SUZUKI RIDER MATT SMITH: "DON'T COUNT ME OUT" MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 2, 2009) - Matt Smith, rider of the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle for Don Schumacher Racing, is a little miffed at ESPN2 prognosticators who have already...
SUZUKI RIDER MATT SMITH: "DON'T COUNT ME OUT"
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 2, 2009) - Matt Smith, rider of the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle for Don Schumacher Racing, is a little miffed at ESPN2 prognosticators who have already counted him out for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series championship.
With three events remaining in the Countdown to 1 playoffs for the PSM class, there are 12 rounds of eliminations available to each competitor. That's a total of 240 points, not to mention the new qualifying bonus points for the top three qualifiers in each session, as well as a chance to set a national elapsed-time record, which earns 20 points. Smith is just 148 markers short of first place.
Following his semifinal finish in Texas last Sunday and the resurgence of the performance of the Nitro Fish Suzuki, Smith is well within striking distance of his second world championship to match the one he claimed in 2007.
"I was looking at the TV coverage and the reporters already were counting us out," he said. "They seem to think we don't have a chance at a championship now. Well, they counted me out in 2007, too. They said it was down to Andrew Hines and Chip Ellis then, and I ended up winning it all.
"We'll see if we can do that again.
"The Suzuki is running better now," he said, referring to some of the struggles he and the team have had this year. "We're just working on making it consistent now. We have a fast bike again.
"Memphis has not been one of my better races over the years," added Smith, who was runner-up here in 2004 and No. 1 qualifier in 2006. "We've been to one final round here; otherwise, we were out in either the first or second round.
"We'll try to change that this year. We need to get to the finals, and to try to win a race. But our main goal is to just get to the finals and let's get some round wins and get some points on these leaders."