NHRA record-holding Top Fuel couple raced against each other for the fourth time this season in NHRA Top Fuel eliminations MADISON, Illinois, June 29, 2003 -- Rhonda Hartman-Smith and fellow teammate and husband, John "Bodie" Smith, competed ...
NHRA record-holding Top Fuel couple raced against each other for the fourth time this season in NHRA Top Fuel eliminations
MADISON, Illinois, June 29, 2003 -- Rhonda Hartman-Smith and fellow teammate and husband, John "Bodie" Smith, competed against each other for the fourth time this season in the second round of Top Fuel eliminations at the Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals, an NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event, at the Gateway International Raceway.
Hartman-Smith crossed the finish line ahead of Smith and posted a 5.28-second elapsed time at 270 mph over Smith's 5.62-second elapsed time at 253 mph. Hartman-Smith competed in the first round of Top Fuel eliminations against the number one qualifier, Kenny Bernstein, and took the win with a 4.93-second elapsed time at 294 mph over Bernstein's 6.23-second elapsed time at 133 mph. Smith met competitor Paul Romine during round one of Top Fuel competition -- Smith earned the win light with a 5.038-second elapsed time at 278 mph over
"It's exciting to go head-to-head against my husband," comments Rhonda Hartman-Smith. Hartman-Smith continues, "Both the FRAM and Prestone crewmembers have been working like crazy servicing both team cars and we're now able to go out and make consistent passes every race. I am looking forward to competing in my first NHRA semifinal match-up of the season and excited about moving back into the NHRA POWERade Top Ten points standings."
The Smith/Hartman-Smith pair met on the starting line at three previous NHRA races this season. Their most recent encounter was at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at the Houston Raceway Park -- Hartman-Smith and her FRAM Top Fuel Dragster earned the win light by one thousandth of a second with a 4.814-second E.T. at 295 mph over Smith and the Prestone yellow machine's 4.815-second E.T. at 295 mph. Although mere inches separated the two cars, Hartman-Smith officially won the race by a holeshot (she had a quicker reaction time at the starting line to the Christmas Tree than her opponent).
The husband-and-wife duo also ran head-to-head at The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the SummitRacing.com Nationals. Hartman-Smith took the win yet again with a 5.55-second E.T. at 252 mph over Smith's 6.44-second E.T. at 134 mph. The pair had their first encounter of the season at the MAC Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida -- Smith earned the win that round with a 4.61-second E.T. at 296 mph over Hartman-Smith's 4.78-second E.T. at 285 mph. Smith continued on to compete in his career-first final round against Brandon Bernstein.
Both drivers recently posted career-best finishes -- Hartman-Smith became the "Quickest Female On Earth" to cover the quarter-mile drag strip in 4.56-seconds (316.23 mph) and Smith earned his career-best speed of 325.77 mph on the same day at the Lucas Oil NHRA Route 66 Nationals at the Route 66 Raceway in Chicago, Illinois.
The couple made NHRA history last season in Reading, Pennsylvania, as the first husband-and-wife to race each other in a professional category. They completed the season as the first husband-and-wife to finish in the prestigious Top 10 NHRA POWERade championship points standings (Hartman-Smith earned the no. 9 spot and Smith earned the no. 10 spot).