Productive weekend for Savoie and Team WAR
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Oct. 30) – First-year Pro Stock Motorcycle driver Jerry Savoie and his Mark Peiser-tuned White Alligator Racing Suzuki didn't come to Sin City to lose, and they most certainly aren't walking away empty-handed from the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The achievements in Las Vegas included one of his best qualifying performances of the season in a bursting field of 27 motorcycles vying for one of 16 spots. Savoie, the alligator farmer from Cut Off, La., earned three bonus points as one of three quickest during two of the four sessions, and his excellent 6.956, 190.03 mph qualifying-best was good for a start from the No. 6 position – his highest raceday start since the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Norwalk last June.
Savoie's good fortune and well-tuned machine amounted to a ticket to round one, while a gaggle of fellow Suzuki riders were not so fortunate and missed the field, including fellow top 10 rider Michael Phillips as well as Karen Stoffer, the competitor who currently holds position as the top points earner for the brand. For Savoie, his positive outing made one of his goals even more realistic: to finish with the best Suzuki at the end of the year.
"All that really didn't matter to me before," said Savoie, who trails Stoffer by just 14 marks. "But now that we're so close, it does make a difference. I'm excited because if we can catch her and pass her at the last race, that would be pretty neat. I'm not wishing Karen any bad luck, but I think it would be a huge statement for Mark – and maybe for me – to come out my first year, with us manufacturing our own engines, and do all of this."
Savoie, one of only four riders to record a six-second pass in the first round, squared off with Buell pilot Michael Ray and advanced with a 6.985, 189.76 mph to his opponent's 7.018, 189.73. Round two brought a meeting with Hector Arana Sr., and although Arana got the win light in the second round at the event in Phoenix just two weeks ago, Savoie was unperturbed to meet him again so soon.
True to his season-long display of excellence on the starting line, Savoie cut a killer .015 light to his opponent's .062. Unfortunately, he could not keep the lead, and Arana earned the win with the second-quickest pass of the round.
Savoie and the rest of the White Alligator Racing team are ready to take what they've already accomplished and bring the season to a strong final showing at the last race of the season in two weeks, the Auto Club Finals in Pomona.
"Mark is working so hard," said Savoie, now seventh in the championship chase. "We made some progress with the new bike, made a couple of changes to the engine, and my riding is getting better so it's all coming together. To be honest, I really just want to win one race. One race. And after that if they keep coming, then thank God."