Championship Drag Racing


O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals
Baytown, Texas
(April 15-18)

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Angelle Savoie
U.S. Army Suzuki
Pro Stock Bike

Reports:
Sunday
Saturday
Friday
Pre-race



Brown's runner-up finish highlights Army effort

Houston, Sunday: Antron Brown, handling the controls of the United States Army Suzuki, lost in the Pro Stock Bike finals here Sunday to Karen Stoffer in the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

In other action, Tony Schumacher, driver of the United States Army Top Fuel dragster, lost a second round match up to Larry Dixon, while Brown's U.S. Army Pro Stock Bike teammate, Angelle Savoie, also lost in the second round to Geno Scali.

Schumacher, who disposed of Bruce Litton in the opening round with a 4.588-second pass at 318.32 mph, had his tires go up in smoke just beyond the 60-foot mark against Dixon and that was all she wrote.

"It's a shame," said the 1999 Top Fuel world champion. "Truth be told, we kind of struggled all weekend with tire shake. It reared its ugly head again against Dixon. You can't make those kind of mistakes against a team like that. You have to be right on your game. But, we'll learn from what happened here in Houston and correct things for Bristol in two weeks."

Despite the second round exit, Schumacher will maintain his lead in the Top Fuel standings heading into the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol.

"I guess that's somewhat comforting, but the season is still young," added the Chicago native. "You just don't want to start digging yourself a hole with these type of performances. We'll figure it out."

Brown, who qualified second, took care of Josh Helvie and Shawn Gann in the opening two rounds, then beat Scali in the semis. But, he couldn't overcome the final hurdle in Stoffer.

"We would have preferred to win, but getting to the finals today was a big step," said Brown. "I'm happy with the direction we're heading in and I look forward to the next race."

Brown's final round performance moved him into fourth place in the Pro Stock Bike point standings.

Savoie beat Fred Collis in the first round when the latter fouled at the starting line, but she couldn't get by Scali in round two.

"I was primed to take on Geno, but I missed a shift early on in the run and that cost us," said the Louisiana native. "The good news is we're making positive strides with our program and we'll be better by the time we go to Atlanta next month."

Brown and Savoie will hit the track again, May 13-16, in the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.

Army team ready to roll

Houston, Saturday: Antron Brown slipped to the second starting spot in the Pro Stock Bike class for Sunday's running of the O'Reilly Spring Nationals here at Houston Raceway Park.

After taking the provisional pole on Friday, the United States Army Pro Stock Bike rider was edged out by two one thousands of a second for the top position in the last qualifying session on Saturday.

Separately, Brown's Pro Stock Bike teammate, Angelle Savoie, improved to 11th following her fourth qualifying run, while U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster pilot, Tony Schumacher, held on to the third starting spot.

Brown will take on 15th-place qualifier, Josh Helvie, in the first round of eliminations.

"I'm a little disappointed we couldn't stay number one," said the Indianapolis resident. "But, we have to put that aside and get prepared for race day. We want to go four rounds tomorrow."

Savoie, aboard her U.S. Army Suzuki, was able to move up in the Pro Stock Bike order with a couple of solid qualifying passes on Saturday. She will face sixth-place qualifier, Fred Collis, in the first round.

"We just have to race our race and not worry about who is in the other lane," the three-time world champion said. "We have to get our bike dialed in so we can go rounds. That's the priority."

Schumacher, after a couple of tire-smoking qualifying passes on Saturday, will square off with 14th-place qualifier, Bruce Litton, in round one on race day.

"We had some trouble with tire shake in both runs today," said the Chicago native. "We'll be fine tomorrow. I'm confident this Army team will rise to the occasion, like it always does."

Schumacher came into the event with a 110-point lead over second-place, Brandon Bernstein, in the Top Fuel standings.

Brown No. 1, Savoie 15th in Houston

Houston, Friday: Antron Brown took center stage from his United States Army NHRA Racing teammates here Friday by taking the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot in Pro Stock Bikes for the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

In other action, Tony Schumacher, who drives the United States Army Top Fuel dragster, grabbed the third qualifying spot, while Brown's Pro Stock Bike partner, Angelle Savoie, settled into the 15th slot.

Brown, piloting his United States Army Pro Stock Bike, posted a 7.074-second pass at 187.94 mph to grab the number one position heading into the final two qualifying sessions on Saturday. The run was a track record.

"It feels good," said the New Jersey native. "The team has been working real hard and putting in long hours to get our program moving forward. It's finally paying off."

Should Brown hold on to the top spot it will be the first time since the 2001 Brainerd, Minn., race that he's paced the field into race day.

Savoie, on the other United States Army Pro Stock Bike, had issues during both of her qualifying passes. Her best trip down the quarter-mile was 7.236-seconds at 183.77 mph, good for 15th.

"We got a bit out of the groove in the first run, then had some clutch slippage in the second pass," said the three-time Pro Stock Bike world champion. "We'll get it right tomorrow. We need to get out of the bottom half of the field."

Savoie, Brown look for improvement

Both Angelle Savoie and Antron Brown will be trying to cast aside the disappointment absorbed at the Mac Tools Gatornationals in March. While Brown posted a decent start to the season by qualifying sixth and losing in round two, Savoie had to fight her way into the field after a qualifying crash, then got beat on a hole shot in the first round.

"I would just like to forget Gainesville and move forward," said Savoie, the three- time Pro Stock Bike world champion. It was a bad weekend all the way around and we can only get better from this point on. We're determined to do that very thing starting in Houston."

"I'm very optimistic for this weekend," said Brown. We think we found the gremlins that have been bothering us. We'll be more competitive, I'm certain of that."

Savoie is the defending O'Reilly Spring Nationals Pro Stock Bike champion.


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