The last few weeks of 2012 racing season are upon us. I will have to say that I am happy in some ways and sad in some ways. Happy that we are going to relax for a few weeks but sad because the racing season is over and I won’t be able to see my racing family for a couple of months.
Las Vegas is always a fun track to go to simply because IT’S VEGAS!! Lots of fun things to do but priority number one is always the race. Matt had a great race. Ever since Indy our team as made some huge strides in the horsepower department and it finally started showing on the racetrack. Reading was great and Las Vegas was one click better. For the first time this season Matt was in the finals against Eddie Kraweic. Michael Ray has been to two finals this year and winning one and we just needed to get Matt there as well. Matt was doing a great job tuning and riding and it paid huge. We made some pretty awesome runs all weekend with both bikes. Matt made up some ground in the points department as well. Jerry Savioe and the WAR team were also with us for the Vegas event. They are an awesome group of people and so kind to us. We just had some issues with the bike and we were disappointed we didn’t get all 4 qualifying runs down the track. Matt was pretty upset that we had issues with the bike. He wants everything to go smoothly every single pass. All in all, the Las Vegas event was a great event for the MSR team.
For the last 10 years I have always wanted to go skydiving. It seemed to be an adrenaline rush that I wanted to be a part of. I made a decision a couple of weeks ago after talking to several people that had done it that I was going to do it. I really wanted Matt to do it and he kept telling me heck no. You can go but I am not going. So I talked enough smack to him that he finally committed to go. Also my mother-in-law, Nancy, wanted to go so she was in 100 percent.
We had all of this scheduled for Monday after the Vegas event. We had to get up super early in order to get to the skydiving place and get registered and trained. I don’t think I slept much the night before either because I was nervous or excited. I was a little of both. So it was our turn. We got suited up and my nervous started to kick in a bit. We went up in the plane and our instructors hooked up to us. Nancy was first out, Matt was second out and I was third out and others behind me. The plane got up to 15,000 feet and it was time to go. I was pretty excited and there was no turning back. When you’re getting ready to go you are hanging out of the plane and your instructor is inside the plane. Crazy feeling. Then all of a sudden we were out.
He had told me to look up at the plane so you could see how fast you were going. It was amazing to say the least. Words can’t describe the adrenaline rush. Then we started to do some spins. We started spinning really fast. Then the chute was out and time to glide. It was so beautiful over the Hoover Dam and the Mountains. I don’t think we could have picked a better place to do it. My instructor was the best. He showed me how to drive the chute. Pretty amazing. I had so much fun that I want to do it again very soon. So I guess I can mark that off my bucket list.
Another thing that has occurred is our MSR team got nominated for the Hardworking Crew award of the year. As most of you know that follows us on Twitter and Facebook that we work really hard to have fast motorcycles on race weekends. I am thankful that we got nominated for this award and now we just want to WIN!!! So everyone please take a few minutes and go to www.nhra.com/hardworkingcrew and vote for the MSR/Michael Ray team for the end of the year honors. It’s greatly appreciated.
As we are closing in on the last race of the season it would be nothing more than spectacular for us to get another Wally for our team. Whether its Matt or Michael it would be simply amazing to end the year on such a high note. So guys let’s do this. Let’s win Pomona and have a great time at the banquet on Monday.
I know it’s been forever since I have written a blog for all of our fans. Matt and I have been on super overload just trying to figure things out with his and Michael’s bike. Day in and day out we have been pondering on what are issues were because our performance has not been stellar.
With all the rain at the U.S. Nationals and the delay of the race we were going to come home and enjoy a few days off. At least that’s what the plan was when we were pulling out of the track. It was bothering Matt so bad that we literally pulled over on the side of the road. He and I had a brief discussion about things and we turned around and went back to Lucas Oil raceway. The plan had changed. Neither one of us could go home knowing that the bikes were not running as well as they should be. So we called around and found a small trailer thanks to Lanny from John Force Racing. We loaded it up and headed up to Martin, Mich., for another test session. We were determined to figure this out. I will say it paid off because we came back to Indy with more of a handle on things. Our performance from Indy was not as great as it should have been but we knew going into the Countdown we were going to be alright.
