Angie Smith on the Wrong End of a Big Go Photo Finish
CLERMONT, Ind. – There are no good losses, but some are far more gut-wrenching than others. In Rd. 1 of eliminations Monday at the 57th Annual Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals, NHRA Full Throttle Series Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran Angie Smith experienced one of those. After qualifying 12th with a run of 7.012 seconds on Sunday, Smith was paired up with Brainerd class finalist Hector Arana Jr. The young second-generation racer has been racing well all season and Angie knew she had her work cut out for her.
A remarkable reaction time of .009 seconds gave her an early lead, but Arana's bike quickly caught up. Smith's Buell raced side-by-side with Arana and, at the line, the North Carolina native lost in a photo finish by a mere .002 seconds. Arana would go on to win his first-ever PSM race facing surprise finalist Jerry Savoie.
"I made a good run, but just didn't run my 60 foot good," Smith said. "I do think we learned a lot this weekend with three bikes that we can use for the rest of the year."
Smith was referring to Michael Bay, driving a third Matt Smith Racing Buell for the Big Go. Unfortunately, Bay missed the cut. Angie's bike was tuned by her husband, former class champion and event winner Matt Smith, who qualified second and was upset in the first round by No. 15 qualifier Jim Underdahl. Now, Angie's mission is to win rounds and help her husband earn his second NHRA Full Throttle Series Pro Stock Motorcycle championship. "For the rest of the season, my job is to block for Matt and get him a second title."
The next event for Angie Smith is at her home track at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., for the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.