I started the race, and was anxious to see how the redone suspension would work. But right away, I knew we had a different problem: Even circulating slowly behind the pace car, the bike clearly wasn't running right, backfiring and popping and sputtering-all signs of a lean mixture. I suspected fuel starvation, maybe vapor lock from the dry break used for quick refills, and when I pushed down on the spring-loaded cap a stream of gas shot high in the air. Fixed? Maybe-there was no way to know until the green flag waved, at which point I was left for dead. Harley PR guy Paul James motored by me on his Buell on the back straight and shot me a look as if to say, "Aren't you supposed to have 20 more horsepower than me?" Yes, I am. One lap later, Aaron blew past me exiting Canada Corner on his Buell and didn't even have time to shoot me a look. I continued to circulate, hoping the problem would clear up, but when a few laps later I looked back and saw Angie closing in on me on her humble 75-horse Kawasaki, I knew it was a lost cause. I waved her past, pointing and giving my bike the thumbs-down as she rode by, and the next time around brought it into the pits. It wasn't until I stood up that I realized how badly my right foot hurt! Lean bikes run hot, and the sole of my foot had been literally baked by the head pipe.