Monday, June 4, 2012

Savoie and White Alligator Racing making slow progress and looking for more

The 43rd annual Toyota NHRA SuperNationals showed some improvement but did not live up to the ultimate expectations of the White Alligator Racing team (WAR). Last season at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, then-rookie rider Savoie was a menace to the field as he powered to a career-best 6.836 at 192 mph, was the No. 3 qualifier, and disposed of Mike Berry and Justin Finely en route to the semifinals, where he lost a close race with Karen Stoffer.

This time around, Savoie was aboard his White Alligator Racing S&S-powered Buell, a bike that he debuted earlier this year and has been working with his team to coax into a competitive spirit. The Suzuki is still on the truck while the team has been searching for the right chemistry with the Buell to reclaim the power that brought them a top 10 finish in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series standings last season, but so far they have yet to tap into what they are seeking.

The weekend began with back-to-back 7.00 and 7.01 passes during the first two rounds of qualifying, and Savoie picked up the pace and dipped into the six-second zone with 6.954 and 6.983 runs on day two of the event. A start from the No. 14 position aligned the alligator farmer from Cut Off, La., with Hector Arana Jr. for the first round of eliminations on raceday.

Savoie, as usual, was quicker off the starting line, but something soon went wrong on the run and the engine powered down abruptly, thrusting the rider forward with great momentum and then slowing to a stop. Arana surged ahead for the win light.

“We still aren’t sure what caused it, but we think it might have been a cam sensor,” said Savoie. “Both cylinders are still there, they have compression and everything, it just shut off.

“We’re very disappointed, and this is not where we want to be after doing so well last season. The bike is actually running better than it did early this year, but it’s having some computer issues, and we don’t know what’s causing it – and that is very frustrating because we’ve tried everything. It’s a struggle, especially because we know the bike is fast; it’s been fast in testing. We have major, major issues, and we’re going to be doing everything we can to work those out very soon.”

The next race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle riders will be the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago June 28 – July 1. 

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