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TUF Racing Kicks Off 2011 AMA Arenacross Season With a Victory in Tulsa

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Gibson exploded with the holeshot on his Cernic's Honda in Tulsa and never looked back.
Gibson exploded with the holeshot on his Cernic's Honda in Tulsa and never looked back.
Winning the first AMA Arenacross race on the 2011 schedule has got to be sweet, the season still has that fresh, New Year smell to it, it's totally wide open, a blank page looking to be written on anyway you see fit. TUF Racing's Jeff Gibson knows what that's all about, in front of a starved for racing chomping multitude in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Gibson grabbed the holeshot on his Cernic's Honda and never looked back. It was the Blacklick, Ohio racer's first win since the 2009 season.
Due to a severe injury before the start of 2010, the season opening win in Tulsa was Gibson's first since 2009.
Due to a severe injury before the start of 2010, the season opening win in Tulsa was Gibson's first since 2009.


"I was a little disappointed with how last season went," remarked Gibson. "As the defending champion I wanted to have a better year. I have worked very hard to be back in the front and this helps justify all that effort."

TUF Racing's team manager Dave Antolak said this about Gibson's performance - "Most people didn't know that Jeff came in last year injured and that he was a little off his game. I think some people wrote TUF Racing and Jeff off as serious contenders this year. Maybe after tonight we will even get some props in the opening ceremonies video."
The TUF Racing champion said he was happy to have his off season hard work rewarded with the first win 2011.
The TUF Racing champion said he was happy to have his off season hard work rewarded with the first win 2011.


Last year Gibson ruptured his colon in a crash a little over a month before the season started, and he required surgery to repair it. "We kept his injury a secret from the other teams because Jeff didn't want to use that as an excuse," explained Antolak.

"The first race of the season is always one of the most unpredictable races in the year," adds Antolak. "I say this every year and the team is probably tired of me saying it, but you can't win the championship in the first race, although you can lose it. That being said, coming away with the win just shows what a great group I have. My mechanics, Tracin Seng and Andy Brannon, have been with me for at least six or seven years and I know, as well as the riders, that TUF has the best equipment on the track."

TUF Racing got its start racing Supercross and outdoor venues back in 1985. They made the switch to Arenacross in 1996, and like Gibson's holeshot in Tulsa, they never looked back. TUF Racing has amassed five Arenacross Championships, with three of those coming in the last four seasons.

Asked where the name TUF comes from Antolak says, "We were sitting around trying to think of a clever name for the company, after a while when we couldn't come up with anything someone said, this is TUF to come up with a name, so that's what we went with."

And how did the K&N connection come about? "Actually, we were doing some engine testing on the dyno for another team that was using K&N filters. We couldn't believe the performance gain we had just from installing the air filter. The next day we were on the phone with K&N."

Along with an improved year that more adequately returns the team to its true potential, Antolak has few other plans and irons in the fire for 2011.

"We will be introducing a new line of CNC heads this year," says Antolak. "By doing the heads on the CNC (computer numerical controlled) machine, we can offer the same exact heads we are using for the race teams. The CNC procedure is so precise that each head is within .0001 of each other. Right now we are building the engines for the Rock River Team, Jeff Alessi and a few others that we can't reveal yet, but we will be able to soon."

Up next on the Arenacross schedule for TUF Racing is Kansas City this weekend and Dayton, Ohio the week after.

Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.

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