Angelle Sampey hopes to stay perfect at Bristol
Angelle Sampey will still be the first rider in Pro Stock Motorcycle history to win the NHRA Thunder Valley National Championships at Bristol Dragway, something she accomplished last fall in the category’s first-ever appearance at Thunder Valley.
The three-time world champion would also like to continue to be the only Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor to win in Bristol, which she will try to achieve on her Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals over the weekend. In a thrilling final a year ago, Sampey beat Karen Stoffer in an all-women’s final on a memorable hole.
That kept Sampey in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series championship mix a year ago and she’s after her first win of the 2022 season before Father’s Day weekend.
“The facility is phenomenal and I loved being there,” Sampey said. “It’s so beautiful and the fans are fantastic. You really have to be focused when you race there, but I’m really looking forward to being there this year and defending my title and crossing my fingers that we can do it again.
Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car) and Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all took victories last year at Bristol, while this year’s race will be shown on the FOX broadcast network and Fox Sports 1 (FS1). The Father’s Day weekend race is Pro Stock Motorcycle’s fifth race of the 2022 season and Sampey hopes the return to Bristol will put his year on track.
Sampey, who has 45 career wins, has shown glimpses this season, picking up a No. 1 qualifier in Charlotte and two No. 2 qualifiers. But things didn’t quite click on race day, as Sampey was not out of the second round. She placed the brunt of the blame on herself, but there’s no arguing about her career record.
Sampey knows a win is ahead if the bike continues to perform as it has, although in Bristol she will also face the likes of points leader Steve Johnson, who has two wins this year, the reigning world champion Matt Smith, Stoffer, who won in Gainesville, Angie Smith, Eddie Krawiec, Joey Gladstone and Jimmy Underdahl.
“It’s definitely a confidence boost for a race you’ve already won,” Sampey said. “I haven’t been as good this year so far, so I have to distract myself from racing and just focus on getting the bike forward on the track. That’s exactly what needs to happen. My bike is super fast and super strong, and where I need it to win. People are looking for how to run these four-valve Suzuki bikes, and I just need to put my head in the right place.
In Pro Stock, Erica Enders is off to the best start of her remarkable career, as the four-time world champion took four wins in the first six events of the class in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. That includes three straight wins – something she’s only done once other time in her career – the last of which came a few weeks ago at Epping.
To get four straight wins for the first time in her Pro Stock career, Enders will need to report to Bristol, which would be fitting since she considers him one of her favorite tracks on the NHRA Tour. But it certainly won’t be easy, as Enders has had to be perfect this year against a talented field that includes the likes of teammate Aaron Stanfield, Gainesville winner Dallas Glenn, reigning world champion Greg Anderson, who is one 100-year career victory. wins, Kyle Koretsky and rookie Camrie Caruso.
“We’ve definitely started this 2022 season on the right foot,” Enders said. “If you ask me for an interview, Bristol is always at the top of my list of favorite tracks, and we’ve had great success there. It’s near and dear to my heart, and it’s a beautiful facility. That can definitely be tough at times, but we’re definitely up for it. The level of competition in Pro Stock is definitely huge right now. It makes me hungry and makes me want to win more races. We’re really excited to return to Bristol and hope for another successful weekend.
Salinas will be looking for his third straight win at Bristol Dragway and the Top Fuel standout will head to Thunder Valley with plenty of momentum, taking his third win of 2022 at the final race at Epping. He is chasing points leader Brittany Force, who also has three wins this year, reigning four-time world champion Steve Torrence, Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown, Justin Ashley and Leah Pruett.
In Funny Car, DeJoria will be looking for another win to earn his first win of the season, but it won’t be easy in a packed field. Matt Hagan led the way in 2022 with three wins and he currently leads in points, but others to watch include Robert Hight, who also has three wins, reigning world champion Ron Capps, the world champion at 16 covers John Force, JR Todd, Bob Tasca III and Cruz Pedregon.
The event will also feature exciting competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which includes some of the sport’s best drivers, as well as the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown category. After the nitro qualifiers on Friday, fans will also be treated to a spectacular fireworks display. On Saturday, a special autograph session featuring NHRA stars will take place at 6 p.m. ET at the Guest Welcome Village, while fans can also attend Nitro School on Saturday ahead of the second qualifying round to learn more. on the running of the cars and reach their thrilling speeds.
Bristol Dragway will host the special pre-race ceremonies which will introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and will include the SealMaster Track Walk at 11am. The final must-do experience of any NHRA event is the Winner’s Circle. celebration on the Sunday after the race is over, where fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the NHRA Thunder Valley National Championships event.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pass to the most powerful and sensory motorsport attraction on the planet in Bristol. This unique opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see the teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA riders and more. Fans can also visit the NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where race sponsors and vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive exhibits, mock competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the whole family. family. The new Pep Boys Mid-Run Display will include tire change challenges, oil change challenges, a slot car track and more, adding even more excitement to the mid-run.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will include one round at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, June 17 and the final two qualifying rounds on Saturday, June 18 at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. ET Sunday, June 19. TV coverage includes qualifiers live on FS1 at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, 11 p.m. Saturday, then eliminations live at 3 p.m. ET on FOX on Sunday.
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)