A blown head gasket almost cost Casey Stemper in the Pro Extreme Motorcycle finals against points leader Eric McKinney, but Stemper didn’t let anything put a damper on his dream weekend.
Sure, some parts might need replaced before the Summer Drags VIII at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Mich. next month, but Stemper and his family-based team won’t mind after the end result. Stemper continued to fight even as his bike caught fire in the finals against Eric McKinney, holding onto the win with an impressive 4.034 at 164.77 mph and delivering quite a show in the process.
â€œI was not going to let up. I felt the flames on my arm, but if I was that close to the win, I wasnâ€™t going to give it up in the last 100 feet. When I saw that win light come on, it was just awesome,â€ Stemper said. â€œIt was so close at the end and I thought he might get me, but that was just incredible.â€
Stemper went as quick as 4.034 to qualify No. 1 and picking up his second victory in 2012 also put him closer to points leader McKinney in the championship chase.
â€œEricâ€™s a great rider and weâ€™re always trying to chase him down. You always want to beat the best,â€ Stemper said.
Halfway through the ADRL season, Stemper has emerged as a clear contender for the 2012 Pro Extreme Motorcycle Championship, racking up three number one qualifying awards and three final round appearances to match.
Qualifying number one with a scorching 4.034 at 174 MPH, Casey raised the bar for thecompetition, besting the next closest bike by more than .03, adding a series of 4.04s in eliminations before the firework-filled final against McKinney.
â€œWe had a fantastic weekend to say the least,â€ said Karne, Caseyâ€™s mother.
Added Casey: â€œWhen the win light came on, it was a fantastic feeling. We were consistent all day, and with the heat we were racing in our numbers are that much more amazing.
â€œIt shows how important the entire race package is, and that each component plays a huge part in getting the numbers that are required to win. We call our engine, the â€˜lil engine that couldâ€™.â€
The Innovative Performance Race team shows pride in being a family team, boasting the complete package with an in house chassis and engine business. Besides manning the bike, Casey also builds the chassis, but is also quick to give credit to the rest of his team:
â€œThereâ€™s no way I could pull of a year like this without a great team. William â€˜super tunerâ€™ Cavallo is a key part of our success and we canâ€™t thank him enough. I also give a lot of credit to thank my dad, Terry, for his exceptional tuning abilities and finesse, and of course mom (Karne) for all she does to service the bike and make sure that I am lined up correctly in the groove for a safe and smooth ride down the track. Last but not least is our good friend, Derek, for all of his crew help. I am very proud to be a part of this race team.”
Stemper is ready for the second half of the season and is currently a little more than two rounds behind McKinney in what looks to be a title battle for the PXM championship.
â€œEveryone is definitely stepping it up in the ADRL PXM category,â€ Stemper said, â€œand, as always, we strive to go faster and faster, and to keep our motor durable and longer lasting in order to keep up with the competition. Itâ€™s nice to see our hard work paying off.
â€œI am living the dream. We couldn’t be happier with how far we have come in such a short time and really look forward to our future with the ADRL PXM class.”