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Oct 02, 2012 - 06:34 AM
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2012 NHRA: Promising Run Countered By Surprising Foul Start For Jerry Savoie On Raceday At Gateway Motorsports Park
Posted by: newsla on Oct 02, 2012 - 06:29 AM
2012 NHRA: Promising Run Countered By Surprising Foul Start For Jerry Savoie On Raceday At Gateway Motorsports Park

Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Jerry Savoie, a second-year competitor in NHRA's Full Throttle Series, had never before raced in St. Louis, and after competing at this past weekend's AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, he can say that he has a fair take on the facility for the future – and a good baseline for what should be a very fast race at the next stop on the tour.


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During qualifying, Cut Off, La.-based alligator farmer Savoie never ran slower than a six-second pass, clocking 6.95, 6.98, 6.90, and 6.94-second runs across the four quick sessions. Between the two days of qualifying, Savoie's White Alligator Racing team changed engines in their Suzuki Hayabusa, and the 6.90 that came up on the scoreboard in the first session on Saturday was one of the high-points of the season for the team who has been after a round-win all year long.

On raceday, the Mark Peiser-led group felt that they had a bike to be reckoned with, and a start from the No. 11 position and a first-round meeting with veteran rider Chip Ellis had them on full alert. The last time the two riders met in the opening round was in 2011 in Dallas, when Savoie axed Ellis en route to a semifinals finish.

Savoie, typically notable for his excellent starting line performances, was too quick by .019-second at the hit and fouled away a 6.95 to Ellis' winning but troubled 7.09.

"I was calm and collected," said Savoie. "But when I rode on the throttle, the bike actually rolled forward about two inches. You can see it in the video, and what caused it – whether I did it or the clutch did it – I don't know. I do know that there were four red-lights ahead of me in the right lane, and there were red lights behind us, too. Maybe the roll out was different than normal, but the bike rolled forward a little bit, and that was just enough. It's one of those deals, you don't like it but we'll go on to the next one."

Savoie, who missed three consecutive races before returning in Dallas last week, will next pilot his White Alligator Racing Suzuki in Reading at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at historic Maple Grove Raceway Oct. 4-7, 2012.

"We made one pretty good pass in St. Louis, so we'll see how we do," said Savoie. "We have a good engine, we just have to find what we're looking for. We don't have too many chances left – I know for sure that I'm going to Reading, but I'm not sure what will happen after that. Really, I'm just disappointed for all of the people who watch and cheer for us. We haven't won a round all year long, so I'm really hoping that in Reading we'll get lucky and go a couple rounds."

Crew chief Mark Peiser feels that the team is on the right path, and that many elements are correct in their combination.

"We're way behind where we want to be, but it's a step in the right direction," said Peiser. "Jerry's doing a good job driving the bike, and we're slowly gaining on it. I think we've got a mid-6.80 in this bike, for sure a high 6.80, and we're just not getting it out of it. We'll learn from this and move on. For now, I'm going back to the shop in Indy to work on a motor that we hurt on Friday. I think we're all looking forward to racing at Maple Grove – it's always fast there, and that makes it exciting."

Jerry Savoie, White Alligator Racing Suzuki Hayabusa
Qualifying position: 11th
First round results: Chip Ellis (7.090-seconds at 159.16) defeats Jerry Savoie (foul start, 6.958 at 189.63)

Oct. 4-7, Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals, Reading, Pa. (Philadelphia area)
Oct. 25-28, Big O Tires NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas
Nov. 8-11, Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.

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