Sampey Takes A Ride With Harley-Davidson

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 5 2019
Angelle Sampey has moved over to the Screamin’ Eagles. (File photo by Marc Gewertz/NHRA)

By John Sturbin/Senior Writer

Three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Angelle Sampey officially has taken a seat in HOG Heaven.

Sampey will join the factory-backed Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines team for the opening four rounds of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series as a “showcase rider,” competing alongside multiple-world champs Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec. The deal was announced Friday on NHRA.com under a headline the website described as a “shocker.”

The winner of 42 races, Sampey is the most successful female competitor in motorsports and has emerged as one of the Harley-Davidson camp’s fiercest rivals over the years on a variety of bike brands.

Beginning with the traditional PSM season-opener at the 50th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway in March, Sampey will be featured as a showcase third rider aboard a Harley-Davidson Street Rod. The current plan is for Angelle to also compete at both Four-Wide events at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., as well as the Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.

“It’s surreal to be getting ready to race one of these Harleys after lining up against them for so many years,” Sampey said in a statement. “I’m so motivated to get out there and see what I can do on the same bike as Eddie and Drew.”

Andrew Hines is a five-time Pro Stock Bike world champion, while Krawiec has earned four titles. Krawiec finished second to reigning champion Matt Smith and his Elite Motorsports EBR at the conclusion of the six-race 2018 Countdown to the Championship playoffs, while Hines placed sixth.

As originally reported by National Dragster, Sampey announced last month that she would not be returning to Team Liberty and her Buell in 2019. That decision was set into motion by the addition of Joey Gladstone to the team at the end of the 2018 season. Sampey finished seventh in the final 2018 Countdown point standings topped by Smith, who joined Angelle as a three-time world champion.

A 48-year-old resident of Luling, La., Sampey ranked ninth in elapsed time for the quarter-mile last season at 6.920-seconds in 87 runs, with the class average at 6.885-seconds. She was 10th in average speed at 193.23 mph, with the class mark at 194.23 mph. Sampey was not ranked among the top-10 in average reaction time.

Sampey made her professional debut at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., in 1996 and collected three consecutive championships from 2000-2002. During that time, she established a rivalry with the Vance & Hines organization, including then-rider Matt Hines, who also captured three championships during his career.  Andrew’s older brother, Matt Hines now serves as a crew chief for the Vance & Hines riders.

“I’m truly thrilled for Angelle to have this opportunity to run with us on the Harley-Davidson Street Rod,” said Terry Vance, founder of Vance & Hines. “No question, Angelle has been one of the toughest riders we’ve battled with for so many seasons out on the track. I have so much respect for her and what she has accomplished in this class, and I’m really looking forward to seeing her give the boys a run for their money on the Harley.”

Sampey began her championship march by finishing only eight points behind Matt Hines for the 1999 PSM title, posting a 5-2 record in final-round appearances.

With her first title in 2000, Sampey joined three-time Top Fuel world champion and drag racing trailblazer Shirley Muldowney as the only females to win an NHRA crown. In 2001, Sampey became the winningest female in NHRA history by surpassing Muldowney’s 18 victories. Sampey also became the fourth rider in Pro Stock Bike history to claim multiple championships.

In 2002, Sampey joined Matt Hines as only the second rider to win three consecutive PSM titles and tied Muldowney for most NHRA series championships by a female competitor.

Sampey left the sport for nearly a decade after the 2008 season in order to start a family but returned in 2014 for four races during the Countdown, beginning with an appearance at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis. She ran eight events in 2015 and returned fulltime in 2016. Her most recent win was scored during the 2016 national event at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.

With the addition of Sampey, the Vance & Hines team now boasts three of most successful riders in the history of the class with Andrew Hines, Krawiec and Sampey combining for 12 NHRA championships and 137 national event titles.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 5 2019
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