Savoie reflects on impressive rookie season
POMONA , Calif. (Nov. 14) – Although his season ended abruptly when he wounded an engine in his White Alligator Racing Suzuki during the first round of the NHRA Auto Club Finals in Pomona, first-year Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Jerry Savoie was hardly disappointed as he reflected on an impressive season that included a final round appearance at the biggest event of the year and a top ten finish.
“Less than a year ago, this was all just a dream,” said Savoie. “I hadn’t raced in 30 years and when I decided to come back, I didn’t have a bike, a crew chief, or one single piece of equipment. In less than a year, we’ve been able to build a successful team, and I’m very proud of that.”
With veteran crew chief and engine builder Mark Peiser at the helm, Savoie was able to quickly get up to speed on the finer points of riding a 195-mph Pro Stock Suzuki. Despite limited opportunities for testing, Savoie qualified for all 16 races in 2011, including six starts from the top half of the field. On race day, Savoie also proved to be a formidable opponent, securing multiple victories over championship caliber riders such as current champ Eddie Krawiec, Andrew Hines, and Matt Smith. He finished the season with a respectable 16-16 record in elimination rounds.
Savoie achieved his primary goal when he earned one of ten available spots in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, which determine the season championships. At one point he was ranked as high as sixth until finally settling into the No. 8 position in the final standings.
“We came a long way in a short amount of time and even though we didn’t win a race, I feel like we made our mark,” Savoie said. “When I decided to do this, I came in with my eyes wide open. I knew how tough it is out here and how many good teams there are. I also knew that we had what it takes to be successful.”
Savoie, who was one of nine nominees for the prestigious Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award, has now begun to turn his attention to the 2012 season, which begins next March in Gainesville , Fla.
“Mark is going to go back to our shop in Indianapolis and very soon he’ll start preparing for next year,” Savoie said. “He’ll have a full off-season to work on our engine program and when you combine that with the experience we gained this year, I know we’ll be even more competitive in 2012. We finished eighth this year, and our goal is always to improve, so I’m pretty optimistic that we can be in the top five next year. I’m also looking forward to getting our first win. That’s what we’re all focused on.”