Gateway: Von Smith finals notes

MADISON, Ill. - Von Smith's car is adorned with livery that suggests, "If it's too loud, then you're too old." Smith, 38, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., likes all the noise and excitement of NHRA Federal Mogul Funny Car as he wheeled the Jensen Audio ...

MADISON, Ill. - Von Smith's car is adorned with livery that suggests, "If it's too loud, then you're too old."

Smith, 38, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., likes all the noise and excitement of NHRA Federal Mogul Funny Car as he wheeled the Jensen Audio Pontiac to yet another impressive showing. This time, he recorded a strong semi-final finish at the Sears Craftsman Nationals in Madison, Ill., to add to his growing resume' of three divisional wins and a prestigeous Federal Mogul All-Stars Championship, which came last week in Columbus, Ohio.

The former Alcohol Funny Car World Champion is still in a state of shock at how successful his debut in Federal Mogul Funny Car has been.

"This is great," explained Smith, who is still seeking his first NHRA national event title. "We felt like we could be a player this season, but what has transpired for us in the Jensen Audio machine has us all in a state of shock. Naturally, I wanted to win this weekend, but I'm not going to cry and whine over what I don't have. I am going to be thankful for what I do have. To be second in the points going into this race is a dream come true."

Smith held nothing back in qualifying as he nearly jumped to the top of the qualifying pecking order with a 5.722, 250.32. The former alcohol Funny Car champion missed by a mere .01 of second of scoring his first NHRA Federal Mogul pole position.

That didn't deter the hard-charging Smith from wanting to take out any possible frustrations against first round opponent Randy Fleming. Per the NHRA competition schedule, the first round of eliminations takes place on Saturday. Fleming was a no-show and Smith used the opportunity to lay down the quickest lap of the first round with a 5.74, 250.13.

In the second round of eliminations, Smith met up with Steve Gasparrelli. Gasparrelli was slightly quicker off of the line and his race went downhill from there. The Jensen Audio machine offered him no mercy as Smith whizzed by to record a 5.734, 251.58 victory.

The competition did not get easier for Smith as he met up in the semis against Marc White, the driver that he defeated in the finals of the Federal Mogul All-Stars competition just one week earlier.

This time it was White's turn to secure victory as he used a 5.787, 250.32 to fend off Smith's quicker 5.734, 251.54.

-VSR

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Series NHRA
Drivers Von Smith