Norwalk: Von Smith finals report

NORWALK, OHIO-Von Smith had a great start against Scott Weney but couldn't finish his rival off, and it cost him as the two best funny-car drivers resumed their war for the IHRA's 2000 points championship during Saturday night's final in the ...

NORWALK, OHIO-Von Smith had a great start against Scott Weney but couldn't finish his rival off, and it cost him as the two best funny-car drivers resumed their war for the IHRA's 2000 points championship during Saturday night's final in the Mopar Parts World Nationals.

For a moment, it appeared Smith was going to beat Weney for the second straight week and the third time in four races. The Tennessean cut a great light in his Atomic City Tool-Nitro Fish Trans Am, bolting from the Christmas tree in .424 seconds to a .467 for Weney.

Suddenly, the three-time and current defending Funny Car champion was fighting to keep the car from turning right into the wall. The struggle continued for the rest of the Norwalk Raceway Park quarter-mile. Smith hit the timing traps with an elapsed time of 5.991 seconds at 235.19 mph to the 5.899/236.75 for Weney.

Yet, the margin of victory for Weney was just .049 seconds or about 17 feet, but it was enough to keep the No. 2 driver from nibbling into his lead that started the weekend at 26 points.

Smith also had his hands full in the semi-finals, but the result was much better when he beat Billy Gibson 5.940/235.19 to 6.039/238.30. The margin of victory was .0565 seconds or about 20 feet, and the difference came at the starting line where Smith cut the better light (.458 to .467).

In the second round, Smith deep-staged unintentionally, yet drilled Jim Lape on the tree but had some problems around half-track. Still, he came home with another 5.90 to win easily. Smith almost repeated his qualifying time in the first elimination heat against Larry Dobbs with his 5.940 seconds at 235.19. Smith didn't need those kinds of numbers since Dobbs coasted to a stop around half-track.

Now, Smith will have two weeks to formulate his strategy for the next meeting with Weney during the Sept. 8-10 Parts Pro North American Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

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Series Drag
Drivers Scott Weney , Billy Gibson , Von Smith