Geico Motorcycle Suzuki
Norwalk, pre-race: Like many of the tens of thousands of fans that will pour through the gates of Summit Motorsports Park for this weekend’s national event, GEICO Powersports Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Karen Stoffer plans to indulge in the famous $1 ice cream offered by track owner Bill Bader.
Aside from the obvious pleasures, the ice cream treat will represent a new start for the popular rider, who has endured a rougher-than-expected start to the 2010 season.
“We need to start having fun again,” Stoffer said. “We’ve put an awful lot of pressure on ourselves and the frustration level has been pretty high. That’s not why we do this. Sure, it’s drag racing and you’re going to have tough stretches but we should never lose sight of the fact we get to do something pretty special for a living.
“We’re starting fresh in Norwalk and that $1 ice cream is going to get things aimed in the right direction. It’s time to keep it simple, do what we know how to do, and let things come to us like they have in the past.”
Over the off-season, in an effort to level the playing field in the class, the NHRA rules committee allowed Suzuki riders to switch to a slightly larger and more powerful motor. Although Stoffer recorded a national record elapsed time in the first race of the season, the adjustment period has been significant for all of the Suzuki-sponsored pros, and it wasn’t until the last event in Englishtown, N.J., that the Buell and Harley riders began feeling threatened.
“I think we’re all figuring things out, slowly but surely,” Stoffer said. “In fact, the Norwalk race will be a really good indicator of how we match up with the other manufacturers because that track can produce some really big numbers if the conditions are right.
“It’s one of the newer tracks on the NHRA tour and the Bader family obviously takes a lot of pride in the place because it’s very well maintained. Personally, I enjoy the fans because they are really knowledgeable and supportive of our class. It’s one of the more northern locations where we ride and that makes it special.”
In order to have her bike fully prepared for the event, Stoffer’s crew chief and husband Gary has spent the last several days in Indianapolis, freshening up the team’s motors and checking over the bike from front to back.
“We’ll be ready to race,” Stoffer said.