Columbus: Angelle Savoie final qualifying summary

Angelle's bid for a Columbus three-peat will start from the No. 2 position. After capturing the provisional top spot on Friday night with a 7.215-second, 183.69 mph pass, Angelle Savoie and the CVEC Suzuki Racing Team turned their attention to...

Angelle's bid for a Columbus three-peat will start from the No. 2 position.

After capturing the provisional top spot on Friday night with a 7.215-second, 183.69 mph pass, Angelle Savoie and the CVEC Suzuki Racing Team turned their attention to preparing for Sunday's final eliminations of the Pontiac Excitement Nationals. The cooler temperatures and overcast skies on Saturday provided the Pro Stock Motorcycle teams with very tricky tuning conditions.

As expected, Angelle remained among the leaders in each of Saturday's two sessions. Following the morning time trial, the Star Racing team changed engines for their final qualifying attempt, and recorded their second best elapsed time of weekend. However, it was not enough to secure their fourth consecutive No. 1 qualifying performance, as the CVEC Suzuki team will start their pursuit of a third consecutive Columbus victory from the second position.

"We had a great run last night, but today we had incredibly good traction at the starting line, which caused our bike to bog. In Chicago, our CVEC Suzuki made a series of perfect runs, and we have yet to make one here, although the 7.21 we ran last night was really good for the conditions.

"We did change engine before the last session. Basically, we have so many awesome bullets that we don't want to wear any one out. We run these engines between 13,500 and 13,600 rpm and have had some bad luck in the past with wear and tear. George (team owner Bryce) does an incredible job of taking care of the engines, keeping track of how many times we've run each one.

"This weekend, we put three runs on "Jesse", and decided to put in "Y2J" for the last session. It shows just how good this team is when we can take out a No. 1 qualifying engine and be just as fast with another one. We weren't as concerned about going to the No. 1 position as we were about getting ready for tomorrow, and we know there is a lot more left in it.

"We're definitely not down about qualifying second. As my crew chief Ken Johnson would say 'All we need is a spot to launch our battle'. We're having fun as a team now. We have a great sponsor, we're working well together, and everything is clicking."

Angelle also took time to address the allegations made by long-time rival Matt Hines, who questioned the Star Racing team's recent accomplishments during an interview.

"When I hear Matt make comments like that, I know that we are winning, because we're inside his head. If we're at the starting line, and he's worried about what I'm doing, he's not concentrating on what he needs to do.

"I don't care who's in the other lane. We worry about our bike and what we're doing. You have to remember that this Star Racing team won a lot of races and championships before they even met me. We work hard and focus on what we have to do, never worrying about what our competitors are doing.

"I find it particularly amusing, because Matt usually speaks out more about us, and in particular me, when he is running well. Quite frankly, our motto at Star Racing is to let our CVEC Suzuki do the talking."

Fast Facts: . - Angelle and the Star Racing team will be looking to win the Pontiac Excitement Nationals for the third consecutive year. One year ago, Angelle "swept" the event, capturing the No. 1 qualifying position, setting the low elapsed time and top speed of the race en route to winning the event for the second year in a row.

- Angelle has not suffered a first-round setback since August 22, 1999 at Brainerd, Minn. That span of 38 races represents the longest streak in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing, and is two short of the all-time record currently held by Bob Glidden.

- Angelle has now qualified in the top half of the elimination ladder (eighth or better) at every one of the 82 races in which she has competed in her Pro Stock Motorcycle career.

- This is the third time Angelle has qualified second in 2002, and ends her streak of No.1 qualifying performances at four.

- Angelle will be looking to score back-to-back wins for the sixth time in her career, having last accomplished the feat in the fall of 2001 when she won the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and the Pep Boys Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania.

- Angelle has won 21 of her last 51 national event starts, has appeared in 28 final rounds and owns a 135-30 (.818) elimination round win record during that span. In that same period, she has also recorded 22 low qualifier efforts.

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Bob Glidden