Rush signed on as Klement's primary marketing partner just in time for the 2007 Countdown to the Championship. A short time later, the U.S. Army dropped their sponsorship of Sampey's team for 2008 and, eventually, one of the most popular figures in drag racing was available. Did Rush president Lou Pringle see this coming when he joined forces with Klement in September? "I never thought the Army would give us such a golden opportunity!" laughed Pringle. "Given Angelle's popularity, she's a perfect marketing tool for our products. We're very excited."
"It's outrageously cool," agreed Rush CEO Terry Daniel. "It's very exciting for all parties concerned. It's been one heck of a ride for us, and we're really looking forward to 2008. Angelle's very professional and brings a lot to the table. And we have a great deal of respect for Karl Klement. He's a phenomenal fellow and runs a very professional team. He's very straightforward and he pursues winning, and I like that."
"Kim and I are so excited to have Angelle on board," said Klement. "No way did I think this would happen. Two years ago, we went to the races in Dallas and sat in the stands. Last year, we won the race. This year, we'll be there with the biggest star in the sport. A lot of great things are happening. When this opportunity arose, all of our marketing partners asked me if we could get this done."
"Karl approached me and made it an opportunity that I couldn't refuse," said Sampey. "I had three different opportunities to choose from, but Karl offered me an opportunity to be a part of the business beyond my racing career. I put them all on the table and Karl's was the one I chose to take.
"In the short period of time that I've been talking to Karl and Kim, I've realized that they're exactly the kind of team owners that I want to ride for. I'm very excited to be working for them. I think we'll be very successful on the racetrack, and I know we'll be very successful as a team. I'm really looking forward to it."
Sampey is part owner of Performance Suzuki in her hometown of Houma, Louisiana, and throwing her leg over an S&S powered Buell is going to take some getting used to. "The Buell was probably the toughest part of the decision," said Sampey. "I've been riding Suzukis since I was 6 years old. I know it's gonna be different, and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of all that power and see what I can do on one. I'm very excited about it and I can't wait to see what we can do. After 11 years in the sport, that will be a big change and it should make for a very interesting year."
The 2008 POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle season resumes at the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, March 13-16, 2008 at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida.
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