Savoie continues his climb in NHRA standings
READING, Pa. (Oct. 3) – First-year NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Jerry Savoie continued his recent upward trend with another solid semifinal finish at this weekend’s Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. For the third time in the last four races Savoie reached the final four, and he now finds himself solidly in seventh place in the Full Throttle Series standings with three events remaining in the 2011 season.
Cold and rainy weather forced final eliminations to be delayed until Monday, but Savoie and his White Alligator Racing Suzuki remained red hot as the alligator farmer opened eliminations with a surprising upset win over No. 7 qualifier Angie Smith. Smith, the wife of former world champion Matt Smith, made one of the quickest runs of her career with a 6.86, but Savoie got to the finish line first with a slower 6.97 after leaving the starting line first with a perfect .000 reaction time.
In the quarterfinals, Savoie was paired with his nemesis, Vance & Hines Harley rider Eddie Krawiec, and gained a similar advantage with a .003 reaction time. Savoie made a solid run with a 6.94, taking the win after Krawiec’s bike slowed.
“We’ve got a good rivalry going with the Harley team, so anytime you can get a win over one of those bikes it’s a good thing,” said Savoie. “Lately, I feel like I’ve been riding very well. We’ve had a little adversity, but it’s all starting to come together now. I've said before that when we started this season, my goal was to finish in the top 10. At this point, I think we can move up to fifth or sixth. That would be great for a first-year team.”
Savoie’s bid to reach his second career final round came up short against Matt Smith in the semifinals. In an effort to gain another starting line advantage, Savoie let go of the clutch a fraction of a second too-soon and red-lighted. It likely would not have mattered as Smith made one of the best runs of his career with a 6.79.
“I’m a little upset that I red-lighted, but that was a stellar run by Matt,” said Savoie. “I don’t think there was anything we could have done to beat him. Sooner or later, I’m going to get to another final.”
During Monday’s final eliminations, Savoie also recorded a career-best speed of 195.31 mph, a run that clearly impressed crew chief and engine builder Mark Peiser.
“We are definitely making some good power right now,” said Peiser. “After we ran 195 mph, I thought we could run even quicker in the semifinals so I made a pretty radical change, and the bike just didn’t like it. Still, I’m very happy with what we accomplished this weekend and I’m looking forward to heading west for the last three races of the season.”
After a week off, the White Alligator Racing team will head to Phoenix for the NHRA Arizona Nationals, Oct. 14-16, before moving on to the final events in Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.