Joliet, IL- Federal-Mogul Funny Car pilot, Von Smith, drove his Jensen Audio-sponsored Pontiac Firebird to a semifinal finish on Sunday at the inaugural NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago. Smith advanced to the third round of ...
Joliet, IL- Federal-Mogul Funny Car pilot, Von Smith, drove his Jensen Audio-sponsored Pontiac Firebird to a semifinal finish on Sunday at the inaugural NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago. Smith advanced to the third round of eliminations before losing to eventual event winner, Frank Manzo, in an excellent side by side drag race.
Smith qualified his Howard Moon-tuned entry in the No. 5 position with a 5.69 at 252 mph and faced Fred Hagen during the opening round of eliminations on Saturday. Smith left the starting line first against Hagen with an excellent .462 reaction time and his Jensen Audio Firebird did the rest, streaking to a 5.70 at 250 mph to take the first round victory over Hagen's 6.11 at 227 mph.
The green Jensen Audio hot rod lined up against Steve Gasparrelli for the second round of eliminations on Sunday, with Gasparrelli enjoying lane choice. The race was over before it began, however, as Gasparrelli left too soon and red lighted with a .388 reaction time. Smith soldiered on for the victory with a consistent 5.71 at 246 mph to advance to the semifinals, where he would face Frank Manzo.
Smith squared off against Manzo for their semifinal match up in what turned out to be one of the best races of the day. The Jensen Audio Firebird left the starting line first on the strength of Smith's .485 reaction time but Manzo had gathered him in by the 100-foot mark. The pair battled side by side the rest of the way down the quarter-mile with Manzo taking the victory with a 5.69 at 250 mph to Smith's competitive 5.73 at 251 mph. The margin of victory for Manzo was a mere .026 seconds, approximately 10 feet.
Smith and his Tennessee-based team left the NHRA Nationals ranked 6th in NHRA Federal-Mogul Funny Car national point standings. Smith is also currently ranked in the No. 2 spot in the NHRA Div. 2 point standings.