The NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle class has been dominated recently by Harley Davidson. Buells were able to battle them at times, but they, along with the Suzukis were not able to consistently contend for wins and the championship. So NHRA changed the class formula and it appears that the slowest of the bikes, Suzuki, is now able to compete. However, Suzuki’s best team and rider aren’t participating in 2013.
Karen Stoffer has been a mainstay in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class for some time and although she wasn’t able to win any championships, she did win six meets and was always one of strongest Suzuki teams. The last few years saw the Suzukis struggle to keep up with the Harleys and even the Buells but always there was one team and rider proficient enough to qualify and earn playoff appearances every year, and that was Stoffer.
However, last year, Stoffer’s sponsor announced they would be leaving at the end of 2012. GEICO had been with Karen for several years as her main sponsor and was happy with the branding partnership; but all good things usually come to an end.
Her team is parked right now even though it arguably is the best Suzuki team and with the new rules, would likely be capable of winning races on a regular basis and contending for the championship. Yet, it’s not to be as Stouffer announced last month on Facebook that she wouldn’t be at the Gatornationals.
In a league of her own
The 48 year old Stoffer is the third winningest woman racer in the NHRA behind Angelle Sampey and Shirley Muldowney. She has set world records and went six seasons without a DNQ (did not qualify). She also went nine straight years finishing in the Top 10 in points. Stoffer finished fifth in the 2012 point standings.
It’s been rumored she won’t be riding anymore and there have been sightings of her bike being sold (source: Dragbike). That may or may not signify anything but certainly raises suspicion that Stoffer’s days in drag racing may be numbered. For the betterment of the sport, let’s hope not.
Stoffer was a dedicated and professional drag racer who still has a great fan base and represents the sport with poise and staunch support. Whether she returns to racing or not, she will always be considered one of the greats.
Additional source: NHRA