Las Vegas II: Matt Smith preview

NITRO FISH SUZUKI RIDER SMITH AIMS TO FINISH SEASON ON A HIGH LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29, 2009) - Matt Smith, riding the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki for Don Schumacher Racing, is resigned to the fact that he's racing for third place in this year's...

NITRO FISH SUZUKI RIDER SMITH AIMS TO FINISH SEASON ON A HIGH

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29, 2009) - Matt Smith, riding the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki for Don Schumacher Racing, is resigned to the fact that he's racing for third place in this year's NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle championship, with two races left in the Countdown to 1 playoffs.

With the Nitro Fish Suzuki's recent improvement in performance, however, he's confident he, crew chief Steve Tartaglia and the rest of the DSR crew can mount a strong push to end the season on a high, beginning at this weekend's NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"We're hoping to be able to do something with our Nitro Fish Suzuki," said Smith, who married fellow PSM rider Angie McBride on Oct. 16, and is fourth in the playoffs standings. "We have it running well and we're going to try to get our first win for this team to close out the season.

"I think third in points is the best we can do. There's three of us fighting for third place (including Michael Phillips and Andrew Hines). I don’t think we can do much better than that, because we're too far behind." Smith is 167 points out of first place, 139 short of second and only two points behind third-place Phillips. Mathematically, though, he’s still in the chase, as there are 120 points available each weekend, which includes 20 points per round win, eight points for the No. 1 qualifier, 20 bonus points for setting a national elapsed-time record, and 12 total bonus points for the quickest qualifier in each of four rounds of qualifying.

"We've had a tough season. As a team, we won't be satisfied with third. It's difficult knowing that we don't have a chance of winning a championship in the last two races. If we can close the season out with maybe a couple of final rounds and a win, I think that will do us a lot of good as a team."

Smith, who has 10 career national-event wins in 21 final rounds, has never reached a final round at The Strip at Las Vegas since he entered the class in 2004.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Andrew Hines , Matthew Smith , Michael Phillips , Don Schumacher , Angie McBride , Steve Tartaglia