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Matt Smith Rides Off With NHRA Bike Trophy

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Monday, October 28 2013

Matt Smith is congratulated by his wife Angie after winning the Pro Stock Motorcycle championship Sunday in Las Vegas. (Photos courtesy of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series)

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Matt Smith joined his father as a 2013 NHRA world champion Sunday, when he won the Pro Stock Motorcycle final of the 13th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Smith claimed his second PSM world championship on a day that saw John Force earn his record 16th Funny Car title while Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Shane Gray (Pro Stock) also posted class victories in the fifth of six races in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.

“It’s pretty elite company to do that,” said Smith, referring to his second title. “We pulled this off and it’s just great.”

Smith powered his Viper Motorcycle Company Buell to a quarter-mile final round run of 6.991-seconds at 192.08 mph to beat Jerry Savoie, who went 7.050-seconds at 190.19 mph aboard his Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki. Smith, who has won the last three Countdown races, claimed his fourth win of this season and 17th of his career.

Smith’s father, Rickie, also won the world championship in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series this season in his Chevy Camaro. Matt Smith is married to PSM rider/teammate Angie McBride Smith.

“This team has been awesome,” said Matt Smith, a 40-year-old resident of King, N.C., who won his first two-wheel championship in 2007. “What else can you ask for? With me winning the championship and dad winning the Pro Mod championship it’s been great. I don’t want to sound too confident, but we’ve almost been unstoppable. We’ve been to 10 finals since Epping (N.H.) and have six wins. Those are amazing numbers for our team.”

Smith, who qualified fourth, went 6.979/192.17 to start eliminations with a win against three-time world champion Andrew Hines, and followed with round-wins against former world champion LE Tonglet and Shawn Gann to reach the final.

Smith exited Vegas with an insurmountable 165-point lead (2,602-2,437) over Michael Ray and his

Matt Smith, 2013 champion.

Sovereign-Star Racing Buell heading into the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California, Nov. 7-10.

Brown, the reigning world champion in Top Fuel, moved to second in the point standings by powering his Matco Tools dragster to a 1,000-foot run of 3.782-seconds at 324.51 mph in the final round against Clay Millican, who posted numbers of 3.822/322.50 in his Parts Plus dragster. Brown claimed his fourth victory this season and 25th of his career, and trails Shawn Langdon of Al-Anabi Racing by 102 points, or five-plus rounds of racing.

“We struggled in the middle of this year, but what I’m proud of the most is the way we just kept our heads down and never gave up,” said Brown, of Don Schumacher Racing. “We just put our head down and worked harder. We just kept on digging.”

Langdon, the No. 1 qualifier, lost to Millican in the semifinals but still holds a commanding lead. Brown, who beat Bob Vandergriff Jr., seven-time world champion/teammate Tony Schumacher and Brandon Bernstein to reach the final, is aware he is a long-shot to earn a second straight championship.

“We’re going to give it everything we’ve got,” said Brown, who failed to qualify for the opening Countdown event at Concord, N.C. “We’re going to try and go for those qualifying points and qualify in the top half. Our team knows that we’ve been losing some crucial qualifying points and in Pomona that’s what we’ve got to go for. We’ve got to take it one round at a time and give it everything we’ve got.”

Pro Stock’s Gray picked up his first win in more than two years and third of his career with a holeshot victory against V. Gaines. Gray, who moved to fourth in points, posted a winning quarter-mile time of 6.699-seconds at 206.89 mph in his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro. His quicker 0.032-second reaction time overcame Gaines’ quicker, but losing, Kendall Oil Dodge Avenger, which finished in 6.698-seconds at 207.46 mph.

“The team needed a day like this,” Gray said. “I got a big boost of confidence and it’s amazing what winning will do. It lets you know that you are still capable of doing this, and anytime you can win a round on a holeshot I think you’ve done something special.”

Four-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. extended his point lead by advancing to the semifinals before falling to Gaines. Coughlin, driver of the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger, now holds a 71-point lead over second-place Jason Line, a two-time world champion in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro. Mike Edwards, the 2009 world champion, is 80 points back in third in his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Camaro. Gray trails Coughlin by 84 points.

“I’m looking forward to Pomona now,” Gray said. “I think we’ll be even tougher now. These cars are getting more and more difficult to run and the driver is so important. The Countdown escalates everyone’s performance two notches.”

