Richmond; Rickie Smith holding on

Dinwiddie, Va. - - The NHRA history books are closed on qualifying at the NHRA moto1.net Nationals presented by Chevrolet. Rickie Smith, 46, from King, N.C., placed the KPK Motorsports Pro Stock Camaro in the 16th qualifying position with a final...

Dinwiddie, Va. - - The NHRA history books are closed on qualifying at the NHRA moto1.net Nationals presented by Chevrolet. Rickie Smith, 46, from King, N.C., placed the KPK Motorsports Pro Stock Camaro in the 16th qualifying position with a final pass of 6.905 seconds and a speed just over 199 mph.

"Although we did improve in the final round, we were never able to get the car and the track hooked up at the same time," stated Smith after qualifying ended.

Warren Johnson of Buford, Ga., took the top qualifying position for the Pro Stock category with a Virginia Motorsports Park track elapsed time record of 6.838 seconds at 201.28. Johnson's son Kurt, of Lawrenceville, Ga., missed the number one position by only .001 seconds and had to settle for second.

Smith will be matched against Warren Johnson when final eliminations begin tomorrow.

"We will definitely be considered the underdog," smiled Smith. "But if I didn't think we had a chance, I would pack up and go home. This is racing and everybody has a chance at winning.

"We'll spend a lot of time looking over our computer tapes of each run we've made this weekend. Then we set the car and engine up to maximize our potential. You can bet the guy in the other lane will know we were here when the first round is over. If I do my job and the car performs, it will be a close race at the finish lights," said Smith, stopping short of predicting the final outcome.

Smith will be trying for his third career win. He has been to the finals nine times in his NHRA career. His last win was at the Matco SuperNationals at Houston Raceway Park in October of last year.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Rickie Smith