OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - Von Smith knew that his 2001 Federal Mogul Funny Car tour was going to provide a tremendous amount of new challenges. As the season carries on for the 38-year old, Jensen Car Audio-sponsored driver, he seems to be an ace student...
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - Von Smith knew that his 2001 Federal Mogul Funny Car tour was going to provide a tremendous amount of new challenges. As the season carries on for the 38-year old, Jensen Car Audio-sponsored driver, he seems to be an ace student in his course. Recently, Smith reached the semi-finals of the Pep Boys Nationals presented by Greased Lightning at Maple Grove Raceway. This latest showing is just another example of how Smith is admirably attacking his challenge.
Smith, whose sponsor's slogan suggests "If it's too loud, then you're too old," was always confident of his crew and their abilities, but was a little reserved in his pre-season projections.
"We are pleasantly pleased with the good fortunes that have come our way," explained Smith, who earlier in the season captured the Federal Mogul All-Stars title in Columbus, Ohio. "It still bothers me that I have yet to get a national event win, but I know it's going to come. Patience is always a virtue in this class and I'm going to try and be as patient as I can be. I'll say this, the win can't come soon enough for my liking."
His latest endeavor in Reading was an impressive venture. Smith entered eliminations as the third quickest with a 5.754, and because of his qualifying position was paired opposite of Michael Ferro's Corvette flopper. The former IHRA World Champion made quick work of him as he blasted out a 5.699, 253.90. Ferro got out of shape and slowed to a 5.613.
In the quarter-finals, he laid down a 5.709, 242.58 to send Eric Lourie packing. Lourie lost a battle with tireshake and aborted his run.
The victory was a costly one for Smith, who broke a pushrod. It marked the first time this season that the Jensen Car Audio-sponsored team had wounded a motor. A mad thrash had ensued and the team was rolling out of the pits and headed to the staging lanes when they were informed that time had expired to be part of the round. Scheduled opponent Bob Newberry took a single with Smith's absence.
"It was frustrating," explained Smith. "It's like one of those times when you're so close you can taste it. I really thought Reading was going to be first. I guess it just wasn't our time. There will be others and I'm holding steadfast to that."