Sixth World Title Within Reach For Matt Smith
Sixth World Title Within Reach For Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Matt Smith at Auto Club NHRA Finals
The finishing touches are all that’s left of what Matt Smith hopes is his sixth Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship, a number that would tie him with Andrew Hines and Dave Schultz for the most in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series history.
But it’s not official yet, which means Smith knows the job isn’t quite done heading into this weekend at the 57th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at legendary Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Smith currently leads Joey Gladstone by 104 points heading into the finale in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, meaning he has a sizable lead but not enough to officially clinch the title.
That could come as early as a first-round victory if qualifying goes well for Smith on his Denso Auto Parts Buell, but the standout remains as focused as ever as he closes in on a historic achievement.
“I feel comfortable and confident heading into a track where we’ve done really well,” said Smith, who has five career wins in Pomona. “I’m just going to come in with the mindset of running my race and try to stay focused on winning. If I do my job, we’ll be okay. There can be a lot on your mind, but I’m going to rely on my experience, and we’ll see what happens.”
He’s picked up four wins this season, including one in the playoffs, and advanced to three finals in the postseason, taking control down the stretch in a class that had been back and forth for most of the year. Gladstone has enjoyed a breakout year with three victories but would need an incredible weekend – plus a significant slip-up from Smith – to claim his first world title. That may be difficult considering Smith’s track record in Pomona, where he’s managed to win the race and clinch the world title on the same weekend three different times.
“It’s huge to win the race and win the championship all in the same weekend,” Smith said. “We’ve done it numerous times and we’ve got a good tradition of being able to do that. Hopefully, we can do it again. The first half of the year we tested a lot of different things, but it’s one of those deals where you have to stay focused and do your job.”
Smith will have to contend with a number of top-tier riders, including Gladstone, his wife, Angie, Angelle Sampey, Eddie Krawiec and Jerry Savoie, but the longtime star is solely focused on making history. That’s driven him all year and with a pursuit of a sixth world championship nearly complete, Smith is eager to finish the job.
“It would mean a lot to get a sixth title and be in the all-time club with Andrew and Dave,” Smith said. “I grew up watching Dave race and he was one of my mentors. I wanted to be like him. All in all, it’s been a good deal to get to this point and I’m excited to hopefully put my name in that hat.”
Race fans at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the Auto Club NHRA Finals event winners and world champions.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Pomona. This unique opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family. The new Pep Boys midway display includes tire change challenges, oil change challenges, a slot car track, and much more, adding even more excitement to the midway.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 12:00 and 3:15 p.m. PT on Friday, Nov. 11, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. PT on Sunday, Nov. 13. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 2:00 p.m. ET. on Sunday, leading into eliminations at 4:00 p.m. ET.
To purchase tickets to the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.nhra.com/tickets. Children 12 and under are admitted free in general admissions areas with a paid adult. For more information about NHRA, visit www.nhra.com.
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Camping World, headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois, is America’s leading retailer of RVs and related products and services, offering an extensive assortment of recreational vehicles for sale, RV and camping gear, RV maintenance and repair, other outdoor and active sports products, and the industry’s broadest and deepest range of services, protection plans, products and resources. Since the Company’s founding in 1966, Camping World has grown to become one of the most well-known destinations for everything RV, with more than 170 locations in 38 states and a comprehensive e-commerce platform. For more information, visit www.CampingWorld.com. Camping World’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CWH”.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 22 national events featuring the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, SAM Tech.edu Factory Stock Showdown and Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley Series. Twice a year, NHRA hosts a ‘race-within-a-race,’ during the JEGS Allstars and Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Bike Battle specialty competitions. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. With over 120 Member Tracks, NHRA allows racers to compete at a variety of locations nationally and internationally. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing-related careers. NHRA’s streaming service, NHRA.tv, allows fans to view all NHRA national events as well as exclusive features of the sport. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
About Camping World Holdings, Inc.
Camping World Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Lincolnshire, IL, (together with its subsidiaries) is America’s largest retailer of RVs and related products and services. Our vision is to build a long-term legacy business that makes RVing fun and easy, and our Camping World and Good Sam brands have been serving RV consumers since 1966. We strive to build long-term value for our customers, employees, and shareholders by combining a unique and comprehensive assortment of RV products and services with a national network of RV dealerships, service centers and customer support centers along with the industry’s most extensive online presence and a highly trained and knowledgeable team of associates serving our customers, the RV lifestyle, and the communities in which we operate. We also believe that our Good Sam organization and family of programs and services uniquely enables us to connect with our customers as stewards of the RV enthusiast community and the RV lifestyle. With over 185 locations in 40 states, Camping World, and sister company Gander RV, have grown to become prime destinations for everything RV. For more information, visit www.CampingWorld.com.