SONOMA -- Angelle Sampey has won races in the past when her Pro Stock Motorcycle wiggled as it came off the line. The bike even wiggled a little bit Saturday, and she still earned the No. 1 qualifying spot for the final eliminations at the NHRA's FRAM-Autolite Nationals.

But that's when the bike wiggled a little bit too much Sunday at Infineon Raceway.

The back end of her bike shifted to the right immediately after Sampey hit the throttle in her first-round match against Shawn Gann. That sent the bike straight left, where she soon crossed the center line and was disqualified.

As she went down the second half of the quarter-mile track, Sampey punched and cracked the casing on the side of her bike

"You feel bad for the crew, because these guys work so hard all week just for that seven seconds," Sampey said. "But that's drag racing. I guess it's for people with short attention spans."

Sampey remained in second in overall points, but because she took the top spot in qualifying, she locked up one of the eight spots for the Countdown to the Championship. The final six spots will be determined over the next two NHRA events in Brainerd, Minn, and Reading, Pa.

Sampey has 41 event victories, making her the winningest female driver in any professional motor sport. With five more victories, she will set an all-time Pro Stock Motorcycle wins record, which is held by the late Dave Schultz.

"I don't care about points, just as long we're in the top eight," Sampey said. "I just want to win races at this point. The goal is to win at least five more races this year.


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"What's most disappointing is that we had an awesome motorcycle."

Scary moment

Kate Harker avoided serious injury when her Top Alcohol Dragster flipped over and collided with the right retaining wall in her second-round race against Aaron Olivarez.

Starting in the left lane, the front end of Harker's car began to lift as soon as she left the line. It continued to go up until it was perpendicular with the track, then it came down and did a pirouette on the rear tires. The front end then slammed down to the ground before going into the wall in the opposite lane.

Harker, 24, was alert and responding to commands as NHRA emergency services officials extracted her out of the car. She was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for further evaluation, but was released shortly after tests were completed.

Harker is the daughter of Alcohol Funny Car driver Steve Harker and was 14th in Top Alcohol points coming into this week's events.

Moving on

Besides Sampey, several other drivers clinched spots in the Countdown this weekend. They were Brandon Bernstein, Larry Dixon, J.R. Todd and Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel, Robert Hight in Funny Car and Allen Johnson and Jason Line in Pro Stock. Three Countdown spots remain open in Top Fuel, six in Funny Car, three in Pro Stock and six in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

-- Curtis Pashelka