WHITE ALLIGATOR RACING TEAM REPORT
EVENT WRAP UP – NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS
JULY 27-29, 2012
The 25th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals offered a dramatic departure from the sweltering conditions last weekend in Denver, and a return to sea level, accentuated by pleasant weather conditions in Sonoma, set the stage for quick times and a lot less guess work for the tuners. For Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Jerry Savoie, racing on two consecutive weekends provided the opportunity to get back to having some fun aboard the White Alligator Racing Suzuki.
Second-year professional rider Savoie, who launched into the 2012 season aboard a Buell V-Twin, opted to temporarily garage the Buell in favor of the Suzuki Hayabusa that he and his team – including crew chief Mark Peiser and advisor Tim Kulungian – believe is a very fast motorcycle. The decision immediately showed results, as Savoie qualified well in Denver and had a shot at going rounds on raceday before an unsightly red-light halted his quest in the first round.
Revived and excited by the performance of their WAR machine, Savoie and company arrived in Sonoma aiming to be the quickest Suzuki on the property. Their aspirations were nearly realized during qualifying; Savoie had the other Suzuki riders beat on the first day of the event with a 6.965 at 192.66 mph followed by an improved 6.950, 189.10. The alligator farmer from Cut Off, La., and fellow Suzuki rider Karen Stoffer commanded the only two motorcycle to improve in the second session.
Savoie was quicker than his friendly rival by .005-second on Friday, but day two saw Stoffer take the lead with a 6.90. Savoie was not far behind with a qualifying-best 6.925, 191.70 that would place him in the No. 7 spot heading into raceday.
For the first round of eliminations, Savoie was paired with No. 10 qualifier Scotty Pollacheck, a rider he had yet to face on raceday in his still young career. Savoie ran close to his best time of the weekend and clocked a 6.932 at 193.10 mph, but Pollacheck picked up .09-second from where he started and wheeled his way to a winning 6. 875.
"We just missed it," said Peiser. "We didn't do the job that we're capable of doing, but every race you pick up more information. We're learning; it's evolution."
Savoie, currently 13th in the Full Throttle Series Pro Stock Motorcycle standings, is taking a new approach to the remainder of the season.
"I'm not thinking about the points right now," said Savoie. "To get in the top 10 is a great accomplishment, but do I live for that? Absolutely not. I have to be realistic, and what happened this weekend pretty much put us out. Last weekend when I red-lighted in Denver, that made it hard. This weekend made it even harder, so we're going to look at it like this: it's no big deal. We'll just go on to the next one.
"We're going to run the Suzuki in Brainerd and go and have some fun. I just want to go a couple of rounds. Once you get on that roll and you start winning rounds, it all comes. We know we have a fast bike; we all know it's there."
The next Full Throttle Series event for the Pro Stock Motorcycle riders will be the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 16-19, 2012.
About White Alligator Racing
Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Gerald "Jerry" Savoie and his White Alligator Racing (WAR) team made their professional debut in NHRA's Full Throttle Series in 2011. Savoie – who owns and actively participates in the daily operation of his alligator farm in Louisiana – qualified for every race on the tour in his rookie season and reached the final round at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. He was also a front-runner for NHRA's Road to the Future award and finished in the top 10 in the series standings. Team WAR's stable has included a Suzuki TL, a Suzuki Hayabusa, and an S&S-powered Buell. Savoie founded WAR with the hope of raising awareness of the eroding coastlines of Louisiana, hence the team's motto: "Racing to Save Our Wetlands."
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