NHRA record-holding Top Fuel husband-and-wife team raced each other for the third consecutive race this season. BAYTOWN, Texas, April 13, 2002 -- Rhonda Hartman-Smith and fellow teammate and husband, John "Bodie" Smith, competed against each...
NHRA record-holding Top Fuel husband-and-wife team raced each other for the third consecutive race this season.
BAYTOWN, Texas, April 13, 2002 -- Rhonda Hartman-Smith and fellow teammate and husband, John "Bodie" Smith, competed against each other for the third consecutive NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event -- the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at the Houston Raceway Park.
Hartman-Smith and her FRAM-sponsored Top Fuel Dragster earned the win light by one thousandth of a second with a 4.814-second E.T. at 295 mph over Smith and the Prestone yellow machine's 4.815-second E.T. at 295 mph. Although mere inches separated the two cars, Hartman-Smith officially won the race by a holeshot (she had a quicker reaction time at the starting line to the Christmas Tree than her opponent). Hartman-Smith advanced to the second round of Top Fuel eliminations, but was defeated by Brandon Bernstein's Budweiser Top Fueler (Bernstein delivered a 4.58-second E.T. at 319 mph over Hartman-Smith's 4.68-second E.T. at 300 mph).
"It's exciting to go head-to-head against my husband," comments Rhonda Hartman-Smith. Hartman-Smith continues, "I didn't realize that I was quicker off the starting line -- it's hard to tell while you're actually in the car racing. Both the FRAM and Prestone crewmembers have been working like crazy servicing both team cars and we're now able to go out and make consistent passes every race."
The Smith/Hartman-Smith pair previously met on the starting line last weekend at The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the SummitRacing.com Nationals. Hartman-Smith took the win yet again with a 5.55-second E.T. at 252 mph over Smith's 6.44-second E.T. at 134 mph. The duo had their first encounter of the season two weeks prior at the MAC Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida -- Smith earned the win that round with a 4.61-second E.T. at 296 mph over Hartman-Smith's 4.78-second E.T. at 285 mph. Smith continued on to compete in his career-first final round against Brandon Bernstein.
Both drivers recently posted career-best finishes -- Hartman-Smith ran her career best speed of 323.66 mph at the SummitRacing.com Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada and Smith earned his career-best elapsed time of 4.54-seconds (318 mph) at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Baytown, Texas.
The couple made NHRA history last season in Reading, Pennsylvania, as the first husband-and-wife to race each other in a professional category. They completed the season as the first husband-and-wife to finish in the prestigious Top 10 NHRA POWERade championship points standings (Hartman-Smith earned the no. 9 spot and Smith earned the no. 10 spot).