I really don’t even know how to even start this blog. An overwhelming amount of emotions would be a start. I can’t believe it. So I will start this by telling you about the ride up to Epping, N.H.
Bobby and I had everything loaded up on Monday. Riding up the road we always check to see if all of the bikes are riding great. We have a camera installed so we can see the bikes on the top floor. We turned it on and I almost had a heart attack. My bike was swaying so bad like it wasn’t even tied down. We stopped and checked it and something happened in the front end. The front forks were completely compressed down and they would not rebound. I was a basket case. So we made some phone calls to Trac Dynamics and got all the necessary pieces to fix it. Thank you Trac for getting us parts in a hurry.
We had to make a pit stop at Vanson Leathers to visit everyone. Vanson makes the best drag racing suits in the business so we thought we would stop by and say thank you personally. We arrived in Massachusetts around 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Matt Silva gave us the grand tour of the facility. Man, what an awesome place. It’s an old mill. It was very intriguing to see how each part of our suit is made and all the inspections it had to go through before I put it on to go racing. Then we had lunch at a Portuguese restaurant. We all had steak and it was my first and now I am a fan of it. All of the employees at Vanson got to check out the bikes and the trailer before leaving to travel to New Hampshire.
We got to Epping on Wednesday night and got everything set up. On Thursday it was business as usual with getting bikes teched in. We had dinner at the favorite restaurant from last year ,Petey’s Seafood. Friday it was qualifying time. I made two pretty decent runs for Friday and I was just looking to improve on Saturday. On Saturday we did just that. We improved to a 6.87 and 6.89. As a driver you want to be No. 1 but I was actually pleased with making four great runs down the track.
Sunday is always a different day no matter what. Anything can happen. We always say you have to be a little lucky in this game. In first round I had a bye run because Jim Underdahl was unable to make first round. That’s a bummer for them because Jim and Greg are really awesome people in my book and I know they love racing just as much as I do and wanted to be there first round. I made a run but not a great one. My throttle position sensor went out on that run. I only went a 7.06. Wasn’t a good run but at least we got the chance to go back and fix it for second round.
I had to race one of those fast Harleys second round. With Eddie Krawiec being the No. 1 qualifier you got to throw everything at it and hope it sticks. Eddie has beaten me too many times to count. I knew I had to cut the Tree down. I had a .003 against Eddie. It was crazy because on the run I didn’t hear him or see him. In the shutdown area I knew I had won and I was going crazy. That was a tough round. I asked who I had next and they told me Andrew Hines. I said, “Dang that’s no easier than racing Eddie.” He is a tough competitor as well. I went to the starting line with the same mentality and did about the same thing. I got the win light. I was ecstatic because it was my very first final in seven years. When Matt won it iced the cake. It was an all-MSR final. A win/win situation for our team.
Of course the trash talking began in the pits from all the guys to Matt. I was a little worried about my lights being so close so I made a mental note to squeeze the lever a little harder. Well not that hard though. I had a TERRIBLE light and was already mad about third gear. Then I went flying by Matt before I could even know what was going on and I was a hot mess. I was overwhelmed with emotions. Tears were coming down my face and I was screaming at the same time. I made the turn and they started taking pics. I was absolutely on Cloud 9. I held it together through my interview until I got to the part of how long and how hard it was to get Wally.
Man what a day. I couldn’t be happier for this ENTIRE team. It’s a team effort. I couldn’t do it without my husband Matt that has always pushed me and after lots of not so fun conversations has made me a much better rider and I owe all of this to you. Bobby Webb, Keith Nichols, Ferris Webb, Michael Middleton, Colbert Seagraves are the ones that helped my through this journey from getting my motors ready to seeing that I am safe going down the track and all the other jazz in between. You guys are the best and I wouldn’t change a thing about any of it. Everyone came down to congratulate me and then I got to have a few minutes alone with Wally and the emotions were incredible.
I have waited for this day a long time and there were MANY days that I never thought it would come. Many days I contemplated on giving up but it is the awesome people that I call my family, friends, and fans that kept me pushing forward. I didn’t quit and my dreams come true. Always believe and you will achieve.
Now I really wouldn’t be writing this blog without the folks at Kandy Magazine. They saw something in me that just clicked. Now four races later we won together. Even though they were not in attendance I knew they were watching. I am so fortunate to have them as my sponsor. They do so much for me and winning a Wally for them is just a small token of how much I appreciate them. So for all the fans out there who love this MSR team please download the Kandy app on your phone or iPad. Check it out. It’s a top-notch magazine that I know you will love. Do it for this team, Kandy, and me, please. Bill and Ron thank you for taking a chance and believing me when I said I am going to try my hardest. WE DID IT AS A TEAM!! Winner, baby!!
