Team Koretsky - KPK Motorsports: Kenny Koretsky -- Owner IHRA Drag Racing Series ValsparÂ® Refinish/Bucks County Kawasaki Pro Mod Viper Driver: Rickie Smith Busy defines Rickie Smith Opens 2002 IHRA season in Valspar Refinish/Bucks County...
Team Koretsky - KPK Motorsports: Kenny Koretsky -- Owner
IHRA Drag Racing Series
Valspar® Refinish/Bucks County Kawasaki Pro Mod Viper
Driver: Rickie Smith
Busy defines Rickie Smith
Opens 2002 IHRA season in Valspar Refinish/Bucks County Kawasaki Pro Mod Viper at Rockingham
Rockingham, N.C. - - If you're looking for one individual to be the poster boy for the word "busy," then you would have to look no further than Rickie Smith.
Smith, from King, N.C., not only does double duty on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, but opens his IHRA 2002 season this weekend at 'the Rock' -- Rockingham Dragway -- with primary backing for his Pro Mod Viper from KPK Motorsports, owned by veteran drag racer Kenny Koretsky, Valspar Refinish and Bucks County Kawasaki, located in Bristol, Penn.
Last weekend at Gainesville Raceway, in Gainesville, Fla., Smith qualified his Valspar Viper seventh in the NHRA Pro Mod category, an exhibition class on the NHRA circuit, then lost to Shannon Jenkins in the opening round of the Mac Tools Gatornationals.
Smith, a five-time IHRA Pro Stock Champion, faired far better in his primary job as the crew chief on the Team Mopar Pro Stock Neon R/T fielded by Nickens Racing and driven by three-time NHRA Pro Stock Champ Darrell Alderman. The tuning expertise of Smith propelled Alderman to the winner's circle.
How hard is it for Smith to hold down three full-time positions in drag racing?
"I don't even think about it," says Smith. " I've been racing for a long time now. Some say too long. Long hours and hard work just are part of what we do to win.
"Juggling the two different cars has been a battle. Fortunately, the Pro Stock Neon and the Valspar Pro Mod Viper are two different cars. You've got to run them so much different that it doesn't interfere with the way I think. That helps me a lot, not having to think why doesn't the Neon do the same thing as the Viper. I can look at each car separately.
"I'm fortunate to be able to race the Pro Mod. Kenny Koretsky and his sponsors Valspar and Bucks County Kawasaki have given me the ability to run a limited schedule on both the NHRA and IHRA Pro Mod circuits. My real job is being the crew chief on one of the Nickens Racing two NHRA Pro Stock cars. Driving the Pro Mod is my outlet, my time away from the office."
At Rockingham, Smith feels that the blown Pro Mods have the advantage over the nitrous-assisted group.
" The blower cars have an advantage the cooler it gets. It will be cool this weekend at 'The Rock.' The nitrous cars are already popping cold air into the engine, so with the cool temperatures the blown cars may have as much as a tenth (of a second) in the bank over the nitrous cars this weekend.
"It's going to be tough. I'm going to be happy to qualify here. If I can qualify, have some race day luck and go some rounds, then we'll see where we go from there. Basically, this is not the kind of race conditions that a nitrous car is going to shine at," reflected Smith on the eve of the Holley Spring Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts.