Rockingham: Rickie Smith event report

Valspar Viper and Rickie Smith qualify 13th; defeated by Shannon Jenkins in quarter finals of eliminations, ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - - Rickie Smith, from King, N.C., qualified his Valspar Refinish, Bucks County Kawasaki, KPK Motorsports backed Dodge...

Valspar Viper and Rickie Smith qualify 13th; defeated by Shannon Jenkins in quarter finals of eliminations,

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - - Rickie Smith, from King, N.C., qualified his Valspar Refinish, Bucks County Kawasaki, KPK Motorsports backed Dodge Viper in the 13th qualifying position with a pass of 6.289 seconds at 217.63 mph during the season-opening IHRA Holley Spring Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts at 'the Rock' -- Rockingham Dragway. This matched Smith against the 2001 IHRA Pro Mod Champion Mike Janis, from Lancaster, N.Y., in Sunday's first round of eliminations.

Janis, who qualified fourth, spun the tires and Smith streaked to the win light in 6.385 seconds at a speed of 217.95 mph. Janis' '63 Chevy Corvette replica-bodied Pro Mod could only manage a run of 9.409 seconds at 93.78.

Moving to the second round, Smith met head-to-head with Shannon Jenkins, from Tuscaloosa, Ala. The pair met last weekend at Gainesville Raceway, in Gainesville, Fla., in the NHRA Pro Mod category, an exhibition class on the NHRA circuit. For the second straight week, Jenkins came away with the win. Smith shook the tires and Jenkins motored right down Broadway for the victory.

With all the shimmy and shake, Smith could only muster a pass of 8.633 seconds at 102.81 mph, while Jenkins hooked up for a winning time of 6.289 seconds at 221.49 mph.

Smith, who is both a driver and a crew chief on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and a driver-owner on the IHRA circuit, reflected on the weekend. "All drivers want to win each time out, but all-in-all I'm still happy with our outing this weekend. My Valspar Refinish/Bucks County Kawasaki did all I asked of it.

"Once again I want to thank Kenny Koretsky for the opportunity to race my Pro Mod car. 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."

In addition to driving his Pro Mod Viper, Smith's primary job is handling the crew chief duties on one of the two Team Mopar Pro Stock Neon R/Ts fielded by Nickens Racing and driven by three-time NHRA Pro Stock Champ Darrell Alderman.

The IHRA Holley Spring Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts Pro Mod title went to Al Billes, of Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Billes defeated Jenkins in the final round.

Next up for crew chief Smith is the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway which takes place April 4-7. He will return to the Pro Mod wars April 11-14, at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas, the second of 10 events on the AMS Pro Mod Challenge.

-rsr-

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Series Drag
Drivers Mike Janis , Darrell Alderman , Shannon Jenkins , Kenny Koretsky , Rickie Smith , Al Billes