When the 2019 NHRA Mello Season begins, three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Angelle Sampey will not be driving for Team Liberty Racing.
“After the season ended in Pomona, Cory (Reed) and I sat down to discuss our future together and the direction of the team and as a result of those discussions, I decided that it was best to take a step back and look at other options,” Sampey said an article on nhra.com Dec. 3. “I am extremely grateful to Cory Reed, the Whiteley family, and everyone at Liberty Racing for allowing me to be a part of the team and continue my career these last two seasons. We had our share of growing pains but I’m proud that we were able to make it into the top 10 this year.”
Sampey qualified for the six-race Countdown to the Championship at the final regular season race at Indianapolis and finished in seventh place.
“Joey Gladstone joined the (Team Liberty) late in the season and he is going to run a full-season next year and Cory will also be returning on a full-time basis,” Sampey said in the NHRA article. “The opportunity was there for us to race a third motorcycle but that would require additional funding, and at this point, I just don’t have it.”
Team Liberty Racing was formed with Sampey and Reed in 2017.
Although Sampey, 48, will not be competing for Team Liberty Racing, she doesn’t plan on retiring and she’s actively pursing other options to race in 2019.
During her career from 1996-2010, Sampey won three world championships from 2000-2002, and won 41 races, the most wins for any female in both NHRA competition and professional motorsports. She returned to racing in 2014. Sampey now has 42 national event wins as she was victorious at Englishtown (N.J.) in 2016.
Sampey acknowledged her sponsorship plight with Competition Plus at the U.S. Nationals in Indy in September.
“For me right now, I don’t know what the future holds for me with racing,” Sampey said. “I need to be here. I need to be in the top 10. I need to be able to finish the year. I need to be out here so that I can try to find sponsorship because I don’t have a sponsor. I don’t know if anybody knows this, but I do not have a sponsor and if I don’t find one soon I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be out here. That’s a horrible thing for me to think because when I came back, I didn’t want to come back. I came back to help a team that was sidelined because a driver quit. I was only going to do it for a few races and then I was going back to my mommy world back at home (in Louisiana).”
However, that’s not how things unfolded for Sampey.
“What happened was I fell in love with it all over again,” Sampey said. “I was actually mad at my career because it held my family life back for so long. Then, when I came back, and my daughter (Ava Jane) came back with me, and she fell in love with it and I fell in love with it and the whole wanting to win is back so bad, that’s why the emotions are coming out again and I want to win, and I want to do this. Now, I’m looking at, ‘Am I going to be able to race if I don’t find funding?’ Now, I’m thinking if I have to get sidelined again please don’t ever mention drag racing to me again. It is too emotional for me.”