With Countdown looming, Savoie has a chance to do great things
CONCORD, N.C. – Fresh off the first final round of his career at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, first-year NHRA pro Jerry Savoie has momentum on his side as he prepares for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoff to determine the 2011 Full Throttle Drag Racing series champions. Savoie, who rides the White Alligator Racing Suzuki, will begin the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, and if he’s looking for a road map to the championship, he needs to look no further than his Louisiana neighbor LE Tonglet, who began the 2010 Countdown as the No. 7 seed but won the title in his rookie season with a dominant performance that included four wins in the last six events.
“Anyone who saw what LE did as a rookie last year should know that once the Countdown starts, anything is possible,” said Savoie. “There are ten of us battling for the championship right now and whoever gets hot at the right time is going to be there at the end. I believe we’re going to be right in the middle of it.”
Savoie has plenty of reason to feel optimistic, particularly after his performance at Indy. Savoie and crew chief Mark Peiser elected to bring their all-new Suzuki Hayabusa to the sport’s most prestigious event and were rewarded with their best performance of the season. Working the bugs out of their new machine during qualifying, Savoie beat points leader Eddie Krawiec and fellow championship contenders Jim Underdahl and Karen Stoffer. Although he lost the final to another rookie rider, Hector Arana Jr., Savoie gained a lot of confidence from the Indy experience.
“We learned a lot with this new bike,” said Savoie. “Early on, we had a few problems, but the more runs we made, the more we learned and the quicker we ran. The best part is that there is still a lot left in that new bike. I’m also just starting to get comfortable on it. The bottom line is that we haven’t even scratched the surface of what it’s capable of, and that’s why I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”
This weekend’s event will also mark the first time that Savoie and the White Alligator team have had the opportunity to compete at zMax Dragway, the lavish facility just outside of Charlotte, N.C., that is often referred to as the “Bellagio of Dragstrips.”
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about this track, so I’m pretty excited to finally have a chance to race here,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a lot of nice places this year and we’ve really enjoyed it. I think it would be a perfect place for us to get our first win.”