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NHRA pre-race: Angelle & CVEC Suzuki team set sights on a Mile-High three-peat

Event: 23rd Annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals
Location: Bandimere Speedway, Morrison, CO
Date: July 19-21, 2002

Angelle Savoie
Star Racing Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle
2000 & 2001 Pro Stock Motorcycle Champion

1.  Angelle & CVEC Suzuki team set sights on a Mile-High three-peat 

From the moment she took the controls of the Star Racing Suzuki at the 1996 
Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, Angelle Savoie has been a force to be 
reckoned with in the NHRA's Pro Stock Motorcycle division.  Although she 
initially gained notoriety for being a female rider in a male-dominated 
sport, her on-track performance quickly erased any doubts as to her 

"It was really by chance that my first race was in Denver.  George (team 
owner Bryce) had originally planned for me to make my debut at an AMA ProStar 
race in North Carolina, figuring there would be less pressure than at an NHRA 
national event.  However, a hurricane canceled that race.

"But then Jackie Bryce suggested we go to Bandimere, since it was one of our 
slower races.  Ironically, there had never been a female competitor before in 
Pro Stock Bike, and then in Denver, three of us showed up at the same time.

"What I'm most proud of from that first race was that we weren't there to be 
a sideshow - we showed up to win.  We were the second Star Racing bike, 
running their No. 3 engine, and we made it all the way to the semi-finals."

Four races later, Angelle gave notice of her future greatness, capturing her 
first No.1 qualifying performance and scoring her first national event win, 
defeating the legendary Dave Schultz in the final round at Reading, Pa.  Her 
competitors soon learned that the young lady from Louisiana they had shrugged 
off as a novelty was in fact a fearsome opponent, and found themselves 
scrambling to find a way to keep up.  Within two years, Angelle and the Star 
Racing team were legitimate championship contenders, falling just shy in 1999 
before finally capturing the crown in 2000.

"When I first sat down with George, I naively told him I thought we could 
challenge for the championship in our first year together.  But in my first 
few seasons with Star Racing, I found out there was a lot more involved.  For 
example, we were the second Star Racing bike, and we didn't have sponsor, so 
I learned everything about the financial aspects of running a race team, 
watching George and Jackie fund the team out of their pocket.

"I also had to get used to handling things off the track, such as dealing 
with the media and the fans, or even my fellow competitors.  I used to worry 
a lot about what people thought of me, and it distracted me from doing my job 
on the bike.

"But we finally reached the point as a team where we decided not to worry 
about what other people were saying, concentrating instead on our racing.  
From that point on, things really began to click." 

Six years after that initial pass down the Colorado quarter-mile, Angelle and 
the Star Racing team return to Bandimere Speedway for next weekend's race.  
Now firmly entrenched in the NHRA record books and clearly the team to beat, 
their success in Denver mirrors their title status, as they are chasing not 
only a third consecutive Mile-High Nationals win, but also their third 
consecutive NHRA championship (and first under the POWERade banner).

"Up until three years ago, I approached the Mile-High Nationals as Matt's 
(Hines) race.  After all, even though they were our biggest rivals, this was 
their home track, and they were used to running in the thin air up here, 
while our team was from down in Georgia. While we saw Gainesville and Atlanta 
as our races, Matt's team was supposed to win here.

"But our mindset changed in 2000.  We came in here determined to not let 
anything stand in our way, and we won.  Ever since that point, this has 
almost become our race, and the fans seem to get a real kick out of our 
winning.  We're hoping to add a third straight Mile-High win this year with 
the CVEC Suzuki."

However, Angelle and the CVEC Suzuki team are quick not to get ahead of 
themselves, preferring to focus on the task at hand.  After all, they realize 
the best way to ensure that the championship remains with Star Racing is to 
continue their string of strong performances established in the first half of 
the season.  

"I looked at the POWERade standings recently, and noticed that Jim Yates is 
leading in Pro Stock even though he hasn't won a race.  People have started 
to ask if it would be possible to win the championship without winning a 
single event.  To be honest, that almost wouldn't seem right to me.  I 
certainly want to win the championship, but right now, my main focus is 
winning the next race.

"Our goal at Star Racing is to end the weekend in the winner's circle every 
time we unload the CVEC Suzuki.  That's what we think of when we get to the 
track.  After all, if you win races, the points and the championship will 
take care of themselves."

2. In Angelle's Words -

 On racing in the thin air at Bandimere Speedway -

"I find the easiest way for me to explain running in the thin air to my 
friends is to compare it to jogging.  The best time to go out for a run is 
when the weather is cool and dry.  The same holds true for a Pro Stock 
Motorcycle.  Unfortunately, the conditions at Bandimere are the exact 
opposite.  For example, the air in Denver is 16% oxygen, compared to 21% 
everywhere else.  This presents George with a tremendous challenge in tuning 
the bike.  

