Life at MSR has been crazy the last four weeks. From Matt and I finalizing our deal that we will be racing this year, to doing motor work for more horsepower, to getting things ready for a teammate, it’s been crazy. Oh, and I forgot to say, we are going snowboarding with the Wilsons and the Speeds for a couple of days as well.
Matt and I are very pleased that both of us will be racing the 2013 NHRA season. Last year was a great year but a hard year for me. My dream and love is to be on a Pro Stock Motorcycle letting the clutch go at every national event. Last year the funding wasn’t in place for me to do that. This year it is and I am so excited to get back on the bike. I am sure I’m a little rusty but as soon as we go testing in a few weeks it will all come back to me. The hardest thing was being at every event last year and not being able to race but all in all it turned out with a positive outcome. We have not directly announced who our sponsor will be yet but it will be coming in a couple of weeks. We are eager to get to Gainesville and start this Mello-Yello season up right.
We have been steady working at the shop trying to get all of our motors done with updates. As of now I think we have six motors complete with updates from Matt’s motor at the end of the year. We have also starting a few more things in the research department that will be very promising as well. We have 3 motors to finish before testing. Our team plans to test the second week in February in sunny south Florida for 3-4 days.
At the beginning of the month Michael Ray decided to explore other options with another team. We wish Michael Ray the best at Star Racing. So now we have a bike that is available for the year. Well we all know that Matt Smith is known for qualifying three bikes at many events. Matt has received numerous phone calls regarding being on our team. Matt has talked to one rider in particular and they are in the process of reviewing things. When things are finalized then we will be releasing that information to all of our fans.
As some of you may know I have a love for snowboarding. It’s one of those things that I can do just to relieve stress and it’s my personal get away. Last year with the temperatures being warmer than usual we didn’t get enough time to go. This year is a different story. We are leaving out in the morning heading for Wintergreen Resort. I am so excited. I put my headphones on, crank the music up and hit the slopes. After we arrive home I will be in race mode so watch out!!!
Just wanted to say thank you to all the fans, friends, and family who have been supportive to our team. We are so ready to start this 2013 season. I hope to see many more Wallys in our house this year.
We have closed this year and from a performance standpoint I think we made huge strides in the Countdown. I was pretty pleased with our performance. Pomona is always a fun but sad race. It’s fun because we get all dressed up for the banquet and get to hang out with all of our friends. It’s sad because the year has come to an end and we will not be with our racing family for several months. It’s our time though to go home and find horsepower so our team can be more competitive the next season.
After arriving home from our 41-hour journey across the country we started working again at the shop. Matt was determined to find out what happened to his bike in Pomona. We investigated the problem and the conclusion was just a parts failure. As I always say the planets lined up just right for it to happen. We worked for a couple of days at the shop and then the following week we had to attend the PRI show with IDG.
At the PRI show we met with some new companies that could possibly help us with our race team as far as parts and new technology. We are eager to test these new parts in a test session hopefully in January. Matt and I also had a little fun with WFO radio. It’s not often that we get to do interviews together. They usually get interesting and it did. It was quite fun because if he says anything I don’t like I can always just grab his leg to try and make him start laughing. It’s all in good fun.
The PRI show is a Thurs, Fri, and Saturday show. So Matt and I were getting ready for bed on Friday evening. I was tired simply because I was getting over a cold I had earlier in the week. He told me he has a surprise for me. I really didn’t have any idea what it was. I am the person that finds out all the surprises only because I take care of all the bills. If there is a charge for something then I start asking questions quick. Then I do some investigating. Well I will say he totally surprised me with a trip to the Caribbean. I wanted to get away for a few days. It had been a long year with lots of hours at the shop. So my next question was when are we leaving. He said Monday. I said oh my goodness. I didn’t bring clothes, shoes and anything else I need for a cruise. He said you have enough clothes to survive and he was right.
We departed on Monday on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. Our scheduled stops were Haiti and Jamaica. Haiti was absolutely beautiful. We got off the boat and enjoy some time relaxing in the sun and doing a little bit of shopping from the local folks. They always have the most unique things at the markets. We made a purchase as we always do when we travel to different countries. Then it was back to the boat. There was an unexpected emergency with one of the passengers on the boat so we didn’t make it to Jamaica. She had to be airlifted from the boat. I hope she is doing well. We stayed at sea for two days so Matt and I decided to learn to surf on the FlowRider. Man was that fun. After the second day on the FlowRider Matt was pretty good. I wasn’t too shabby either. It was a great vacation away after our very busy race season. Thanks to my awesome husband for surprising me. He pulled that one off without me finding out. Good job Matt!
So our 2013 season has officially started. Even though we still have one month left in 2012 we are working hard at the shop to find more horsepower to run upfront next season. I can assure you all the other teams are doing the same thing as well. It’s been a great season for MSR. We can’t thank the Gottsacker and Ray families enough for the support they have given this team all year. We had a great time this season and hopefully next season will only be better.
Just wanted to say thank you to everyone that supported our team all year. Viper Motorcycle Company, Colbert Seagraves, Mark and Marshall Stockseth, RedLine Oil, PJ1, Wilson Concrete, WorldWide Bearings, CP Pistons, Brad Tuttle, FireCore Sparkplug Wires, ARP, IDG and Affliction have helped us have another successful year of racing. We couldn’t have raced this year without all of you. 2013 is right around the corner. I will be catching you up on what’s going on in our neck of the woods very soon.
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.