Shreveport: Von Smith captures Funny Car Shootout

SHREVEPORT, La. - If Von Smith professes that he's in the middle of a jinxed season, he will have a hard time proving it after his most recent performance at the IHRA.Com, a special race-within-a-race at the IHRA Mopar Parts World Finals in ...

SHREVEPORT, La. - If Von Smith professes that he's in the middle of a jinxed season, he will have a hard time proving it after his most recent performance at the IHRA.Com, a special race-within-a-race at the IHRA Mopar Parts World Finals in Shreveport, La. The three-time Funny Car champion from Oak Ridge, Tenn., pocketed a healthy $20,000 for his victory.

Smith topped the record holding Jim Lape in the final round of the prestigeous event.

"This has been a phenomenal day for our team," explained Smith, who captured seven national event wins in 1999. "I owe a lot of this win to my team. They always work plenty hard and whether we would have won or lost this event, we still would have been winners."

Smith ran his winning lap in the left lane, which has been the source of much conversation all weekend for its ability to confuse the most talented of tuners. He posted a 5.906/239.06 in the victory and was actually able to fend off Lape's quicker 5.874/239.74. The tale of the tape was a tremendous .119 starting line advantage in the favor of Smith.

His $20,000 payday was a much needed one. Smith defeated Fredrick Tigges and Rob Atchinson to earn the right to face Lape in the finals.

"I think we already had $12,000 of it spent from our damage from yesterday," explained Smith, who confided that his Funny Car encountered a tremendous rear-end explosion in Thursday's session. "We don't do this thing for a profit anyway, but big checks like that come in handy."

With the IHRA.com Shootout complete, Smith will turn his attention to Saturday's final eliminations, where he must keep pace with current points leader Scott Weney, if he hopes to successfully defend his world championship.

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