Reading: Matt Smith preview

AFTER MONDAY BRAINERD TESTING, ALL IS GOOD IN MATT SMITH'S WORLD KING, N.C. (Aug. 20, 2009) - Matt Smith and the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle team spent the Monday after last Sunday's NHRA Nationals at Brainerd ...

AFTER MONDAY BRAINERD TESTING, ALL IS GOOD IN MATT SMITH'S WORLD

KING, N.C. (Aug. 20, 2009) - Matt Smith and the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle team spent the Monday after last Sunday's NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway making test runs down the quarter-mile dragstrip trying to determine the cause of their recent mechanical issues. By Tuesday the problem was solved and they're ready to attack the quarter-mile at Maple Grove Raceway, outside of Reading, Pa., at this weekend's 25th annual NHRA Nationals, where he won the event last year.

Smith and the Nitro Fish team, tuned by Steve Tartaglia and racing the quickest Suzuki on the circuit behind the dominant Harley-Davidsons, experienced problems during qualifying and the first round of eliminations in Brainerd, which even an engine change did not fix.

"We made six passes testing on Monday," said Smith, who is third in the point standings and has clinched a berth in the Countdown to 1 playoffs, which begin following the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day. "We only made one quarter-mile pass, but we we went to at least 1000 feet every time. We were trying to get everything right and I think we've accomplished it. We discovered it was the clutch disc.

"Based on our eighth-mile and 1000-foot numbers, we would have been the second quickest bike during the weekend in Brainerd. We wouldn't have outrun Hector Arana (winner of the event in a Buell, whose quickest pass was 6.944 seconds), but we would have gone 7-flat.

"We had a disc in the clutch that went bad on us and it kept shutting the bike off. On Monday we didn't change the motor, didn't change anything else except we went out and stuck another cutch in the bike and it went out there and ran well. We came back later that evening and put the same clutch back in that gave us the problem to make sure, and it did it again.

"I'm really glad we got it fixed. I think this all started in Sonoma in E2. The clutch was locked up pretty much there and in E3 we slowed up even more. It just got worse from there and we just kept slowing up. It looks like it was the clutch and nothing else.

"So, I'm looking forward to going to Reading. It's the home race for Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear (owner Kenny Koretsky is from Richboro, Pa.), and we're the defending event champion. I hope we can put all the stuff that we've had happen to us this year behind us and get some good karma finally and go run well. We need a confidence booster. We need it for Don Schumacher, we need it for Suzuki, we need it for Nitro Fish, and we need it for me. I need a big confidence booster for the next race."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Koretsky , Steve Tartaglia , Matt Smith