Mechanical bugs bite Angelle in Brainerd. In the first two rounds of Sunday's final eliminations at the Rugged Liner NHRA Nationals, it appeared Angelle Savoie and the Star Racing team would finally claim their first win at Brainerd...
Mechanical bugs bite Angelle in Brainerd.
In the first two rounds of Sunday's final eliminations at the Rugged Liner NHRA Nationals, it appeared Angelle Savoie and the Star Racing team would finally claim their first win at Brainerd International Raceway. Coming into the day as the No. 1 qualifier, the Retail Fixture Suzuki was the class of the Pro Stock Motorcycle field, recording the quickest elapsed time in defeating Sam Hurwitz and Reggie Showers.
The semi-finals found Angelle facing No. 4 qualifier Geno Scali. Running in the left lane, the early performance numbers pointed towards the Star Racing entry reaching its sixth final round of the year. However, the bike suddenly slowed, the result of a major mechanical failure, abruptly putting an end to a very promising weekend.
"We had an extremely rare engine failure," detailed team owner George Bryce, "where the wrist pin exploded in the No. 1 hole. That is the first time I can ever remember having a problem with that particular cylinder. Normally, you would associate that with the crankshaft coming apart, but it's still perfect with the big end of the rod still attached.
"Unfortunately, it will be very expensive to fix, because when it came apart, it blew a hole in the side of the engine and took the frame out in front of the engine, so we have some extensive repairs ahead of us. The good news is the oil we use doesn't burn, and Angelle was unhurt, which really is the most important part.
"We've been very reliable, with no component or engine failures. However, it is a prime example of why you need a marketing partner, to allow you to buy the racing parts which help you win rounds on Sunday. We really didn't need this to happen right now, but we'll go home and fix everything and be ready for Indy."
Despite the disappointment, Angelle was still able to find a positive aspect to the day's events.
"This weekend changed a lot of my perceptions about Brainerd International Raceway. I came in thinking it was a one-lane racetrack, but we were able to run well on both sides. The right lane was good, but we found the left to be more to our liking.
"As far as being jinxed here, I really don't believe that any more. Yes, our engine blew up, and we didn't win, but we had a lot of good things happen to us. For example, I wasn't hurt when the bike broke.
"We were also fortunate to have the support of Curt Woodward and Retail Fixture, which allowed us to come here. We had an awesome qualifying performance, resetting the track record and being the No. 1 qualifier here for the first time ever.
"The Star Racing team gave me another great motorcycle to ride today, and we made it to another semi-final. Any time you can do that, it's a good weekend. If we keep performing at that level, in the end things will work out in our favor."
- Angelle's 7.172-second elapsed time in qualifying was the quickest in Pro Stock Motorcycle for the weekend, marking the 26th time she has set the low elapsed time of the event. It also set the Brainerd International Raceway track record.
- Angelle has led the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle standings following 41 of the last 52 national events, dating back to the beginning of the 1999 season. She has been ranked first or second an amazing 58 of the last 62 events, dating back to the fourth event of 1998.
- By defeating Sam Hurwitz in the first round, Angelle extended her NHRA record for consecutive first round wins to 43. Angelle has not lost in the first round since falling to C.J. Smith in Brainerd, Minn. in August of 1999.
- Angelle's .774 (207-61) elimination round win percentage ranks second among all active drivers, trailing only Matt Hines' .786.