Commerce: Matt Smith final report

MATT SMITH ADVANCES TO SEMIS IN ATLANTA, HANGS ON TO POINTS LEAD COMMERCE, Ga. (April 19, 2009) - Nitro Fish Suzuki rider Matt Smith hung on to his Pro Stock Motorcycle points lead after advancing to the semifinal round of the NHRA Southern ...

MATT SMITH ADVANCES TO SEMIS IN ATLANTA, HANGS ON TO POINTS LEAD

COMMERCE, Ga. (April 19, 2009) - Nitro Fish Suzuki rider Matt Smith hung on to his Pro Stock Motorcycle points lead after advancing to the semifinal round of the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. In that match-up against reigning champion Eddie Krawiec, Smith halted abruptly after launching at the starting lights as a result of a suspected electrical problem.

En route to the semifinals in a day filled with intermittent rain delays, Smith disposed of Steve Johnson with a round-best 6.893-second pass at 194.49 mph, a speed that nearly matched his career-best 194.63-mph run in the final qualifying session on Saturday. The King, N.C., resident then dismissed Hector Arana with another strong 6.915/192.36 in the quarterfinal.

In the semifinal round he coasted through the 60-ft. timing sensor and stalled on the track after cutting a .032-of-a-second reaction time (.000 is perfect).

"First round we had an .04 light, went 6.89; the second round we had an .05 light and went .91. We were right where we needed to be," said Smith, who is still seeking his first win of the season. "I know my .03 light in the semis was there and obviously something went wrong and it shut the bike off when I let the clutch out.

"We have a good bike, it's going straight now (after the wheelie bars were repaired), but it looks like something electrical jumped up and bit us. We'll find the problem, we'll work at it, we'll get this Don Schumacher Suzuki right for Nitro Fish and we'll be ready for St. Louis.

"We qualified No. 3 this weekend and we won two rounds, and even though we got beat in the semifinals we're still the national-record holder (6.865 seconds, set in Las Vegas two weeks ago) and the points leader, so we can't hang our heads low.

"This Nitro Fish Suzuki team is THE best team out here and we'll be back. If we need to test we'll go test."

Next up is the 13th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis, Mo., May 1-3.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Johnson , Matt Smith , Eddie Krawiec