SAMPEY TALKS ABOUT HER PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE FUTURE
The 2017 NHRA season was a hectic one for the newly-formed Pro Stock Motorcycle team – Team Liberty Racing with riders Cory Reed and Angelle Sampey, a three-time NHRA world champ (2000-2002).
This season, Team Liberty has shown improvement after bringing Larry Morgan and his son, Nick onboard.
Sampey made the U.S. Nationals – in Q5 no less – and then proceeded to lose in the first round to Andrew Hines. Reed, meanwhile, let new teammate Joey Gladstone ride his Buell while his new motorcycle is being built. Gladstone dropped first round to Mark Paquette.
During her career from 1996-2010, Sampey won three world championships from 2000-2002, and won 41 races, the most wins for any female in both NHRA competition and professional motorsports. She returned to racing in 2014. Sampey now has 42 national event wins as she was victorious at Englishtown (N.J.) in 2016.
As much as Sampey loves competing in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class it is an emotional whirlwind.
“I have been doing this for 22 years and just when you think you got it figured out something else happens,” Sampey said. “The other day I was talking to Kelly Clontz and she was so glad to hear me talk about my struggles, in a good way. She said you have been doing this for 22 years, you’re a three-time champion and won 42 races and you’re sitting here talking about struggling. It makes somebody like me feel better to know that the struggles are normal. I’m like, girl, it never stops. Drag racing is a roller-coaster, you’re awesome and you suck. You’re awesome and you suck, except for maybe people like the Harleys.”
Sampey acknowledged she’s not sure if she will be racing after 2018.
“For me right now, I don’t know what the future holds for me with racing,” Sampey said. “I need to be here. I need to be in the top 10. I need to be able to finish the year. I need to be out here so that I can try to find sponsorship because I don’t have a sponsor. I don’t know if anybody knows this, but I do not have a sponsor and if I don’t find one soon I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be out here. That’s a horrible thing for me to think because when I came back, I didn’t want to come back. I came back to help a team that was sidelined because a driver quit. I was only going to do it for a few races and then I was going back to my mommy world back at home (in Louisiana).”
However, that’s not how things unfolded for Sampey.
“What happened was I fell in love with it all over again,” Sampey said. “I was actually mad at my career because it held my family life back for so long. Then, when I came back, and my daughter (Ava Jane) came back with me, and she fell in love with it and I fell in love with it and the whole wanting to win is back so bad, that’s why the emotions are coming out again and I want to win, and I want to do this. Now, I’m looking at, ‘Am I going to be able to race if I don’t find funding?’ Now, I’m thinking if I have to get sidelined again please don’t ever mention drag racing to me again. It is too emotional for me.”
And Sampey is determined to pull her share if she stays with Team Liberty.
Malcolm Clark found it hard to contain his enthusiasm on Sunday afternoon. Sure, the full-time chef for Don Schumacher Racing enjoys seeing the team's driver go rounds but in particular, one car kept him doing fist-pumps in the humidity-filled,... https://t.co/t8wR12Gsrz— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) September 5, 2018
"The plan is we are going to have a three-bike team next year with Team Liberty, but I need funding,” Sampey said. “I can’t depend on Jim and Annie Whiteley to continue to pay for me to race. I’m so grateful for what they have done for me, but I have to contribute some kind of way and if I’m not contributing I don’t deserve to be out here. That’s my words. This is coming from me.
So, if I can’t contribute, I will sideline myself. If they say they want me to stay regardless, I might stay out a little bit longer, but I need to support myself as well, and I don’t have any funding to support myself. I’m lucky enough that they cover all my expenses, but I have to be able to support myself, and I’m not able to do that right now without a sponsor. I want to be here bad. I want to be with them again next year, but I will not abuse these people.”
Sampey clearly isn’t going to sit idle when it comes to finding sponsorship for herself.
“I have plans going and I’m on a mission to get my body in better shape than it is now,” Sampey said. “I’m working really hard. We are going to do a photo shoot coming up and I have two agents I have hired trying to find funding. I even got one outside of motorsports, thinking maybe he will have a whole different angle and it is just not happening.”