SAMPEY TO MAKE HER TAD DEBUT THIS WEEKEND AT THE TEXAS MOTORPLEX
After months of preparation, the weekend has finally arrived for Angelle Sampey to expand her racing endeavors from two-wheels to four. The 46-time NHRA national event winner will make her highly-anticipated Top Alcohol Dragster racing debut at the NHRA Fall Nationals.
She comes into the Texas Motorplex after another successful A/Fuel Dragster test, this time behind the wheel of the Michalek Brothers' entry at Indianapolis Raceway Park. She will drive the same dragster this weekend.
"I feel very confident going into this weekend," said Sampey. "What a night and day difference between where I'm at now and those first few licensing runs at Brainerd (Minn.) back in August. I will admit, when I first got into the car last Wednesday, I was nervous again because I hadn't driven in three weeks, so I just had to get that first run down and shake the nerves off, but I was good after that."
Sampey's move into Top Alcohol racing has been facilitated by multi-time Top Fuel champion and former motorcycle teammate Antron Brown. She is the inaugural driver in Brown's AB Motorsports Accelerate Program.
Sampey plans to compete in the last three races of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season, along with a Lucas Oil Series divisional event in Las Vegas, with the goal of running a full-season campaign in the Top Alcohol Dragster class in 2024.
Sampey will continue driving the Samsel Racing A/Fuel car at the NHRA Nevada Nationals and Lucas Oil Series race in Las Vegas, as well as the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif. Throughout these events, Sampey will represent Mission Foods, along with sponsors GETTRX, Hangsterfer's Metal Working Lubricants, FVP, Factory Motor Parts, and Lucas Oil.
"In addition to testing, I've been doing a lot of mental runs," said the Mission Foods ambassador, who has 46 Pro Stock Motorcycle wins to her credit. "I go through the starting line procedure in my head a lot. Every night when I'm lying down to go to bed, I'll do several runs in my head. Corey and Kyle (Michalek) made comments about that at testing last week. They both said it was very obvious that I came prepared, and they were just really happy with the way I drove the car. I was really happy with how everything went. The Michalek brothers run such a professional operation; they're just amazing, and I'm really looking forward to a great weekend with them in Dallas.
"I feel ready to go, but I will say, the only thing that has me slightly nervous about this weekend is just the fact that I haven't made a run with a car in the other lane yet. Once I can check that off the list this week, I'll feel really good about it. I just want to make sure I'm paying attention to the other driver's staging lights, getting down the track, and then just the whole process of getting off the track safely with another car in the opposite lane. There's a lot to think about to make sure I'm safe and my opponent is safe. I know I'm prepared; I just have some nerves with it being my first time having to do that with another car on the track."
Brown feels Sampey is ready for the next chapter in her storied career.
"Now, you can tell she's at home in the seat of a dragster, and she's ready for competition," said Brown, who has been working closely with Sampey as her driving instructor and mentor in preparation for her TAD debut. "The way she's staging the car, she's flawless. Even on the first two test runs last week, it blew the tires off, but I could tell she had been practicing her starting line routine a lot. That's a big part of it, and now, when she's staging, she looks like a seasoned pro who has been going through the procedures for years. She made really good runs last week, and you can tell that she is getting more and more comfortable with the speed. She even made a run that would have qualified her third for this year's U.S. Nationals field. I've just been really impressed overall, and I know she's going to do a great job."
Sampey will make her Mission Foods A/Fuel Dragster debut on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 4:30 p.m. CT as she begins qualifying for the 16-car Top Alcohol Dragster Texas NHRA Fall Nationals field. Later that evening, she will join several NHRA stars for the Stampede of Speed Pre-Stage Fanfest driver autograph session at Railyard Park in Waxahachie starting at 7:00 p.m. The Fanfest event is free and open to the public.