GEICO rider Karen Stoffer endured a strange Sunday during the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
Stoffer won her first round when John Hall red-lighted but then fell in the second round to Eddie Krawiec on a red light of her own. Blame it on the full moon.
“The gift I had in the first round, I gave back to Eddie in the second round,” Stoffer said, “Strange occurrences, strange day. It’s always strange in Atlanta. I don’t know if it’s the heat or whatever it is.”
Stoffer, the highest qualified Suzuki on the grid at No. 7, won in the first round when Hall jumped the Tree by .154 seconds. That distracted Stoffer on the starting line, but the victory had already been secured.
“The first pass, he left early, and that threw me off a little bit,” Stoffer said. “It was a combination of things.”
Stoffer made a pass of 6.963 seconds at 191.84 mph that was the third-quickest of the opening round. In the second round, Stoffer was paired up with No. 2 qualifier and defending Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Krawiec.
“I thought I got it all out of my head, and I didn’t,” Stoffer said. “(Crew chief/husband) Gary (Stoffer) gave me a good bike, but I knew I had to cut the Tree. The Harleys have a tenth (of a second) on us so I needed to be quick. Ultimately, I guess my head wasn’t 100 percent in the game. There’s no way we would’ve won that race the way it played out, but you still want to have a good pass. I have a good bike.
“This was just one of those off-weekends. It’s time to move on. We’re going to hit it hard and see what we can do in Englishtown.
Stoffer was coming off a big win over Krawiec in Houston, but the score was leveled when Stoffer left early.
“I really wasn’t worried about my opponent,” Stoffer said. “I think my mind was more on the last round. It’s really never been on the opponent; it’s usually on my program, my thing. I was good all weekend long during qualifying. Everything was fine, and then today, for some reason my mind was in a different spot.”
Stoffer leaves Atlanta a lofty fifth in points and is the top Suzuki in the class after three races, winning at least one round in each event.
“I’m proud we had the fastest Suzuki on the premises, and we got another round win,” Stoffer said. “We’re going to need a lot of luck this year. That’s just how it’s going to be. We’re going to have to try and generate a lot of luck.”