

Said Krawiec: “We were outrun today. Not much you can do about that. Hector struggled to qualify well but got it right in the first round. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. We’ll continue to work to make our bike better. I’m racing for a win. If I don’t get a win this year, it will be my first season since 2009 not having one. It takes a while to get things to gel, come together, iron out everything, and get it all working together. If I had this bike at the first race of the season, my year would have been much different. I’m very confident with the motorcycle that I have now. I love riding it. I’m going to Pomona with no pressure on me other than to win the race.”

With Las Vegas in the books, Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki Crew Chief Andrew Hines also turned his attention to the season finale in Pomona.

“Eddie was a lot closer to the competitive bikes at the front of the field today, so I’m happy with that. Unfortunately, Vegas turned into a ‘halfway to Denver’ track with low oxygen in the air. The V-Twins have an advantage in those conditions, and that showed today. Eddie lost a close race, but we’ll move on to Pomona,” Hines said. “I feel confident we’ll be busting off runs over 200 in the low 6.70s. Our goal every weekend is to win, and I have no expectation other than to make sure one of these Suzukis is in the winner’s circle. We just need to go to Pomona and get it done.”

With one round remaining in the Countdown to the Championship, Krawiec and Sampey are in sixth and seventh positions with 2,291 and 2,259 points respectively and have both been mathematically eliminated from winning the championship.

Suzuki riders, Joey Gladstone, Jerry Savoie, and Steve Johnson all remain in the thick of the Countdown to the Championship standings with the NHRA Finals just 10 days away.

The Vance & Hines/Mission Suzuki team, as well as the other Suzuki racers, will be back in action November 10-13th for the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA.

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