Baytown, Texas - - Although his quarter mile elapsed times (ET) were quicker than both his opponents in the first two rounds of eliminations, Rickie Smith, driver of the KPK Motorsports Pro Stock Camaro, owned by Pro Stock campaigner Kenny...
Baytown, Texas - - Although his quarter mile elapsed times (ET) were quicker than both his opponents in the first two rounds of eliminations, Rickie Smith, driver of the KPK Motorsports Pro Stock Camaro, owned by Pro Stock campaigner Kenny Koretsky, was defeated in round two of the O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park.
Smith turned back Brad Jeter, of Greenville, S.C., in the opening stanza. Jeter bested Smith in reaction time - - the time between the green light and the car leaving the starting line. It was a .470 second reaction time for Jeter, while Smith left in .482 seconds. Smith's engine power tripped the finish line clocks in 6.938 seconds at 198.32 mph. Jeter was close behind with 6.960 second quarter mile at 197.45 mph. Smith's margin of victory was one hundredth of a second - - almost too close to call.
The second round matched Smith's Camaro against the Dodge Avenger of Darrell Alderman, of Morehead, KY. The pair is known for their classic staging duels and they didn't disappoint anybody today.
A driver must turn on two staging lights to activate the starting lights. Both drivers pre-staged - - turned on the first light - - then sat... and sat... and sat. In fact, almost two minutes passed before Smith inched forward and illuminated the second bulb. Alderman got what he wanted and when the green came on he was away in .442 seconds. Smith, known for his starting line prowess, had a disappointing .502 seconds reaction time.
Again Smith's elapsed time was quicker than his opponent. It was a 6.932 second ET for the King, N.C. driver, with Alderman clocking an ET of 6.962 seconds. Smith lost by 45 hundredth of a second - - about seven feet.
"I said all weekend that any driver that qualifies is capable of winning rounds as well as the whole thing (race)," said Smith about the narrow defeat. " Both races were close. We were never out of either one of them. Our reaction times weren't as quick as we would have liked but we made up for that in elapsed time.
"This new Frank Iaconio engine that we brought to this race did its job. With some additional track time we should have both the engine and the chassis dialed-in. When that happens this Camaro should be a factor for the remainder of the season," added Smith.
The next race on the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series for the KPK Motorsports Pro Stock Camaro is the Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie, Va., just outside Richmond. The event will be contested in two weeks, April 27-30.