Smith Dominates Pomona to Earn Third Title
Matt Smith would put in a dominating performance at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona to earn his third NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship and set a new national record in one of the most thrilling finishes in NHRA history.
In what can be viewed as an instant-classic, Smith would outduel Eddie Krawiec in a winner-take-all final round to secure both the event win and the title, his first since 2013. “This is absolutely amazing, I honestly can’t believe it,” said an elated Smith. “I have so many people to thank right now. Honestly this is still surreal for me.”
Smith came into Auto Club Dragway in Pomona as the points leader but with six riders still mathematically eligible for the crown, there was no margin for error. However, Smith would kick the weekend off by immediately claiming the top spot in his first qualifying run and would never relinquish it, securing the number one qualifying position and setting the stage for his historic performance on race day.
After defeating Angie Smith, Hector Arana and LE Tonglet, Smith would get to the final round where he would save his best for last. In his title-clinching run, Smith would also reset the national speed record in the process, piloting his Elite Motorsports DENSO Auto Parts EBR to a time of 6.765 seconds at a record 201.22 mph to put an exclamation point on his unbelievable 2018 season.
Smith would claim four wins on the year including three in the countdown as well as earn five No. 1 qualifiers. His late-season surge was a fitting end to a roller-coaster year that saw Smith begin 2018 on another team’s bike before ending the season in victory lane with his new EBR. “We’ve been fortunate to be able to work with some awesome companies that have helped us get here including Elite Performance, Denso Auto Parts and Lucas Oil. Without their support, this would not have been possible.”