Photos courtesy NHRA

2016 NHRA season in review: Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Angelle Sampey

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MotorSportsTalk continues its season-ending reviews of the top drivers of the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

From Dec. 12 through Jan. 4, we’ll feature one daily in-depth review of a driver that finished in the top-five in each of the four professional classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle), as well as a compendium of select other drivers that did not finish in the top-five.

The list of drivers we’ve already posted is below. Today, we feature Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Angelle Sampey:



Driver: Angelle Sampey

Age: 46

Hometown: Matthews, Louisiana

Team: Star Racing

Sponsor/motorcycle: Star Racing Buell

Crew chief: George Bryce

2016 season finish: Fourth in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

2016 season statistics: 16 races, 1 win, 3 runner-up, 4 semifinals, 5 quarterfinals. No. 1 qualifier 4 times. Round-by-round record: 26 wins, 15 losses.

Career statistics: 211 races, 42 wins, 31 runner-up, 41 semifinals, 56 quarterfinals. No. 1 qualifier 49 times. Round-by-round record: 399 wins, 168 losses. 1 DNQ. Three-time PSM champion (2000, 2001 and 2002).

What went right in 2016: After two part-time seasons (2014 and 2015), Sampey returned to full-time racing for the first time since 2008 (she did not compete from 2009 through 2013). Earned her first NHRA PSM win since 2007 and the 42nd of her career. … Also qualified for her first Countdown to the Championship playoff since 2007 (first year of the Countdown) and 2008. … Good friend with 2016 PSM champ and fellow Louisiana native Jerry Savoie (Sampey used to babysit for Savoie’s children before beginning her racing career).

What went wrong in 2016: Given this was Sampey’s first full-time season since 2008, there’s very little to say that she did wrong. Sure, there was a bit of rust, judging from her three first-round exits (nearly one-fourth of the 16-race PSM season), but there were also signs of the Angelle of old, the same Angelle who won three straight PSM championships from 2000-2002: She reached the quarterfinals or better in 13 of the 16 races, plus she was No. 1 qualifier in one-fourth of the races (4 of 16). It’s hard to say much of anything really went wrong for her.

What to look for in 2017: To come back full-time with technology that was completely different in 2016 than from her last full-time season in 2008, and then to finish fourth in the championship race, Sampey could very easily be considered the most valuable rider in PSM this past season. Given that she still has outstanding talent and cat-like reflexes, Sampey is almost guaranteed to be right in the middle of the 2017 championship chase. And few people would be surprised if she does win title No. 4. She is, after all, the winningest female racer in drag racing history – and there’s likely a lot more wins and potential championships still in her.

Season reviews already posted:

— Antron Brown (12/12)

— Ron Capps (12/13)

— Jason Line (12/14)

Jerry Savoie (12/15)

Doug Kalitta (12/16)

Tommy Johnson Jr. (12/17)

Greg Anderson (12/18)

Eddie Krawiec (12/19)

Steve Torrence (12/20)

— Matt Hagan (12/21)

— Shane Gray (12/22)

— Andrew Hines (12/23)

— J.R. Todd (12/24)

— John Force (12/25)

— Bo Butner (12/26)

— Angelle Sampey (12/27)

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Pippa Mann returns to Dale Coyne Racing for seventh Indianapolis 500 bid

Photo courtesy Dale Coyne Racing
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Pippa Mann announced Tuesday that she plans to drive in her seventh Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

The native of Ipswich, England will once again return to race for Dale Coyne Racing, with new sponsorship by Donate Life Indiana.

She had previously been sponsored the last four years in the 500 by the Susan G. Komen organization. She’ll continue to carry logos of that organization on the front wing of her car in the 500, Mann said.

Mann, 34, has raced six times in the 500, with a best finish being 17th in last year’s race.

Mann will fill out the four-car Dale Coyne Racing field for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. She’ll be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda in a partnership with Vasser-Sullivan), Pietro Fittipaldi (No. 19 The Paysafe Car Honda) and Conor Daly (No. 17 U.S. Air Force Honda in a partnership with Thom Burns Racing).

Mann will make her first practice laps for this year’s 500 on Tuesday, May 15. Qualifying is May 19-20.

Mann’s No. 63 Honda will have a significantly different look than in the last few years. Instead of pink, her car will feature a silvery blue and light green paint scheme wrapped around a Donate Life Indiana logo.

“I am honored to have been asked to drive the Donate Life car this May and to partner with Donate Life Indiana as an ambassador to raise awareness on our mission to help reach even more Hoosiers through our education efforts,” Mann said in a media release. “This is obviously a campaign with a pretty deep personal meaning for me, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to join the racers carrying this cause forward.

“I also want to thank Dale and Gail Coyne for once again giving me this opportunity to pilot one of their entries this May. This will be my sixth year with Dale Coyne Racing and I’m truly grateful that they allow me to do this every year.”

Mann will also serve as a spokesperson for the organization and to raise awareness for youth education initiatives in Indiana, most notably organ, tissue and eye donor registration.

In addition to her driving duties in the 102nd running of the 500, Mann will also visit schools across the Hoosier State to speak about the importance of organ donation and transplantation.

“Our education team is committed to partnering with Pippa and students and teachers across the state to bring the message of organ donation and transplantation to as many students as possible,” said Steve Johnson, board chairman for Donate Life Indiana.

Follow @JerryBonkowski