White Alligator Racing press release
Savoie puts Charlotte in the rearview mirror, focusing on second Countdown race
CONCORD, N.C. – The first race of six in NHRA's Countdown to the Championship playoffs ended a bit ahead of schedule for incoming No. 8 seed Jerry Savoie, but the driver of the White Alligator Racing Suzuki is unperturbed and keeping his sights set forward.
The alligator farmer from Cut Off, La., raced to a 6.930 at 187.65 mph to qualify 10th in the quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle field in the history of the class. For his efforts, the first-year Full Throttle Series competitor drew Harley-Davidson campaigner Andrew Hines, a racer he had faced just once before in his young career.
"With Andrew, you better be on your game," said Savoie. "But I wasn't nervous. He had been in the low .90s all weekend, and so had we. I knew it was going to be a good race – and it was. It was a fair race, and my hat's off to him."
The first-round match was a close one. The pair left the starting line nearly synchronized, with Savoie taking a .001-second advantage and leading by a hair all the way until just past the 1,000-foot timer, where Hines nipped him and crossed the finish line first, 6.911 to 6.937. It was only the fourth time this season that Savoie did not advance from the first round.
Veteran crew chief Mark Peiser continues to be pleased with the rider as well as the new Hayabusa that the team debuted one race ago at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, where they rocketed to the final round. In terms of performance, the White Alligator Racing in-house engines paired with the more aerodynamic body of the new Hayabusa are a powerful combo. Savoie's 60-foot times – a critical measure of performance – were among the best during qualifying.
"We run strong to the 1/8th mile, so for the front half we're there," said Peiser. "We're going to change some things for Dallas and see if we can't improve [in the second half of the 1/4 mile drag strip]. Ultimately, when I do find the issue, I think the front half will get even better.
"Obviously, we'd love to win the championship and we're going to try to win every round that we can, but the pressure was off when we got into the top 10. We're a rookie team and everything is new, but to this point we've qualified for every race, we got into the top 10 – our goal at the onset – and we earned a number for next year, so whatever happens the rest of the year is just gravy."
Savoie agreed and said, "I just thank God that we're here. If we place No. 1 at the end of the Countdown or No. 10, I'm still thankful. Now it's time to look forward. We're already talking about Dallas, and I can't wait."