Sonoma: Matt Smith final report

MATT SMITH TAKES NITRO FISH SUZUKI TO SONOMA SEMIFINALS SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - Matt Smith rode the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle straight to a semifinal finish at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals today at...

MATT SMITH TAKES NITRO FISH SUZUKI TO SONOMA SEMIFINALS

SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009) - Matt Smith rode the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle straight to a semifinal finish at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals today at Infineon Raceway.

Qualifying No. 2 for the event, Smith advanced to the semifinals after first defeating Bailey Whitaker with a 6.887-second pass at 193.96 mph as Whitaker fouled out, then outran Jim Underdahl with a 6.981/189.26, despite Underdahl's stellar reaction time of .013 (.000 is perfect).

Smith's day ended in the semis when he faced Harley rider and points leader Andrew Hines. They both took off with strong reaction times, but Smith's solid 6.999/190.22 was no match for the 6.929/193.77 produced by the powerful V-rod under Hines. Hines then went on to beat his V-rod teammate Krawiec in the final round. Smith held on to No. 3 in the point standings, behind the two Harley riders Krawiec and Hines.

"It was a good day for this Don Schumacher Racing Nitro Fish Suzuki," said Smith. "Team morale was a whole lot better, we ran good all weekend, and ran low ET of the meet first round.

"Maybe the tune-up was off a little in the semis, but we don't know," he added. "Maybe the motor was going away. We did the best we could. I'm proud of Steve (Tartaglia, crew chief), I'm proud of (crew members) Jason (Jones) and Tom (Patsis). Everybody did a good job.

"You just can't run with those Harleys. We're running for third place. If we can keep going to the semifinals, we'll be all right. We'll be in the Countdown and maybe NHRA will do something (about the dominating Harleys) before the Countdown starts.

"I went up there with the mentality first round that we just wanted to turn the win light on. I went up there and squeezed the heck out of the clutch and won the round. Did that again second round and turned the win light on.

"When I had to go for it in the semis I had an .030 light against Andrew, but it just wasn't enough when those guys can adjust throttle stop and go as fast as they want when they want."

Next up for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class is the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 14-16.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Andrew Hines , Don Schumacher , Matt Smith , Jim Underdahl , Bailey Whitaker