ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

NHRA: Savoie ready to regain winning ways at BIR

At 58 years old, it's not that Jerry Savoie doesn't care. He just doesn't care about what others think. The White Alligator Racing Suzuki rider will defend his Lucas Oil Nationals Pro Stock Motorcycle championship Friday through Sunday, Aug. 17-1...

Jerry Savoie waits to speed down a drag strip earlier this season. The NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle driver will attempt to defend his title Friday through Sunday Aug. 17-19 when the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals hits Brainerd International Raceway.
Jerry Savoie waits to speed down a drag strip earlier this season. The NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle driver will attempt to defend his title Friday through Sunday Aug. 17-19 when the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals hits Brainerd International Raceway. NHRA Photo

 

At 58 years old, it's not that Jerry Savoie doesn't care. He just doesn't care about what others think.

The White Alligator Racing Suzuki rider will defend his Lucas Oil Nationals Pro Stock Motorcycle championship Friday through Sunday, Aug. 17-19, when the NHRA visits Brainerd International Raceway.

Up to this point, however, it hasn't been an easy ride for the Louisiana alligator farmer who sits in fifth place in the motorcycle standings. He is qualified for the Countdown to the Championship, but mechanical issues are keeping him from celebrating.

---   ---   ---   ---   ---

ADVERTISEMENT

Jerry Savoie

  • Ride: White Alligator Racing Suzuki
  • Crew chief: Tim Kulungian
  • Hometown: Cut Off, La.
  • Last year at BIR: Won the Pro Stock Motorcycle division
  • Current standing: Fifth

---   ---   ---   ---   ---

"I think we have a good team and a good tuner," Savoie said. "The whole entire team clicks pretty well, but the problem we've really been struggling with, and it's not a secret, we've been suffering with some crankshaft issues. Vance & Hines have been working really, really hard to try to solve these problems. Hopefully this weekend we'll show some promise.

"In Sonoma the LE (Tonglet) bike went into the 70s, mine couldn't go past 85 and it's because we were having some issues and you could definitely tell the difference between the two bikes.

"It's been a problem for a year. Trust me, they've been working really, really hard at the shop to try and figure it out."

While it might seem weird the two guys Savoie is chasing in the standings, Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec of Vance and Hines Racing, are the ones trying to figure out his crankshaft issues, Savoie disagrees and again could care less what others think.

"Even though we're racing against Eddie and the gang over at Vance and Hines, they've been working really hard to get us back into the show because without any competition for the Harleys there is no Pro Stock class," Savoie said. "It goes away. It gets them excited to have something to run against. Like in Sonoma for LE to do what he did, he won a holeshot, but the other one he just flat out outran him. That's pretty cool. That's what it's all about."

Tonglet, Savoie's Suzuki teammate, is coming off a victory at Sonoma in which he topped Krawiec in the semifinals and topped Hines in the finals for his second win of the year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Savoie has one win, which came at Charlotte in the division's second week of racing. He had back-to-back finals appearances at Norwalk and Denver, but he hasn't qualified well and with five quarterfinals or less exists he's 153 points out of first place.

"It's really critical and it's great we don't race the full season," Savoie said. "I'm not going to lie to you, we would be in really, really big trouble right now-big trouble. Between this race, they've been working hard to get these two engines back together so when we get to Brainerd we can get at."

Savoie wants to win, there's no questioning that. He just isn't going to worry about things just yet. He's coming to a place where he enjoyed great success last year. He qualified No. 2 and posted consistent speeds (192 or better) and times (6.8) throughout the ladder before beating Tonglet in the final.

"When we first got there, we were running different engines and we were barely qualified," Savoie said. "In the last round of qualifying, we took a good motor we had from my bike and a good motor from Lee's and both qualified in the top half of the field. We had the proper tune-up with those two engines and we both made it to the finals."

If things don't turn around at BIR, Savoie still isn't going to worry. When he won the Pro Stock Motorcycle division title in 2016, he started the Countdown in the middle of the pack. He's not afraid to grind out as many points as he can get in order to get back on top of his division.

One reason for his hard-working, but laid-back attitude is his age and his life experiences. Savoie didn't start racing until he was 51 and isn't about to let a crankshaft issue wreck his season. Racing is fun for him. Winning is even more fun and he'll look to recapture that feeling at BIR.

"What I see is I'm more relaxed," Savoie said. "I don't have any sponsors. I don't have anybody to answer to but myself and I think that takes a lot of pressure off of me to not worry about how we perform. Do I want to win? Absolutely, but do I worry about what other people think? I don't care. It just doesn't matter to me."

ADVERTISEMENT

1xrbzsjxpq7v6g9bmspwwuigrcwm3fa42.jpg

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
What To Read Next
Hull was a five-time 50-goal scorer, led the NHL in goalscoring seven times, twice won the Hart Trophy and was voted a First-Team All-Star on the left wing 10 times.
The Central Lakes College Raiders faced Itasca Saturday, Jan. 28.
The Central Lakes College Raiders traveled to Grand Rapids Saturday, Jan. 28.
Former Brainerd Warrior Olivia King is enjoying her senior season as a member of the University of Minnesota Gopher women's hockey team.