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Statistics: Kent Stotz

  • Born: April 7, 1958, Chicago, Illinois
  • Residence: Schaumburg, Illinois
  • Began riding: 1970, age 12
  • First race: 1977, age 19, motocross
  • Training: motocross, ATVs, waterskiing
  • Hobbies: Outdoor sports with family
  • Height/weight: 5'9", 165 pounds
  • Marital status: Married to Sharon,
    two children: Frank, Jacqui
  • Machine: Honda CBR1100XX, VTX1800
  • Crew Chief: Mark Harrell

2004
  • Finished third overall in AMA Prostar Street Bike Shootout competition
  • First AMA Prostar Street Bike Shootout rider to set the 200-mph record (200.49 mph in 7.256 seconds)
  • Set new national records seven times
  • Quickest and/or fastest rider in five of eight races
  • Qualified first in two of eight races
  • Won AMA Prostar Import V-twin Horsepower Challenge on turbocharged Honda VTX (139 mph in 10.07 seconds)
2003
  • Stotz Racing team finished second and third overall in AMA Prostar Street Bike Shootout competition
  • Set new national ET and speed record (7.52 seconds at 192.53 mph)
  • Qualified first at two of eight races
  • Teammate Barry Henson took the last three wins
2002
  • Won second consecutive AMA Prostar Street Bike Shootout national title and fourth overall Championship
  • Won four of eight races
  • Set new national record of 7.64 seconds at 192.33 mph
  • Retired championship CBR1100XX to the American Honda museum collection
2001
  • Won AMA Prostar Street Bike Shootout national title and third overall Championship
  • Qualified first in last five races
  • Set national record for ET and speed (7.75 seconds at 189.31 mph)
  • AMA/Prostar Rider of the Year award
2000
  • Debuted CBR1100XX in last four races, set a top speed record of 185.15 mph at the World Finals
  • Earned AMA Prostar's Best Engineered award for the Street Bike Shootout class
1999
  • Set national record of 180.75 mph
  • Elected to lead the AMA Prostar and Hot Rod NMCA Street Bike Rules Committee
1998
  • Won second AMA Prostar Street Bike Shootout National Championship
  • Won first place at the ISCA Show competition
  • Organized first-ever bike race with the National Muscle Car Association and set record of 8.11 seconds at 182.89 mph
1995
  • Won first AMA Prostar Street Bike Shootout National Championship

Kent Stotz: motorcycle drag racing's Clark Kent

He has been called motorcycle drag racing's Clark Kent, and for good reason. Kent Stotz, the founder of Stotz Racing, is everyman's racer, starting from humble beginnings to develop and race his own motorcycles. His spectacular results--four AMA/Prostar Championships and numerous records--place him solidly in Superman territory.

How super? At the 2004 finals in Gainesville, Florida, Stotz became the first ever to set the 200-mph record in Street Bike Shootout competition at 200.49 mph in 7.256 seconds on his Honda-sponsored turbocharged CBR1100XX. For Stotz, this spectacular result was the logical culmination of years of thoughtful, steady development fired by an inner desire to win since he was a teenager.

"I started racing motocross when I was 19 years old," explained the Schaumburg, Illinois, native. "I was doing really well, but if I was to go national I was told by my sponsor at the time that I was too old. This kind of ticked me off, because I wanted to be a national champion. So, I looked at drag racing. My dad had been drag racing cars, so I took my street bike up to the drag strip and started racing."

Little did he know at the time that motorcycle drag racing would awaken a sleeping giant in terms of Stotz's ability to both build and race incredibly fast motorcycles. To satisfy his quest for tuning knowledge, Stotz spun wrenches for the Mr. Turbo Funny Bike team of T. J. Hofmeister between 1981 and 1986. When he wasn't wrenching, he was racing. By 1988, Stotz was competing in "Street ET," a run-what-you-brung, no-class form of street-tire racing that was very popular in the Midwest and Northeast.

