Angelle Sampey dedicates first win in over a year to recovering home state
September 21, 2021
By Keaton Maisano
Winning has become second nature to Angelle Sampey, but the latest win at the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals was anything but routine for the winningest woman in powersports history.
Sampey, who has won more than 40 times and claimed three world titles, had yet to win in 2021. Although her standing has long been solidified within the drag racing world, Sampey felt pressure to deliver a win for her home state of Louisiana, which is recovering from the effects of Hurricane Ida, and she was able to secure the emotional victory in North Carolina, Sept. 19, 2021.
“Winning the race in Charlotte was different than any of the 43 others I have won,” Sampey said. “I had a different motivation this time around. As always, I wanted to win for my Vance and Hines team who works so hard to give me all that I need to get the job done, as well as Mission Foods who helps us continue to race, but there was so much more at stake this time around.”
Like many Louisianans, the hurricane forced Sampey out of her hometown, and both her house and business were without power for several weeks. Her business — Coral Fever LLC — reopened Sept. 17, 2021.
“I was racing for Lafourche Parish and the surrounding parishes. For my family and for my friends! For so many people that were devastated by Hurricane Ida,” Sampey said. “I wanted to bring awareness to South Louisiana and all the people who need help. I felt like if we can win this race or the two races before that we tried so hard to win, that I could bring a little joy to those watching from home.”
In hopes of raising awareness for her suffering area, Sampey entered the DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals off back-to-back runner-up finishes. The veteran rider continued her positive momentum by qualifying No. 2 in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a time of 6.848 seconds.
Posting another 6.84 time to advance past the first round, Sampey eliminated her Vance & Hines teammates — Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec — in consecutive rounds to advance to the final against Joey Gladstone.
After a disappointing reaction time of 0.113 seconds to begin the final race, it appeared Sampey would come up short once again in 2021, but a stroke of bad luck for Gladstone turned the tide. While in the lead off a 0.03-second reaction time, Gladstone’s kill switch malfunctioned, leading to a time of 7.15 seconds that was edged by Sampey’s 6.86.
Although outlasting the competition, Sampey — who has won more than 57 percent of her final round appearances — was aware of the way she claimed her 44th win. She recognized the mixed emotions that came with denying Gladstone of his first win, and her thoughts were also with former teammate Cory Reed, who was injured in the second round.
“I feel so bad for Joey because he had some bad luck and I had some good luck,” Sampey said. “This is not the way I wanted to win this race with this horrible reaction time, but in drag racing when the stars are aligned and luck is on your side, you get one of these Wally’s to go home — 44 of them now.”
Putting an end to a yearlong drought, Sampey said she hasn’t reached her best form yet.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this hard, especially after learning how to ride a Harley, because that was pretty tough, and I mastered it,” Sampey said. “And just when I got it, they took it away from me and put me on this rocket ship that I affectionately call Black Beauty. Anyway, I was struggling on the bike, but I finally am coming around with it. I’m not exactly where I need to be.”