For one racer in Sonoma, objects in the rear view mirror may be CLOSER than they appear.
NHRA GEICO Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Karen Stoffer thought she had snared a second-round victory in the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sears Point Raceway on Sunday when she quickly jumped out to a .073-second hole-shot advantage on the starting line.
But those chickens were counted just a tad before they were hatched, with Hector Arana Sr. running Stoffer down at the top end and taking the round win over Stoffer by less than a foot at the finish line.
“When I left on him, I said, ‘Dude, I’ve got this race, just ride and give them a good number to tune for the next pass.’ Usually, .07 on the Tree will get you there. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked for the 60-foot cone. He was on the right-hand side, and as I’m looking for the cone, I saw he was way behind, so I knew we had a good chance.” — Stoffer, on her starting line advantage
Stoffer made a pass of 6.889 seconds at 194.41 mph after cutting a near-perfect .020 second reaction time, but came up just short of Arana’s lap of 6.814 seconds at 195.00 mph.
“I think I had every single finger and toe and piece of hair squeezed,” Stoffer said. “I was squeezing that bike so hard I had to actually pry myself off the bike at the top end. I really wanted that win.” — Stoffer, as Arana chased her down
A victory would have put Stoffer in the semifinals for the second race in a row, which would have been a great run on the Western Swing for the Nevada resident.
“This is our home track, it’s one of the West Coast tracks, and we had a lot of friends and family here. The bike was running good today, but we just got snakebit. When we look back at it, our 60-foot fell off, and if your 60-foot falls off, the ET falls off.” –Stoffer said post-race
Stoffer took down Michael Phillips with an excellent pass in the first round, posting a run of 6.827 seconds at 194.30 mph.
“My Suzuki was running good today,” Stoffer said. “(Crew chief) Gary (Stoffer) hit the tune-up. We weren’t as fast as them, but we were within striking distance. I’m proud of the team, proud of what we’ve got. We’ve got a fast Suzuki, and hopefully, the cards will fall right and we can out-race these guys one of these races.”