NHRA: Angelle Sampey on the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Ready for U.S. Nationals
Angelle Sampey Embracing Challenges
at Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals aboard Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season has been a challenging one for three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Angelle Sampey, but all of that could be wiped away with an impressive showing on drag racing’s biggest stage.
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season has been a challenging one for three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Angelle Sampey, but all of that could be wiped away with an impressive showing on drag racing’s biggest stage, this weekend’s 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Sampey joined the Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team this year and it’s been a learning process to say the least. But Sampey continues to fight and currently sits ninth in points heading to the Big Go. With a spot in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship on the line, Sampey hopes to turn the corner in Indy, where she has two event victories.
“I can’t lie and say I’m not thinking about how close the points are. It’s very close and I know I can’t get bumped,” said Sampey, who has 42 career wins. “Hopefully I can get qualified well and I can go into raceday feeling good. It’s really important to me, personally, that I’m in the top 10. The situation I have going on, and getting the chance to ride this motorcycle, I would feel like I failed if I didn’t get into the top 10 because I feel like I’ve got a great motorcycle.”
Sampey is just 22 points – or less than one round at Indy – out of sixth, meaning there could be a whole lot of shuffling in the group of Angie Smith, Ryan Oehler and Hector Arana. Jerry Savoie is only 18 points back of Sampey and is currently 10th, 32 points ahead of Scotty Pollacheck. Joey Gladstone also has a shot to make the playoffs with a strong showing in Indy, but Pollacheck said he can only focus on what he’s doing this weekend.
“It’s obviously an uphill battle trying to get in when you’re not in the top 10,” Pollacheck said. “There’s some really good riders in front of us, but that’s the situation we’re in and we’re going to do the best we can to qualify well and try to go some rounds. The best thing you can do is make the very best lap you can on Friday.”
Pollacheck struggled at the outset of the year on his Quality Tire/Matt Smith Racing EBR, but has shown signs of improvement the last three races, advancing to the semifinals in Norwalk. That puts him in a solid position to make a move at Indy, as the bike is performing at its best at a key time.
“We’ve definitely made a lot of progress,” Pollacheck said. “We started out slow and definitely struggled a bit, but we’re making headway the last 4-5 races. It’s to a point where we’re as good as we’ve been all year, and hopefully we can continue that trend in Indy. We’re headed in the right direction and we’re feeling good about it.”
Sampey will try to steal some of the spotlight from teammates Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec. Hines has been incredibly dominant this year, winning seven of the first nine races en route to a commanding points lead, while Krawiec is second in points. Sampey will also have to contend with the likes of defending world champ Matt Smith and Hector Arana Jr., but she’s relishing the opportunity to again compete on drag racing’s biggest stage.
“I just have to focus on some things,” Sampey said. “I haven’t gotten to where I want to be yet. I still have lots of room to improve and I’m comparing myself to Andrew, and he’s flawless. I’ve got some work to do, but I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. I’m so happy we have five qualifying runs – who wouldn’t want an extra run down the track? I’m looking forward to enjoying it all.”
Racing in the Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series will also take place in Indy, as well as the popular SAMTech.edu NHRA Factory Stock Showdown category, which will include a special 32-car field at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
The first of five Mello Yello Series qualifying sessions is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30. Two more sessions will take to the track on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., and the final two qualifying sessions will take place on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 2.
FOX national broadcast and FS1 will televise coverage of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, starting with qualifying on Sunday, Sept. 1 on FS1 at 2 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST. The broadcasts continue on FS1 with two hours of live coverage of eliminations on Monday, Sept. 2 starting at 11 a.m. EST, continuing live on FOX at 1 p.m. EST.
Tickets for the world’s most prestigious drag race can be purchased by calling the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com