Charlotte is really were the improvements started to shine. Michael Ray and Matt had motors that were almost identical and in racing that’s hard to find. Even though you do the same thing to both motors they still vary in horsepower and how it all works. With two win lights after first round it was definitely a sigh of relief for this team. Neither Matt or Michael got past second round but Michael’s race with Hector Jr. was so close. I think the margin of victory was .002. We were bummed we didn’t get the win light but with the improvement we were very excited.
Dallas was last weekend. We were only home for one day. There was a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time. Matt and I managed to get it all accomplished and get on the road to Dallas. We made great time getting there so we got to stop in the In-N-Out burger in Dallas. They have just recently started putting them in Dallas. I can say they are the best fast food hamburgers in the business, hands down. Then it was time to get to the track.
We knew this race was going to be somewhat crazy because Michael Ray and the Gottsackers had lots of close friends and employees coming up to hang out with us. I bet we had about 75 people in our pits at one time. It was such a blast. So glad everyone could come up. Sunday was a very special day. A day we will remember forever. With the entire year being about the Harleys and the Hectors it just seemed that it would probably be another race of that. Boy was I wrong and I am so glad I was. Matt red-lighted first round but Michael got the win light. With Michael running a 6.91 first round Matt and I knew he had a fast bike and it could win the race. Then the rounds started coming. Before we knew it the Harley’s and Hector’s were out and we were in. It was Michael and Karen in the final. It was an outstanding feeling just to be going up to the lanes at 4 p.m. on Sunday. We had struggled so much all year with both bikes and the light is finally shining at the end of the tunnel. We knew if Michael kept doing his job on the tree like he was doing each round it was going to be a great race between him and Karen. The bikes left with no red lights and on the other end we FINALLY got the win light we were looking for. Michael Ray had won his first WALLY and Matt had tuned him to it. We all went crazy. It has been such a struggle all year with finding the right combination and we finally got it. This MSR team has so much momentum right now. We can’t wait to be in St. Louis in a couple of days to continue this deal.
Just wanted to say thank you so much for all the support from the fans, our families, our friends, our sponsors and all the people behind this entire team. We finally did it. We are so blessed to have Michael Ray as a team mate on the MSR team and so thankful that he has his family and the entire Gottsacker family to be a part of this deal as well. A very special thank you to Mark and Marshall Stockseth and to the Viper Motorcycle Company for stepping up for this MSR team. Thanks for everything and see everyone in St. Louis.
Since our last blog I have had a birthday. It was June 14. Another year older but so far I am not feeling it. It was during the workweek so I was at the shop working trying to get some things done before the next event. Someone knocked on the door, which was out of the ordinary. Usually people just come in. So I went to the door and I had a delivery of flowers that were so beautiful. Matt played stupid asking me who they were from. Of course they were from him. On the card was something very sweet. It said be ready at 5:30 because we have a date tonight. The story behind that is we work together so we really don’t have “date night”. So that was very sweet of him. He got me several gifts that were very sweet and thoughtful.
Rickie raced Bristol on that weekend and boy did he dominate. He qualified No. 1 and was the quickest car of the session every session in qualifying. He also finished his weekend off in the winners’ circle, which was outstanding. That win probably meant more to him than any other win simple because he crashed last year at that very track and was hospitalized. He had to go through knee surgery and rehabilitation for months. I would say that he has conquered Bristol. Great job, Rickie.
Our racing program has been struggling the last couple of races, which is not a fun thing to deal with. Everyone loves to win rounds and win races and right now we are in our slump I guess you could say. If this means we are going to come out of it and be really good when the countdown comes around then I will take it. Since our last blog I have got to get back in the seat of my pro stock bike for a couple of races which absolutely makes me one of the happiest girls in the world. Racing means so much to me. I have managed to qualify at the last two events, which were Chicago and Norwalk. However Norwalk was a little crazy for me. We haven’t been running every session just to save money on parts.