Along the way Stotz was taking notes. His love for street bike racing and his desire to further legitimize the sport led him to work closely with the AMA to develop the foundation and rules for what would become the AMA/Prostar Streetbike Shootout class. For street racers looking to go to the track, the new class was an obvious option because it didn't stray too far from stock production models. The AMA/Prostar rules permitted the use of turbocharging or nitrous oxide, allowed a maximum wheelbase of 68 inches, at least two inches of ground clearance, a working headlight and taillight, a fully-functional charging system and DOT-approved tires. Wheelie bars could not be used. To ensure that the rules were obeyed, Stotz helped AMA/Prostar develop a random 12-mile road test that must be completed by all race bikes, whereupon completion each bike must be shut off and restarted within one minute.

With the formation of the Street Bike Shootout class in 1995, Stotz had become a respected representative for street-bike racers. Of course, it didn't hurt that he won the class title that year. His first national championship aboard a 1989 electronically fuel-injected (EFI) turbocharged Suzuki GSX-R1100 was a strong indicator that the affable businessman was also the best development rider in the paddock.

"Beginning in 1992, we pioneered the use of EFI and turbocharging, and winning the championship in 1995 put us on the map," said Stotz. "Now we had this big bull's-eye on our back and we needed to stay ahead of the competition." The next year, he immediately set about building a new bike around Suzuki's 1995 water-cooled GSX-R1100. A growing family and a developing business back home cut into Stotz's track time, but by 1998 he was actively pursuing his championship dreams and the payoff came with another national title.

Up to this point, Stotz had been competing--and winning--without a major corporate sponsor. To finance his successful racing career, he was reaching deeply into his own pocket. Then in 1999, he had a call from an unexpected suitor: American Honda Motor Company. "When Charlie Keller of the Honda Rider's Club of America called me in 1999 and asked if I could reach a sport bike audience and win championships, the CBR1100XX was not really known as a drag racing bike. I thought at the time there must be a reason, and our success has shown what the bike can really do."

With his vast tuning knowledge, Stotz started development of the Honda by determining how well the engine would hold together under extreme stress. He discovered that the basic CBR1100XX engine was amazingly strong: the stock motor withstood 16 pounds of boost and generated 260 horsepower before the piston ring lands failed. "We swapped in different rods and pistons, still using the stock crank, and with Hahn Racecraft's turbo we had 453 horsepower on our dyno runs. After the teardown and inspection we found virtually no wear and tear whatsoever. I called Charlie (Keller) and told him we could win with this motor."

The remainder of 1999 and the first half of 2000 were spent building the 1192cc engine and getting the XX platform ready to race. Stotz ran the CBR in the last four races of the 2000 AMA/Prostar season and set a top speed record of 185.15 mph at the World Finals in Gainesville, Florida, earning him the Best Engineered award for the Street Bike Shootout class. With the launch of the 2001 season, the Honda was immediately competitive, clocking the quickest ET (elapsed time) and top speed for a class record in just the second race. In Stotz's skilled hands, the mighty Honda dominated the 2001 season, rewarding him with yet another national championship, plus the 2001 AMA/Prostar Rider of the Year award.

Rule changes intended to level the playing field were implemented by AMA/Prostar at the end of 2001. Notably, two-step RPM launch controls that Stotz had perfected were outlawed. No matter, Stotz and his Honda were still the class of the field in 2002. Stotz won four of the eight rounds, set a new national record of 7.64 seconds at 192.33 mph (which would stand for almost two years, unheard of in drag racing), and captured his second consecutive national title and fourth overall championship.

2003 was a transition year as Stotz began a professional relationship with his friend and owner of Velocity Racing, Barry Henson. Henson, an experienced builder and racer in his own right, developed bike-specific turbocharging systems. In addition to supplying Stotz's turbo package, Henson agreed to race the number-one bike of Stotz's two Hondas while Stotz focused on building and testing new ideas on a development bike and expanding his team. The effort produced a very fast bike that set a new speed record (7.52 seconds at 192.53 mph) during the year. Stotz qualified first at two of the eight races and Henson took the last three wins. The championship eluded them, but as a team, the pair finished second and third nationally.

