NHRA: Matt Smith Making Impressive Progress

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NHRA Mello Yellow drag racing series

Matt Smith Making Impressive Progress

Two-time Pro Stock Motorcycle Champ Matt Smith Making Impressive Progress Heading To Virginia Nhra Nationals

After picking up his first victory of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and also his first since 2016, two-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith is hopeful it is just the start of a memorable stretch that doesn’t stop anytime soon.

Smith showed impressive progress last weekend in Chicago, running strong numbers throughout eliminations to capture his 19th career victory. Heading to this weekend’s inaugural Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park with renewed confidence on his Victory Magnum, Smith believes there is a golden opportunity to turn that victory into a solid run this summer.

“We’re just trying to win a race and do everything we can to survive out here,” Smith said. “We’ve got good power and we’ve had it the last 2-3 years. This motor is just very, very good and this thing can be really, really fast. When we get the new EBR bodywork, I think we’re going to pick up 2-3 more mph from what I’m understanding, so these guys better watch out when we get it.”

Smith’s season took a significant positive turn last weekend in Chicago, showing just how far he has come in a short time in 2018. He failed to qualify at the season-opening race for the class in Gainesville, but went to the final quad at the four-wide event in Charlotte and posted the lowest E.T. each round during eliminations in Chicago, capped off by his run of 6.816 at 195.87 mph in the final round to beat LE Tonglet. He also dipped into the 6.70s a handful of times, adding another strong building block to the weekend.

“I knew we had a good bike, I just missed the tune-up on Saturday (in Chicago),” said Smith, who is sixth in Pro Stock Motorcycle points. “I learned something, I applied it (on Sunday) and we were the quickest bike every round. It’s just a testament to my crew. These guys have stuck with me the last 3-4 years. We pulled this bike out and didn’t really work on it all winter, and it’s a fast hot rod. It’s hateful and we proved it (Sunday). We’re just very excited and (the win) was big for us.”

The next step is turning that into even more success, both on his bike and the motorcycle his wife, Angie, rides. She is currently 13th in points in a talent-rich class that also includes points leader Andrew Hines, defending world champion Eddie Krawiec, who has two wins this season, Scotty Pollacheck, Hector Arana Jr. and Charlotte winner Jerry Savoie. Smith is thrilled for Pro Stock Motorcycle’s first race at Virginia Motorsports Park in two decades, and he would like nothing more than to meet his wife in the final round in the category’s return to the facility.

“She has a great bike and her time is coming,” said Smith, a King, N.C. native. “We’ve got two fast hot rods. We’re going to be here and they’ll know who we are by the end of the year. We’ve been very fortunate and haven’t hurt a motor in a long, long time. We’ve got very reliable parts and everything is going good for us.”

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com