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Star Racing’s Reed, Sampey, set back by engine troubles while racing in Denver, Sonoma

From STAFF REPORTS

Star Racing’s Angelle Sampey and Cory Reed recently rode their Star Racing/PSE Buells to the second round of competition at the 37th annual Mopar Mile-High National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Nationals.
In the first round of the event, little did Reed know that he was going to be the target of extremely interesting circumstances as he started his Buell in the burnout box.
As he attempted his burnout, Reed noticed a flame coming from his bike and smoke following it. With Chief Starter Mike Gittings looking at Reed and watching his stopwatch, Reed and the Star Racing team rushed to his aid in hopes of getting the bike to restart. Reed’s bike came to life and, without a burnout, he approached the stage beam. Reed clocked in with a 7.234-second pass at 183.49 and advanced to the second round over Shawn Gann’s 7.278, 184.09.
“In first round, I tried to pat the fire out with my hands and I turned the motor off,” Reed said. “I thought for sure they wouldn’t let me run but they did and I thank Shawn Gann for waiting for me. I was just happy to make it to the second round after that.”
Angelle Sampey had lane choice over Hector Arana in the first round as a result of qualifying in the top half of the field in the number-three position. Sampey clocked in with a 7.204-second pass at 183.49 to take the win over Arana’s 8.866, 103.27.
The Star Racing/PSE team banded together and was able to fix the problem on Cory’s bike before the second round. Reed launched against Andrew Hines and when he hit the shift between third and fourth gear, the bike started acting up and he was forced to abort the run; Reed coasted to a 12.995, 60.23 against Hines’ 7.234, 184.77.
In Sampey’s second round matchup, she came against fellow Louisiana-native racer Jerry Savoie. Unfortunately, Sampey’s 7.299, 184.35 wasn’t enough to take the win over Savoie’s 7.221, 184.35.
“I just felt a little off my game this weekend,” Sampey said. “After Saturday’s final qualifying run when the bike rolled back from being staged to pre-staged like that, I was trying to make sure I staged right today. I knew I was late in the second round and so I short-shifted it to compensate. My Star Racing/PSE Buell is running well and I’m looking forward to going to Sonoma next weekend.”
With an earlier than predicted exit from the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in a recent event, Sampey and Reed were amped up about their next race in the 29th annual Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
In their eighth race of the season, Sampey sat in the number-three spot and Reed was only 23 points out of the top 10 in the No. 12 spot.
“I’ve been to Sonoma a few times but I’ve never raced there until now,” Reed said. “I know Sonoma is really fast and my mom (Top Alcohol winner, Annie Whiteley) likes racing there a lot.”
Sitting at number-12 in the points and less than 25 points out of being in the top ten with three races left before the Countdown begins, Reed knew that qualifying high on the ladder and going rounds would be important.
“I think we’re gonna be really fast in Sonoma,” he said prior to the race. “Denver is usually where teams struggle with their tune-ups and if we weren’t outrunning the Harley team, we were running right with them so I think we will be really fast in Sonoma this weekend.”
With two finals and four semifinal finishes to her credit this season, Sampey wanted to put the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in her rear-view mirror and attack Sonoma Raceway in championship form.
“I’m really looking forward to Sonoma because we didn’t have the best weekend in Denver so I’m anxious to get another chance,” Sampey said. “I’m also excited about going because I’m bringing my mom and Ava with me and anytime I have my family with me at the races, I have even more fun than I already do. There’s no better feeling than having my baby girl by my side at the races.”
Sampey won this event in 2004 and went wire-to-wire when she qualified in the number-one spot the same year.
On the day of the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Sampey drove her Star Racing/PSE Buell to the second round of eliminations before her race-day efforts were cut short. The silver lining to the weekend was that Sampey clinched her spot as the third racer to make it into the Countdown for the 2016 season.
In the first round, Sampey’s number-two qualifying position landed her lane choice over Angie Smith. Sampey was delayed on the light at the launch but nothing could stop her when she clocked in with a 6.730-second pass at 199.76; the second quickest pass in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle history. Sampey advanced to the second round over Smith’s slowed 6.953, 191.13.
“I didn’t think it was a 73,” Sampey disclosed. “I was late on the light and it was totally my fault. I was afraid of red-lighting and I overcompensated. She got out on me and I saw her which caused me to short shift. If I wouldn’t have done that, I would’ve done 200 miles an hour. If I didn’t have to correct the bike, I would’ve gone 200. After I got the bike straight, I knew she was out on me and I did everything I could to catch up; I tucked in and waited on all the gears and I just chased her down. That run was insane.”
In the second round, Sampey chose the left lane over Hector Arana Jr. Sampey had a .034-second reaction time and was ahead of Arana Jr. before her engine gave out and smoke billowed from underneath her PSE Buell giving the win to Arana Jr. who clocked in with a 6.827, 196.73.
“I was so determined to do a better job in round two,” she added. “I left good and the bike went straight and then it broke.”
Although she had an earlier than desired exit, Sampey clinched her spot in the Countdown to the Championship.
“That’s a relief,” she signed. “We missed a couple races last year and I missed the top ten by just a couple of points so at least we can relax about that part of it and have a fun time as we go into the Countdown.”
Reed experienced some bad luck in the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals, although he started in the number-12 spot with his 6.93. Mechanical issues plagued his bike and he was unable to qualify for the quickest field in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle history.