Englishtown: Matt Smith preview

SUZUKI RIDER MATT SMITH HAS MIXED E-TOWN MEMORIES KING, N.C. (June 11, 2009) - Matt Smith, rider of the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki for Don Schumacher Racing, has mixed memories of his racing times at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in ...

SUZUKI RIDER MATT SMITH HAS MIXED E-TOWN MEMORIES

KING, N.C. (June 11, 2009) - Matt Smith, rider of the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki for Don Schumacher Racing, has mixed memories of his racing times at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., where he'll compete this weekend in the sixth event of 17 in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle category.

Smith, new to Don Schumacher Racing this season, crashed there in 2003 and won in 2006.

"Englishtown has been good and bad for me. In 2003 I qualified there in the first run and hit the wall going through the lights and I was out the rest of the year. Then we came back and won it in 2006.

"I'm excited to be racing at Raceway Park again," said Smith, who reached the semifinal round there last year, then lost to Chip Ellis. "The last time I won that race my dad (Rickie Smith) was there, my mom was there, my whole family was there on Father's Day weekend. And my dad will be there this weekend racing a Pro Mod car. Maybe we can bring the magic back again, although it's not Father's Day this time."

Smith's season so far has had its ups and downs. He led the point standings early on, went to one final round and two semifinals and set a national record. But the performance of the Suzuki tuned by crew chief Steve Tartaglia has given the team headaches. Smith has slipped to third place, but is just two points out of second place and 53 short of first.

"We can't figure out why the bike is so inconsistent right now," said Smith. "On one pass it is, on the next pass it isn't, even when we don't make any changes. So, Steve and the rest of the Nitro Fish team are working hard on figuring out the problems and getting us back on track."

As for the parity between the Harleys in the class and the Buells and Suzukis, now that NHRA has added 20 pounds to the Harleys, "I think parity is fine right now," said Smith, “although I don't think the Harleys are showing their full hand right now, and I don't think they will for a while. They're where they need to be; they're one and two in the points. I think they'll start showing it again come Indy (the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend).

"We hope we can get a win this weekend in Englishtown, then spend Father's Day next weekend with Dad and the family on the lake at home."

-credit: dsr

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