Sonoma: Angelle Savoie finals summary

Angelle's Sonoma weekend comes to a premature end. The Pro Stock Motorcycles made their final eliminations debut at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, and Angelle Savoie and the Star Racing team wasted little time in making a statement. After ...

Angelle's Sonoma weekend comes to a premature end.

The Pro Stock Motorcycles made their final eliminations debut at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, and Angelle Savoie and the Star Racing team wasted little time in making a statement.

After qualifying second, Angelle faced No. 15 qualifier Greg Underdahl in the first round of the Fram-Autolite Nationals. The result was never in doubt, as the Star Racing Suzuki blistered the quarter-mile in 7.073 seconds, lowering the track record set earlier in the weekend by three hundredths of a second. Angelle's 192.52 mph top speed was also a new career best for the POWERade points leader.

"The 7.07 we ran in the first round was a result of the changes we made for our last qualifying run," detailed Angelle. "We learned some things about our Star Racing Suzuki that we applied for the first round, and the results speak for themselves."

Star Racing's domination continued in the second round, as Angelle's 7.101-second elapsed time in defeating Mike Berry was again the quickest of the round. Incredibly, all was not well, as the engine misfired late in the run, forcing Angelle to shut off early, as evidenced by her 182.01 mph top speed.

This set the stage for a semi-final encounter with Craig Treble, Angelle's closest pursuer in the points. However, it was soon evident that the Star Racing entry was not up to par, as it once again started to misfire during the burnout. Although Angelle staged as if everything were normal, immediately after launching, the bike ran intermittently, slowing to a 9.940 second elapsed time and prematurely ending the team's weekend.

"In second round Angelle felt the bike backfire late in the run, and thinking it had blown up, she shut it off," explained team owner George Bryce. "When we got back to the pits, we immediately started working to swap engines. However, when we looked at the computer, everything seemed normal, and when I went out and checked the engine, all four cylinders had plenty of compression. We did find one problem in the ignition, which we fixed. To be honest, I felt pretty confident heading into the semis.

"But right after the burnout, it started to sputter, and I knew we were in trouble. I told Angelle to go up and stage, hoping Craig would red light, but he just didn't oblige.

"I think it says a lot about this team that we consider making it to the semi-finals a bad day. But that is just how competitive we are. We are out here to win races and championships for ourselves and the people who support us like Snap-On Tools and Suzuki. Today was just a bump in the road. Our sights are now set on Brainerd."

Angelle's comments at the end of the day echoed those of her team owner, although she did want to make sure and recognize one key ingredient of this inaugural Infineon Pro Stock Motorcycle race.

"The Star Racing Suzuki was just not meant to be in the finals today," concluded Angelle. "Although we're naturally disappointed, we realize the problem we had with the bike was really not preventable. As George said, we'll put today behind us and start focusing on Brainerd.

"However, I really want to thank the fans here in Sonoma. This was our first race here, and I've never been treated better. They made all the motorcycles feel welcome, and really got into our racing. I can't wait to come back next year."

Fast Facts:

- Angelle's 7.073-second elapsed time in the first round was the quickest in Pro Stock Motorcycle for the weekend, marking the 25th time she has set the low elapsed time of the event. It also set the Infineon Raceway track record.

- Angelle's 192.52 mph top speed in the first round was a new career best, eclipsing her 192.44 mph effort at Englishtown, NJ in May of this year. This was also the top speed of the meet in Pro Stock Motorcycle, marking the seventh time she has accomplished that feat in her career.

- Angelle has led the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle standings following 40 of the last 51 national events, dating back to the beginning of the 1999 season. She has been ranked first or second an amazing 57 of the last 61 events, dating back to the fourth event of 1998.

- By defeating Greg Underdahl in the first round, Angelle extended her NHRA record for consecutive first round wins to 42. Angelle has not lost in the first round since falling to C.J. Smith in Brainerd, Minn. in August of 1999.

- Angelle's .774 (205-60) elimination round win percentage ranks second among all active drivers, trailing only Matt Hines' .786.

-sr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Mike Berry , Craig Treble , Greg Underdahl