Late in 2003, Stotz began work on another Honda project: a turbocharged VTX1800 to compete in AMA/Prostar's new production-based V-twin Shootout class. In development, the VTX motor proved to be another well-engineered and durable foundation for tire-shredding power. From its base of 100 bhp, Stotz was able to extract 271 horsepower and over 250 ft-lbs of torque on the stock VTX mill with Velocity Racing's turbo system. With the stock motor and chassis and no boost control, Stotz delivered a wheelie-prone 10.07 ET at 139 mph and won the AMA/Prostar Import V-twin Horsepower Challenge in 2004.

In 2004 Street Bike Shootout competition, Stotz was once again the tuner and primary pilot of the turbocharged Honda. With 505 horsepower in hand and serious competition from his former teammate Henson, records would fall throughout the season. Stotz set new national records seven times and, in five of the eight races, was either the quickest and/or the fastest rider. At the season-ending finals in Gainesville, he decimated both ends of the record in the first round of eliminations with a clean 7.256-second ET at 200.49 mph. Ultimately, an equally strong performance by Henson took the championship.

The off-season between 2004 and 2005 saw Stotz undertake a significant redesign effort. AMA/Prostar reworked the Street Bike Shootout Class rules--including a one-inch increase in ground clearance (three inches total) and a two-inch increase in ride height (now 22 inches)--and renamed the series Pro Street for 2005. The four-time AMA/Prostar champ countered with major changes to the induction and electronic control systems on the Honda, netting 65 more horsepower (550-plus overall) while running the same 30 pounds of boost. Stotz also pared away 30 pounds in overall weight, allowing the XX to accelerate more rapidly.

"With the new rules and our increased power, we found that high track temperatures had a significant impact on our ability to hook up," said Stotz. "Compared to last year's bike, we were on a steep learning curve at our first races, but so were our competitors." The results to date have been record-setting. At Norwalk Ohio's Raceway Park in July 2005, Stotz ran the quickest ET and fastest top speed of the meet and the fastest ET for the year in AMA/Prostar Pro Street Class competition--7.36 seconds at 197 miles per hour. One month later in Indianapolis, Stotz raised the bar another notch, setting the 1/8-mile speed record at 159 mph. "We are close to 160 mph in a city block," said Stotz, putting the achievement in perspective.

On the promotional front, Stotz's savvy business acumen led him to collaborate with the NOPI (Number One Parts, Inc.) Drag Racing Association (NDRA) at the end of 2004 to launch the organization's first foray into 500-plus horsepower street-tire motorcycle drag racing. He brought along his main underwriter, the Honda Rider's Club of America (HRCA), as sponsor of the new Pro Street Tire Bike class. NOPI is known for its wildly popular sport compact drag racing series that draw tens of thousands of fans, not only for four-wheel drag-racing action, but also for the added attractions of car and bike shows and live bands. Thanks to Stotz, NOPI became the latest venue to showcase the excitement of high-tech 500-plus horsepower street motorcycles to drag racing fans everywhere. To back that up, Stotz set the quickest ET of any Pro Street Tire Bike competitor at a NOPI event--7.44 seconds at 195 mph--at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee in July 2005.

Stotz is quick to credit his many sponsors and suppliers who have helped him achieve his success. Reflecting on his experience with the HRCA, he said, "Without them I probably wouldn't be racing. They are my largest sponsor and offer up incredible support to anyone who owns a Honda. Honda Pro Oils has been there as well with parts and chemicals whenever I needed them." He graciously acknowledges his other sponsors also. "We couldn't make this kind of power without Velocity Racing Turbo Systems, they are the best at what they do. JE Pistons, HyperPro Racing Suspension and Schaumburg Honda are also very supportive." Of his most loyal long term sponsors--Pingel Enterprise, Star Racing, RC Components, AirTech and Falicon Crankshaft Components--Stotz offers his praise. "For nine years, these guys have been with me through thick and thin, no questions asked."

With his humble demeanor, gracious spirit, high intelligence, quick-thinking mind, astute perception, gregarious personality and indomitable will to win, it's hard to separate drag racing's Clark Kent from Superman--just ask Kent Stotz's competitors. Then again, maybe that's the point.

 

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