We are a couple of races into the season and Scotty and John are doing well. Matt has had a few issues with his program but after testing in Richmond on Friday he has it all figured out. The last couple of weeks have been crazy and busy. When we got home from Charlotte we had three out of four motors were not up to par. They had a little something wrong with them. We got them all fixed up for Atlanta. We strolled down to Atlanta on Wednesday night. On Thursday Matt and I enjoyed the evening at the World of Coke with all the past NHRA Champions. What a great night they had for us. We had an awesome hotel room at the W, which is one of my favorite hotels. All of the girls got to end the night with a shopping spree from Coke. I always get to stock up on all my cute little t-shirts and glasses for the house.
The Atlanta race was a blast for me. All of the Kandy girls were in attendance along with their supervisors. I also got to sport my brand new pink and chrome Vanson leathers racing suit. Man is it bad to the bone. I am in love with it honestly. Vanson Leathers always makes the best. We added an associate sponsor to our Kandy bike for the Atlanta and Englishtown race. You really need to check it out. It’s the Barkaid foundation. Barkaid raises money for pet adoption agencies and shelters. As all of you know I love dogs so much. Many of you will see me at the racetrack running around with my racing suit on and walking our two dogs. They travel everywhere with us and I love them so much. My dog Sam always makes me feel better if I have had a bad run down the racetrack. He can usually sense when something is wrong with me. Animals are so awesome and I am very fortunate to be teaming up with BarkAid folks.
Finally my win light came on in my lane. I knew on Sunday in Atlanta I had a pretty tough opponent. Actually all of the bikes that are showing up on raceday Sunday or Monday for Atlanta are tough. You better bring your “A” game. I had to unpack mine for first round. Not only did I need to make an awesome pass but I had to chop the tree down. I did both. I wasn’t in my favorite lane of the weekend but I made the best of it and got the win light. Matt was pretty happy I won also. Second round was fun. It was me and Johnny Hall as I call him. I really like to talk junk to him about racing and Bobby told him to get out of the trailer and stay away from me. John just likes to race and no talking smack. So when we went up to race Bobby looked over to see if I was ready to start and I gave him a big ole wink. I knew he wanted to laugh but I got absolutely no expression from him. Then when John staged I held him out a bit. That’s what great teammates do. I tried to throw him off a little but he was flying all weekend and I didn’t have anything for him. He went on to the semi’s and did great. It was a lot of fun racing John.
We loaded up and headed home and had lots of motors to rebuild for Englishtown. We have been working at the shop non-stop since we got home. We had to get my Kandy Buell tuned up for Englishtown. I love racing in Englishtown. I actually raced Outlaw Pro Street there. Very fun and fast track and I know it will be fast this weekend. With temperatures in the 70’s all you fans may see history for the record books.
Matt will be sporting his flashy beautiful NitroFish bodywork for the Englishtown event and I will be sporting my sweet looking blue and pink Kandy Buell with BarkAid. Come by and see us in Englishtown. We are going to try and take all 4 of these bikes to Sunday and through eliminations. I hope one of us is standing in the winner’s circle around 4p.m. on Sunday with a Wally in our hands. I WANT IT TO BE ME!!
How are all you crazy fans doing? I know this MSR team is doing great. We are two races into the season and Scotty has been to two finals this year. John also went to the finals at the Charlotte 4 wide event. We have been really pleased with the way everyone has been riding this year. I think we are all really getting in our groove and it’s going to be an exciting year to say the least.
As all of you know by now I signed a deal with Kandy Magazine to race the Charlotte 4 wide event. I was really ecstatic to bring those guys to the track with me and it being my home track was just a bonus. We had a great outing. I tested the week before the event and all the passes I made were in the 6 second range. So I felt pretty good coming into the event. After the second pass on Friday I was pleased with how I ran. I was qualified 9th with a 6.87 and Matt was 5th with a 6.87. So Pro Stock Motorcycle is ending up having some tight fields on race day, which makes it exciting for us as drivers and definitely for the fans. The drivers and crew chiefs definitely have to do their job to get some win lights.
Over the break we had from Gainesville to Charlotte I decided to take a last minute trip with my nieces and nephew. They had a vacation planned for Disney and they wanted their aunt to go with them. I hopped on a plane Friday morning and headed to Orlando. I spent the next two days having a blast with them and riding all kinds of crazy thrilling rides and of course enjoying a little warm sunshine. My favorite ride turned out to be the AeroSmith roller coaster. They blasted some AeroSmith while taking you through loops and turns and upside down craziness. I am such an adrenaline junky so it was very fitting for me. I had to end my trip on Sunday while they stayed the rest of the week. We had a blast and I am so glad that I got to join them on vacation and spend just a little quality time with my babies.
Lately on my days away from the racetrack I have been spending a lot of time working at the Dermatology office. Nothing like a part-time job with a bunch of girls you have been friends with for over 10 years. Some of you that follow me on Instagram think we don’t do a lot at work but we really do. We see a large number of patients and do surgeries all while some days we get to act a little crazy. Only for a few minutes, though. As the doctor says as long as his girls get the work done then its ok with him.
