Baytown: Matt Smith preview

HOUSTON '08 PSM CHAMP MATT SMITH EYES REPEAT KING, N.C. (March 24, 2009) - Matt Smith, rider of the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle, is aiming to repeat his 2008 victorious performance at the NHRA Spring Nationals this...

HOUSTON '08 PSM CHAMP MATT SMITH EYES REPEAT

KING, N.C. (March 24, 2009) - Matt Smith, rider of the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle, is aiming to repeat his 2008 victorious performance at the NHRA Spring Nationals this weekend by winning his first national event for his new team, Don Schumacher Racing.

Smith started off the 2009 season qualifying No. 1 at the class' season-opener in Gainesville, Fla., and going to the final round. Although a loss of power on the Suzuki resulted in a runner-up finish, Smith, crew chief Steve Tartaglia and team owner Don Schumacher were encouraged by the results.

"Our approach for Houston is the same as it was for Gainesville," said Smith, the 2007 PSM champion. "We're going out there and try to qualify No. 1 and put this DSR Nitro Fish Suzuki in the winner's circle. We were close last race.”

As for what happened in Gainesville, "I talked to Steve last night and he said he didn't find anything really wrong with that motor,” he said. “We're just going to stick another one in and go full force from there.

"Houston's been a good track for me," added Smith, who was low qualifier in Houston back-to-back in 2007-2008. "I guess we'll wait and see how I run on the Suzuki there."

With one race under his belt riding a Suzuki for DSR this season after switching from a Buell, Smith thinks he's got the 'hang of it.' "It took me a pass or two to get used to the shift points because the Suzuki runs 4000 rpm higher. All in all, I think I've adjusted fairly quickly. I guess Gainesville kind of showed that, coming out and being the No. 1 qualifier.

"Our biggest goal right now is to go out and win. I think the learning curve is over, and Steve and I have to work together and make this bike as fast as we can and do as much as we can and see how soon we can win a race on it.

"Don seemed really excited after the race in Gainesville. I know Steve is really excited about what we've done in testing and the first race. So are (crew members) Tom (Patsis) and Jason (Jones). They had such big smiles on their faces. Being consistent on the tree and going rounds is what's going to lead this Nitro Fish Suzuki team to a win really soon and to run for the title this year."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Don Schumacher , Steve Tartaglia , Matt Smith