I went up for the last qualifying pass in Norwalk. I was in the 14th spot. Before I ran the field was set. When I crossed the finish line going 188mph I didn’t have any brakes. Let me just say that is one of the worst feelings in the world. I had to come up with a two-second plan. I am so glad my brain processed this the way it did. I told myself I would ride it out as far as I could. I crossed the sand trap going over 100 mph through the field and I made a decision to bail before the cornfield. The reasoning in that is you never know if there is farm equipment, or anything else hidden in a huge field of corn that was tall. I am glad I made the decision that I did. Luckily I came out of this wreck uninjured to say the least. I was sore for a couple of days after the wreck and I am bruised up. My right pinkie was the finger that was injured but it wasn’t broke and with a little ice it is healing.
The bike suffered the most damage in the accident. I was really upset when I saw the bike. I really had intentions of working all night and being able to race on Sunday. We just couldn’t make that happen. The most important thing is that I am OK and we are fixing the bike. If all goes well it will be back out very soon. Sooner than most people think. The question I am getting is “Am I scared to get back on the bike?” The answer is heck no. I am ready. The accident didn’t scare me. Every time you get on the bike you have to be prepared for anything. Thank goodness the situation happened like it did. Thank you so much for all the calls to my team, emails, Facebook messages, twitter messages, and text messages from everyone. It truly means the world to me.
First I want to apologize for not writing sooner. It’s been two months and I should have written a blog a lot sooner. Things have been so busy from testing to dynoing to building motors. Some days I don’t know which way to turn. With the three-week break after Atlanta I begged for a weekend at the beach and got it. I was pretty happy about it.
Matt booked us a three-bedroom condo at North Beach Plantation and let me just say it’s amazing. The resort has only been open since 2009. It has eight pools, a swim-up bar, DJ by the pool for some music while sunning, a grill, and a nice restaurant. It’s everything you need without leaving the resort.
The weather is absolutely beautiful. Not too hot and not too cool in the evening. It’s about 85 degrees as I sit here on the balcony of the 19th floor overlooking the pools and ocean. I think this was a good little break for us because we have been going non-stop since the beginning of the year. Tyler and Stacy Wilson (Matt’s cousin) joined us for our trip to the beach. We are having such a blast with them.
Since the Atlanta event we had a test session with Michael and Matt. It was to make sure that Matt’s wiring problem was fixed from Atlanta and to test a couple of new things. After rewiring the entire bike it is fixed. We tested at Rockingham Dragway on Wednesday. We only needed to make ,1000-foot runs to accomplish what was needed for data. We made 12 runs in one day between both bikes. I think that’s why Michael Ray stated on Twitter that he wanted to go 1,000-foot racing. I don’t think my hubby’s brain ever stops of thinking of ways to go faster. I guess to keep up with everyone that’s a good thing.
I just wanted to say a couple of things since I haven’t written a blog since Atlanta. We are so proud of Michael Ray. He did such an awesome job in Atlanta for our team on making it to the finals. He kept us alive until the end. Unfortunately he didn’t win but I can assure you that his Wally is right around the corner. We are looking forward to the day we can get him in the winner’s circle and get Matt back to the winner’s circle for the 14th time in his career. We have the best team ever with the Gottsacker family and it’s going to be an awesome year.
With only being three races into the season both of our bikes are in the top 10. When Indy comes around then it’s time to unleash and focus on winning the Championship for the MSR team. One more note I want to say is we are trying really hard to get me back out racing. There are conversations about sponsorship going on. If all comes through I will be back out this year. I am hoping and praying this happens. I am trying to stay positive and get back out soon. Thanks for all the support and I can assure you I am ready to drop the clutch.
Until next time…I am going to continue to enjoy my vacation at Myrtle Beach. We are leaving tomorrow to get back to the grind on Monday because we all know that while we are at the beach, there are people working on horsepower. I can assure you that Matt is as well.