Brainerd: Matt Smith Saturday notes

SUZUKI RIDER SMITH CLINCHES SPOT IN COUNTDOWN IN BRAINERD BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 15, 2009) - Matt Smith, riding the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle for Don Schumacher Racing, clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs...

SUZUKI RIDER SMITH CLINCHES SPOT IN COUNTDOWN IN BRAINERD

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 15, 2009) - Matt Smith, riding the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle for Don Schumacher Racing, clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs today with his No. 12 qualifying effort at the 28th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

Smith recorded his quickest pass of 7.185 seconds at 182.72 mph (No. 6) right out of the box in the first round of qualifying on Friday. Friday evening's pass was aborted because of an electrical problem and today’s third round produced a 7.204/180.91 (No. 10). Then, following an engine change for the final session, the bike hiccupped to a 7.623/184.83 pass.

"It's disappointing, because we're not running as good as we should be," said Smith. "Yesterday we ran decent on the first pass, but it could have been better. We thought it was just the tune-up, but maybe the motor wasn't that good or something was going away in the motor that we didn't know about.

"Then we had an electrical problem yesterday evening that cost us the second run in qualifying and then this morning we thought the motor was going away, so we stuck another motor in for the Q4 pass, and it just bogged. I don't know why. I had it wide open, popped the clutch, and it was in first gear. I had an .02 light, I was right on my game, where I wanted to be. The only reason I legged it out was so we could have a tune-up pass for tomorrow.

"I'm glad we clinched a spot in the Countdown, but this is the worst we've qualified all year."

Smith will face Harley-Davidson rider Eddie Krawiec in the opening round of Sunday's eliminations.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matthew Smith , Don Schumacher , Eddie Krawiec