Veteran NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Chip Ellis will be in command of the White Alligator Racing Suzuki at the first two events of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series while Savoie continues to recover from minor surgery conducted during the off-season. They also announced a partnership with Vance & Hines, who will provide the power for the WAR Suzuki in 2013.
Ellis will ride the WAR Suzuki as a stand-in for Savoie at the Auto-Plus NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville – the Pro Stock Motorcycle season-opener – and again at the next race on the schedule, the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte.
"I'm feeling fine, and I'm definitely on the road to recovery, but the doctors recommended that I don't jump right back on the motorcycle," said Savoie, who recently underwent surgery to eliminate bone spurs in his neck. "It's tough for me to sit still for too long, but I'm going to respect their wishes so that I can be 100% when it's time for me to get back on the bike. In the meantime, we feel that Chip was the right choice for us as a fill-in rider, and he's a friend of ours. I think he'll do a great job, and he has a lot of experience with the Vance & Hines product. We know he'll be an asset to our team, and we appreciate him coming on board for Gainesville and Charlotte."
Ellis launched into a two-wheeled career in 1998 and became a decorated rider in multiple motorcycle series. He ventured into the extremely competitive world of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle competition in 2004 and was immediately a stand-out rider with a win at the fall race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and several No. 1 qualifier awards. Ellis has seven wins in 10 final rounds and finished a career-best third in the series standings in 2007. He has successfully commandeered Suzuki and Buell Pro Stock Motorcycles over the course of his career.
"Bringing Chip over to ride with us for the first two races is just one of a lot of great things we have happening for Team WAR. We made big, positive changes over the off-season," said new crew chief Tim Kulungian. "We moved our race shop down from Indy to Birmingham, Ala., closer to Jerry's alligator farm, and we also decided to move in a new direction by partnering with Vance & Hines for an engine program. We are just thrilled with the possibilities that this partnership can provide. The resources that Vance & Hines has, and the level of service that they are able to provide, is unparalleled. This is a whole new era for this team, and we all see great things in our future."
Savoie agreed and said, "Man, this class is tough, but we've always wanted to be the fastest Suzuki out there. We've always believed it was possible, but now we have a better shot at it than ever before. To say that I'm looking forward to the season and getting back on my White Alligator Racing Suzuki is a huge understatement. I can't wait."
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