All in all the last 4 weeks have been a blast for me. We put the Kandy Magazine deal together with one of my great buddies Bill Nychay. Kandy Magazine had a beautiful representation at the track this past weekend. I got to hang out with 3 beautiful girls and I am sure all my crew guys and all the guys at the track didn’t mind either. The opportunity that Kandy Magazine gave me was amazing and I couldn’t thank all those guys enough for this. Dave, Ron, Steve, Jason, Bill, Claudia, Laurie, and Eischen, thank you so much. I hope we can do again really soon.
To all my fans, go check out Kandy Magazine. Support the people that support me and this team. Until next time… Keep your dreams real and focus on them. You never know when they are going to come true.
Now we have another 4 week break and I really don’t know what I am going to do with all this time. I am sure there will be plenty of housework and yard work to do the next 4 weeks. I will keep everyone up to date by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I am trying really hard to put some things together for the next couple of races because as you all know I love going fast and playing on Sunday!
Photobomb by Ange
John and Bobby
John and Scotty
OK here is my excuse for not writing a blog sooner. Working 18 hours daily to get bikes done for Gainesville is the excuse. Sorry folks and I am going to make a conscious effort to do a better job. I am going to set alerts on my iPhone if I have to. So the question is what have we had to do for 18 hours a day. I guess the real question is what haven’t we had to do. With Matt decided late in January that he wanted to retire his Championship bike as is that left us one bike short. He made a call to Michael Furick at Good Fabs to get another chassis on order. With “Dogg” as we call him having a day job he had to spend all of his free time meaning weekends and weeknights working on Matt’s bike. After three weeks of working extremely hard Dogg finally finished it on March 3. Dogg’s work was complete but our work was just beginning.
The bike arrived early that morning and the first order of business was getting a motor in the chassis. All of these bikes are built the same so with a little finesse here and there the motor goes right in. A new wiring harness was installed and a new Racepak as well. Now all of this seems so simple and after Matt has done the amount that he has it is but just time consuming. So by Friday we were ready to fire the new bike up. We had a few minor glitches but nothing we didn’t work out. We put testing motors in all of the bikes and headed down to Bradenton for a few days of warm weather and testing of course. Matt elected to go to Bradenton because the majority of Pro Stock cars were testing and they give us a pretty good reference with their elapsed times.
When we pulled out of N.C., it was 28 degrees with snow on the ground. When we approached the Florida line the temperature gauge said 72. I was a happy girl. We got to Bradenton on Sunday afternoon. We got things set up for testing. Monday and Tuesday were long but useful testing days. With Matt and John testing we made a total of 17 passes down the track and we tested 5 motors. Needless to say we worked our butts off. It paid off. While we were getting phone calls of all the fast times being laid down in Valdosta we needed to lay some down also. John finished his test session with several mid 6.80 passes. Matt had several great laps also but the final pass he went 6.82 at 195 and then he made the decision we were done testing. We had accomplished what he wanted in testing which was basically getting tune-ups on motors. We packed all of our stuff up and headed to Gainesville.
After a lengthy Thursday we got all of the bikes through technical inspection and body template. We were ready to make some noise on the track and compare our testing numbers. When the scoreboard said 6.80 after first round Matt was pretty stoked with being No. 1. On the second run Matt’s motor broke a rocker arm. Luckily he heard the bike go to one cylinder before he staged the bike and shut it off. It was a minor fix and we were ready for 2 more rounds of qualifying within an hour of getting back to the pits. After all the dust had settled Michael Ray snagged the No. 1 spot from Matt. Great job to him. I think it was the green shirt that he had to sport on Friday that gave him that little bit of luck before St. Patrick’s Day. Matt, John, and Scotty all qualified in the top half of the field. That says a lot for this MSR team.
On Sunday everyone on this team had fast motorcycles. Johnny Hall was low e.t. 1st round of eliminations then Matt second round. It was that much dreaded red light that sent Matt home early. It was a great possibility that we were going to have 3 bikes in the semifinals until that happened. But that’s why they call it racing. John and Scotty had to race each other in the semi’s. What a drag race that was. The e.t.s were separated by two-hundredths and it was basically decided on the starting line. Scotty moved on to the final. It was Scotty’s second final with MSR. We were hoping he could pull it off. Well I will say he absolutely did his job and the bike didn’t shift. He hit the button at the right time and as I say the planets just lined up right and it didn’t shift. I felt so bad for him but the first thing I said to him was he did a great job and he was leaving Gainesville 2nd in points. That is definitely NOTHING to complain about there. All of the bikes left Gainesville in the top 7 in points. Not too shabby for losing a sponsor three weeks before Gainesville. We are still looking for marketing partners to jump on with us. We have a lot to offer and a Championship to defend.