Savoie picks up a round win, moves up one position in standings
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Oct. 16) – Rookie of the year contender and Countdown to the Championship player Jerry Savoie saw red in the blazing Arizona desert on raceday – four-thousandths worth in the second round of eliminations at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway near Phoenix – but it didn't hinder his ascension in the Full Throttle Series standings.
Savoie, now No. 6 in the championship chase, leaves the event one step above where he was before arriving in the Valley of the Sun, and the weekend of racing in the hot and arid conditions provided experience that will surely contribute to success in future outings.
"We learn something every weekend," said the 52-year-old rider of the White Alligator Racing Suzuki. "And I'll tell you, we have a better bike than we showed here, but I feel accomplished already. We wanted to do better, but we figured a few things out, and that's a good thing."
The first round of eliminations saw opponent Angie Smith red-light and Savoie, the No. 10 qualifier, race to his quickest and fastest pass of the weekend, a 7.001 at 192.99 mph that had crew chief Mark Peiser pleased and optimistic about the future.
"We had some valve spring issues during qualifying, and because of that we were running with no power," said Peiser. "So I took the new ones out and put my best old valve springs in, and we had power – we picked up three miles per hour. That was our best run, and we left some out there."
In the quarterfinals, Savoie drew Hector Arana Sr., who qualified second with a 6.937 and had picked off Matt Guidera in the eliminations opener with a 6.901 at 194.60 that was second-quickest of the round.
He had never before raced Hector Sr. on raceday, but coming into the match, Savoie knew he was at a deficit of approximately a tenth of a second and had to be on his game to get the job done. Unfortunately, the strategy produced a red-light instead of the desired results.
"What we did here will go in the memory bank, and we won't make the same mistakes again," said Peiser. "But it was a positive weekend. We didn't tear anything up, and we have two motors left and two races to go. I feel pretty good about that."