Columbus: Savoie moves up in points

Savoie Racing up the Pro Stock Bike Points Ladder HEBRON, Ohio - After the first two events of the 2004 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Bike season, Angelle Savoie was tied for eighth place and hadn't won a race in nearly a year. Well, that all changed...

Savoie Racing up the Pro Stock Bike Points Ladder

HEBRON, Ohio - After the first two events of the 2004 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Bike season, Angelle Savoie was tied for eighth place and hadn't won a race in nearly a year. Well, that all changed with four quick passes on a recent Sunday.

The three-time two-wheel champion earned her first win of the season at Atlanta Dragway on May 16 and bounced up two spots, into the No. 6 place in the standings. Now the season has a new look for Savoie.

"It's been a long time getting back here (winner's circle)," Savoie said. "I thought this would never happen again. I was really beginning to have my doubts. But my team gave me a great bike and as far as I am concerned, the curse is over. All I can say is that we're back."

The newfound confidence for Savoie and the U.S. Army Suzuki team might spell trouble for the rest of the category during the 40th annual Pontiac Excitement NHRA Nationals presented by Summit Racing at National Trail Raceway, June 10-13. Larry Dixon, Tony Pedregon, Greg Anderson and Fred Collis are the defending winners in their respective categories for the $2 million race, the 10th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Savoie said the team has made strides each weekend, win or lose. She posted a first-round loss at Gainesville, Fla., and a second-round loss at Houston before taking four win lights at Atlanta.

"The big thing is that we're improving on each run," Savoie said. "After Gainesville we intently worked on our program and the results were there in Houston with me going to the second round and of course, Antron (Brown, teammate) making it to the finals. We just need to keep moving in the right direction and the wins will (continue) to follow."

After earning three consecutive NHRA POWERade championships between 2000-'02 Savoie finished in the No. 2 spot of the final standings in 2003 after claiming three wins in six final round appearances. Brown finished sixth with one victory in two final rounds.

Savoie said the 2004 season could prove to be even more difficult to win multiple races. There have been four winners in the first four races of the season.

"The competition is real tough this year," Savoie said. "There are no pushovers in Pro Stock Bike. Anyone can beat anyone on a given Sunday. So, preparation is quite important if you want to get victories. As far as getting back to winner's circle, getting consistent, overall, will be the key. That goes for the bike as well as me."

Savoie joins Andrew Hines (Gainesville), Karen Stoffer (Houston) and Shawn Gann (Chicago 1) on the list of winners this season. Stoffer became the seventh female in history to win a professional NHRA event when she took the top honors in Houston. Stoffer's first final round appearance was at Reading, Pa., in 2002. She lost to Savoie in the first all-female final round. Savoie - a 32-time winner - said the win was impressive, regardless of gender.

"Karen's win was what it was - a win," Savoie said. "She worked hard to get to winner's circle and she had to beat a lot of good riders to get there. Sure, she is in some select company, no question. But a win is a win, no matter whether it's male or female."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Pedregon , Greg Anderson , Shawn Gann , Karen Stoffer , Fred Collis , Andrew Hines