Gainesville: Matt Smith final report

MATT SMITH DEBUTS WITH DSR AS RUNNER-UP IN GAINESVILLE GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2009) - Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki rider Matt Smith made his Don Schumacher Racing debut at the Pro Stock Motorcycle season-opening NHRA Gatornationals by...

MATT SMITH DEBUTS WITH DSR AS RUNNER-UP IN GAINESVILLE

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2009) - Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki rider Matt Smith made his Don Schumacher Racing debut at the Pro Stock Motorcycle season-opening NHRA Gatornationals by earning runner-up honors after qualifying No. 1. He faced Hector Arana in the money round, but fell short when the Suzuki bogged down on power.

Smith, the 2007 PSM champion who joined DSR this season, first disposed of Ryan Schnitz with a 6.959-second elapsed time at 190.43 mph, then sent home Steve Johnson with a 7.021/186.82 in the quarterfinal.

He faced his nemesis and three-time PSM champion Andrew Hines in the semifinal round and handily dismissed him with a 7.039/187.86 pass. "In 2007 I beat him every time," said Smith. "In 2008 I never beat him at all. We started this year out beating him first race, so maybe there's more of that to come."

In the final, Smith had the edge in reaction time, posting a .056 (of a second) light to Arana's .076, but it was immediately clear that the Suzuki under him was losing power as he trailed Arana to the finish line, setting a losing 7.133/185.51 lap to Arana's victorious 6.977/191.40.

"We had a really good weekend for our first time out," said Smith following the race. "We qualified this Nitro Fish Suzuki No. 1 in our debut with DSR and we got to the finals. We just have a little more to learn as a team, and that includes the rider and tuner, everything. We'll do a better job as the year progresses.

"It just slowed up," he explained. "We won't know for sure what happened until Steve (Tartaglia, crew chief) gets back to the shop and looks at the motor. The motor might have gone away, or our tune-up was off a little bit. I don't know. We'll just have to get back and look at everything and Steve will let me know. He'll bring me a good piece back to Houston and we'll try to go win us one there.

"It looks like Hector is going to be good this year. We have to go do our job and just focus on our program and go to the next race."

-credit: dsr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ryan Schnitz , Andrew Hines , Steve Johnson , Don Schumacher , Matt Smith