Joliet: Matt Smith final report

SUZUKI RIDER SMITH ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS IN JOLIET; SLIPS TO THIRD IN POINTS JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2009) - Matt Smith rode the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki to the quarterfinals of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class today at the NHRA Route 66...

SUZUKI RIDER SMITH ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS IN JOLIET; SLIPS TO THIRD IN POINTS

JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2009) - Matt Smith rode the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki to the quarterfinals of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class today at the NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Following an engine change overnight, No. 4 qualifier Smith defeated No. 13 Mike Berry in the opening round of eliminations with the quickest pass of the round, a 7.010-second lap at 183.82 mph.

He then faced his nemesis Andrew Hines in the second round in a dramatic contest. While Hines posted a .001 reaction time (.000 is perfect) Smith uncharacteristically fouled out with a -.044. Hines claimed the win with a 7.158/180.65 while Smith's 7.167/176.97 was disqualified.

Smith slipped to third place in the point standings, and is now two markers behind Andrew Hines and 53 behind leader Eddie Krawiec.

"First round we ran really well," said Smith. "We put a fresh motor in the bike and had low ET of the round. I rode well and had a good light in the first round (.050). I came up for the second round and I knew that I had Andrew Hines and I didn't think I pushed it that much. I didn't try to push it. I don't know why I went red. I never do that. I just don't and I hate that I did that.

"We also don't know why the engine slowed up that much. If I would've had a perfect light, we still wouldn't have won that round. So, it kind of makes it feel better than if we would've gone out there and run a 6.99 and had low ET of the round and put on the red light. We'll regroup and go to Englishtown.

"I feel bad for Don (Schumacher, team owner). We were the only team left for him up here at his home track (after both Top Fuelers and three Funny Cars went out in the first round), and it just didn't pan out. (Crew chief) Steve Tartaglia and the guys will go back home to Brownsburg, Ind., and freshen everything up and we'll head to Englishtown next week. I'll try to get my head out of my butt and go out there and have some good lights and go get'em.

"I just want to win so bad and it's been so long since I've won. Over the last three years this has been the longest I've been into a new season without winning a race. In 2007 I won in St. Louis (fourth event of year) and in 2008 I won Houston (second event of year). I really want to win. I want to get a win for this team and I know it'll come. Hopefully sooner rather than later." Smith has 10 career national-event wins in 21 final rounds.

Next up is the NHRA Supernationals in Englishtown, N.J., June 12-14.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Berry , Andrew Hines , Matt Smith , Eddie Krawiec