Las Vegas II: Matt Smith final report

SMITH RIDES NITRO FISH SUZUKI INTO VEGAS SEMIFINALS LAS VEGAS (Nov. 1, 2009) - Riding the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki at the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Matt Smith ended his race day in the...

SMITH RIDES NITRO FISH SUZUKI INTO VEGAS SEMIFINALS

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 1, 2009) - Riding the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki at the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Matt Smith ended his race day in the semifinals for the seventh time this season.

With renewed confidence and a consistent Pro Stock Motorcycle under him, Smith defeated Larry Cook in the opening round of eliminations with a 7.073-second pass at 189.04 mph, then dismissed Shawn Gann using a .001 reaction time (.000 is perfect) and a 7.037/189.44 lap. He met his match in the semifinals against the Harley V-Twin of Andrew Hines, who scored the victory with the quickest run in eliminations of 6.992/191.62 to Smith's 7.044/189.90.

Smith is now officially without a chance of winning the PSM championship, with one race remaining in Pomona, Calif., in two weeks. He stands fourth, 191 markers behind leader Hector Arana. The best he could finish the season would be in third. He's 39 points behind third-place Andrew Hines.

"We ran good all weekend," said Smith. "It's just that these V-Twins are eating up on us. We showed it again that we have the fastest Suzuki out here. We have to go back, and Steve (Tartaglia, crew chief) agrees, and we have to find some beans.

"I did all I could today. We got past first round. I took it easy on Larry Cook and I almost took it too easy, because we spun the tires real bad out there. But we came back next round and went .001 (reaction time) against Gann, and then when we ran Andrew we went .017 to his .010.

"I wanted to win. I was hungry to win a race. We're trying to do it for (team owner) Don Schumacher, we're trying to do it for Suzuki, and we're trying to do it for Kenny (Koretsky, Nitro Fish owner). We just have to get another little break."

As for the almost-red light in the quarterfinal: "I went up there the first round and I was .080 and I was suppsed to be like .040 or .050, so I moved the clutch lever a litlte bit more and it went .001. It was a little too close. I left it alone because Andrew went .005 in the second round, and I was like, We have to go after it. And we did. Both of us clicked a .01 light, but he was the winner.

"The consistency of this bike lately is spurring me on as a rider. It makes you a whole lot confident when your bike is consistent. We found our problem in Charlotte when we did that test with the carburetors.

"I truly believe that we've turned the corner. All year long we've been trying to figure out why we go fast one run and not the next run. And now we're consistently fast all the time and we just have to go find some more power and go after this thing next year."

Next up is the 45th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 12-15.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shawn Gann , Andrew Hines , Matthew Smith , Don Schumacher