Brainerd: Matt Smith preview

SUZUKI RIDER SMITH SEEKS SECOND STRAIGHT WIN IN BRAINERD KING, N.C. (Aug. 13, 2009) - In his first season riding the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki for Don Schumacher Racing, Matt Smith has earned the distinction of being the fastest Suzuki...

SUZUKI RIDER SMITH SEEKS SECOND STRAIGHT WIN IN BRAINERD

KING, N.C. (Aug. 13, 2009) - In his first season riding the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki for Don Schumacher Racing, Matt Smith has earned the distinction of being the fastest Suzuki rider in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. He's set national records, was low qualifier once, runner-up once and advanced to the semifinals four times. At this weekend's NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway he'll aim to repeat his 2008 performance at this Northern Minnesota facility by winning his first national event of the season.

He'd also like to repeat as No. 1 qualifier, but it's been a tough season competing against the dominant Harley-Davidsons, who lead the class point standings one-two. Smith trails in third.

"Our goal is still the same as it has been all year; we want to win a race," said Smith, the 2007 Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion, who will likely clinch a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs this weekend. "We figured early on that we were probably going to be in the Countdown and in the top 10 in points, but we really need to get a win under our belts for the Don Schumacher Racing Nitro Fish Suzuki team.

"We're probably going to be either third or fourth in points going into the Countdown after Indy. (The playoffs begin for the top 10 in points following the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend for the final six events of the year.) I don't think we're going to get bumped from that and I don't think we're going to get first or second, unless something dramatic happens to the Harleys.

"Third would be good; we can still win a championship from there. Hopefully NHRA will do something with the Harleys before the Countdown starts, which will help the whole class. But that's their call.

"We have a good bike. There's no doubt about that. Steve (Tartaglia, crew chief), and (crew guys) Tom (Patsis) and Jason (Jones) have prepared a good bike for me to ride. The biggest thing that we're fighting right now is the Harley-Davidson team. They have so much more power over last year. But, we still have a good chance of winning this race and being No. 1 qualifier. We were No. 2 in Sonoma (the previous event); I feel like we could have been No. 1 there."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matthew Smith , Don Schumacher