Gainesville: Matt Smith Friday notes

MATT SMITH TAKES NO. 1 IN GAINESVILLE FRIDAY PSM QUALIFYING GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 13, 2009) - In his first official assignment as rider of the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle for Don Schumacher Racing, Matt Smith claimed...

MATT SMITH TAKES NO. 1 IN GAINESVILLE FRIDAY PSM QUALIFYING

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 13, 2009) - In his first official assignment as rider of the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle for Don Schumacher Racing, Matt Smith claimed the No. 1 spot in Friday qualifying for the PSM season-opening NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. Two more rounds of qualifying on Saturday will determine the final 16-bike lineup for Sunday's eliminations.

In only his eighth run down the quarter-mile in the Nitro Fish Suzuki, which included seven test runs earlier this week in Valdosta, Ga., Smith posted a 6.945-second pass at 189.44 mph in the first session, followed by a 7.051/183.92 in the second.

"If we can continue that tomorrow we'll be good," said Smith. "This Nitro Fish Suzuki that Don Schumacher put together is pretty awesome. I have to thank everybody on the team and Don for giving me the chance to do this.

"We left three or four hundredths (of a second) on the table first run. So, if the conditions are the same tomorrow we should run a .90 or .91. We left some on the table, rider and tuner. If both of us do a little bit better job tomorrow morning I think we might still be on the pole."

As for his switch from owning his own team to being a hired rider, "As long as I get to race, I don't care who owns the team or who pays the bill," he said. "I had to do it on my own a couple of years, but Don has given me the opportunity and everything they've done is fabulous, just outstanding and I'm ticked to death with our team.

"(Crew chief) Steve Tartaglia built some really good horsepower and our two crew guys, Tom (Patsis) and Jason (Jones), are doing an awesome job. I think the more we race this year we'll jell and I think we're going to be really fast.

"This is not the Hayabusa motor," he explained. "They're working on that. We have a new body at the shop, new bike, everything. We're hoping to debut it in the fourth or fifth race of the year."

-credit: dsr

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