"The conditions can affect me as well.  Even though we're going slower, it's 
actually harder to drive the bike.  I shift at different points on the track, 
and the heat and lower oxygen can make it difficult to concentrate.  I have 
to make sure to drink plenty of fluids, and to stay focused. We're going to 
get to town a few days early to do a little sightseeing, and hopefully get a 
little more used to the conditions before we start racing."

On her outlook for the second half of the 2002 NHRA POWERade season -

"I've managed to keep track of the points this season without letting it 
distract me.  Although we're happy to be in front going into the second half, 
we have to keep our guard up.  Teams will be trying hard to move up, and in 
doing so could make mistakes.  We have to make sure not to fall into the same 
trap, and keep doing things the way we have in the first half."

3. Facts on Angelle & Star Racing entering Bandimere Speedway -

-   This will be Angelle's 7th appearance at Bandimere Speedway, where she 
and the Star Racing team will look to score their third consecutive win, 
having taken home the trophy in 2000 & 2001

-   One year ago, Angelle qualified 3rd in Denver, and defeated Joe DeSantis, 
GT Tonglet, Matt Hines and Antron Brown en route to the title.

-   Angelle has a 13-4 elimination round record at Bandimere, with a 
semi-final finish (1996) and one runner-up performance (1998) to go with her 
two wins. 

-   Angelle will be looking to score back-to-back wins for the sixth time in 
her career, having last accomplished the feat in the fall of 2001 when she 
won the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and the Pep Boys Nationals 
in Reading, Pennsylvania.

-   Angelle has recorded three consecutive victories at the same track once 
in her career, winning the Englishtown event in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

-   Angelle recorded the quickest elapsed time in Pro Stock Motorcycle 
history at 7.049 seconds on May 18, 2002 in Englishtown, N.J., bettering the 
previous record by five hundredths of a second.

-   After seven of 14 Pro Stock Motorcycle national events, Angelle leads the 
NHRA POWERade Series Points standings with 703 points, ninety-nine points 
ahead of second place Craig Treble.

-   Angelle's 25 national event wins are the most ever by a female driver in 
NHRA Drag Racing competition, and is fourth on the all-time Pro Stock 
Motorcycle win list.  Angelle is also tied for 14th on the all-time NHRA 
professional win list with Gary Scelzi.

-   Angelle has qualified in the top half of the elimination ladder (eighth 
or better) at every one of the 83 races in which she has competed in her Pro 
Stock Motorcycle career.

-   Angelle's twenty-five career victories have come at thirteen different 
tracks.  The only two facilities on the 2002 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle 
schedule where Angelle has yet to reach the winner's circle are Brainerd and 
Sonoma, where the bikes will race for the first time in 2002.

-   Angelle has not suffered a first-round setback since August 22, 1999 at 
Brainerd, Minn.  That span of 40 races represents the longest streak in the 
history of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing, a mark Angelle shares with Pro Stock 
legend Bob Glidden.

-   Angelle has won 22 of her last 53 national event starts, has appeared in 
29 final rounds and owns a 141-31 (.820) elimination round win record during 
that span.  In that same period, she has also recorded 23 low qualifier 

-   Angelle's .775 (200-58) elimination-round win percentage ranks second 
among all active drivers, trailing only Matt Hines (.782).

-   Angelle's seven national event wins in 2001 are the most ever in a single 
season by a female competitor in NHRA history. 

-   Star Racing Suzuki owner George Bryce made his 103rd career final round 
appearance as an owner at this year's Sears Craftsman Nationals in Madison, 
Il.  Bryce has accomplished this feat with six different riders: John Myers 
(56), Angelle Savoie (39), Jim Bernard (3), Steve Johnson (3), Fred Collis 
(1) and Bryce himself (1).

-   Angelle's fastest career pass: 192.44 mph, May 14, 2002, Englishtown, New 

2002 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle
Points Standings (after 7 of 14 events):

1.  Angelle Savoie -    703
2.  Craig Treble  - 604  (-99)
3.  Antron Brown -  545   (-158)
4.  Shawn Gann -    492   (-211)
5.  Matt Hines   -  476  (-227)                 
6.  Geno Scali -        370  (-333)
7.  Reggie Showers  -   328  (-375) 
8.  Mike Berry -        311  (-392)
9.  John Smith -    307  (-396) 
10.  Steve Johnson -    261   (-442)                

2002 K&N Filters Pro Bike Klash Points Standings

1. Angelle Savoie -     1845
2. Matt Hines -     1745    (-100)
3. Shawn Gann -     1685    (-160)
4. Antron Brown -   1615    (-230)
5. Craig Treble -       1560    (-285)
6. Mike Berry -         1375    (-470)
6. Reggie Showers-  1375    (-470)
8. Geno Scali -     1370    (-475)
9. Steve Johnson -  1080    (-765)
10. Joe DeSantis    -    935    (-910)

Television Coverage:
    Qualifying:  Saturday, July 20, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. (ESPN)
    Eliminations: Sunday, July 21, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
In addition, the NHRA2Day weekly magazine show will air from 11:00 - 11:30 
a.m. on Sunday, July 21 on ESPN2.