With both Steve Johnson and Matt Smith knocked out of competition in the 2nd round, Angelle Sampey looked to be the favorite to repeat in Thunder Valley.
Jerry Savoie was not willing to play along and won the Wally after both drivers red lighted in the final round, with Sampey being the first to do so, eliminating her from the final.
Savoie almost didn’t make the Pro Stock Motorcycle final after wounding an engine in the semifinals but the White Alligator team thrashed hard. They elected to replace their four-valve engine with their older two-valve combination and Savoie was rewarded with the 14th win of his career. The final numbers included a 6.909 for Sampey and a 6.929 for Savoie.
“We blew up the engine in the third round and thanks to NHRA and Vance & Hines for waiting on us,” said Savoie, who was forced to miss the most recent event in Richmond after breaking a toe. “I usually don’t let things get to me and I put my faith in my crew, who did a motor swap in 32 minutes.”
Savoie has been known to get emotional after wins (and losses) and this race was no exception, since it landed on Father’s Day.
“This is for my dad, Blue, who we lost years ago,” Savoie said. “His blood runs through my veins and gives me the need for speed. I’m 63 and to be out here running with all these youngsters and pretty girls is amazing. I just wanted to win one race and now I’ve got 14 and a championship, I’ve been blessed. This was an awesome weekend and I don’t think I could ask for anything more. I said I wouldn’t cry but I’ll be damned if I didn’t get down there and cry.”
See the full story and recap by Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor:
See the news and notes from Sunday:
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Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals – Norwalk, Ohio