Final finish order (1-16) at the 13th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race is the 23rd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel _1. Antron Brown; 2. Clay Millican; 3. Brandon Bernstein; 4. Shawn Langdon; 5. Tony Schumacher; 6. Steve Torrence; 7. Morgan Lucas; 8. Brittany Force; 9. Khalid alBalooshi; 10. Doug Kalitta; 11. T.J. Zizzo; 12. Terry McMillen; 13. Spencer Massey; 14. Billy Torrence; 15. Bob Vandergriff Jr.; 16. David Grubnic.

Funny Car _1. John Force; 2. Courtney Force; 3. Jack Beckman; 4. Alexis DeJoria; 5. Ron Capps; 6. Jeff Arend; 7. Del Worsham; 8. Robert Hight; 9. Cruz Pedregon; 10. Tim Wilkerson; 11. Tony Pedregon; 12. Chad Head; 13. Johnny Gray; 14. Gary Densham; 15. Bob Tasca III; 16. Matt Hagan.

Pro Stock _1. Shane Gray; 2. V. Gaines; 3. Jeg Coughlin Jr.; 4. Kurt Johnson; 5. Jason Line; 6. Erica Enders-Stevens; 7. Allen Johnson; 8. Vincent Nobile; 9. Mike Edwards; 10. Rickie Jones; 11. Buddy Perkinson; 12. Greg Anderson; 13. Greg Stanfield; 14. Rodger Brogdon; 15. Matt Hartford; 16. Larry Morgan.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _1. Matt Smith; 2. Jerry Savoie; 3. Michael Ray; 4. Shawn Gann; 5. Angie Smith; 6. John Hall; 7. LE Tonglet; 8. Katie Sullivan; 9. Adam Arana; 10. Scotty Pollacheck; 11. Eddie Krawiec; 12. Steve Johnson; 13. Andrew Hines; 14. Chaz Kennedy; 15. Hector Arana; 16. Hector Arana Jr.

Sunday’s final results from the 13th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Top Fuel _ Antron Brown, 3.782-seconds, 324.51 mph def. Clay Millican, 3.822-seconds, 322.50 mph.

Funny Car _ John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.062, 310.63 def. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.085, 319.22.

Pro Stock _ Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.699, 206.89 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Avenger, 6.698, 207.46.

Pro Stock Motorcycle_ Matt Smith, Buell, 6.991, 192.08 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.050, 190.19.

Top Alcohol Dragster _ Jim Whiteley, 5.330, 271.02 def. Chris Demke, 5.340, 269.51.

Top Alcohol Funny Car _ Frank Manzo, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.632, 259.66 def. Bret Williamson, Chevy Corvette, 8.463, 127.49.

Pro Modified _ Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.913, 248.34 def. Danny Rowe, Chevy Camaro, 5.975, 242.63.

Competition Eliminator _ Dan Fletcher, Chevy Cobalt, 8.197, 161.17 def. Ralph Van Paepeghem, Bantam Roadster, 7.402, 178.12.

Super Stock_ Cody Lane, Chevy Cavalier, 14.163, 84.66 def. Jack Bystrom, Chevy Camaro, foul.

Stock Eliminator _ Peter Biondo, Chevy Camaro, 10.722, 112.25 def. Mark Kirby, Plymouth Duster, 11.282, 111.97.

Super Comp _ Brad Plourd, Dragster, 9.069, 152.40 def. Tommy Phillips, Dragster, 9.083, 161.25.

Super Gas _ Terry Keddington, Chevy Corvette, 10.041, 161.98 def. Kevin Kleineweber, Corvette, 10.039, 141.37.

Final round-by-round results from the 13th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

TOP FUEL

Round One _ Antron Brown, 3.790, 323.19 def. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 9.648, 77.05; Clay Millican, 3.790, 325.06 def. Billy Torrence, 6.157, 102.17; Shawn Langdon, 3.761, 327.98 def. Terry McMillen, 4.766, 166.19; Steve Torrence, 3.930, 303.78 def. T.J. Zizzo, 4.041, 306.05; Tony Schumacher, 3.824, 325.37 def. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.849, 318.92; Morgan Lucas, 3.889, 267.43 def. David Grubnic, foul; Brandon Bernstein, 3.800, 322.19 def. Doug Kalitta, 4.036, 271.02; Brittany Force, 3.824, 323.74 def. Spencer Massey, 5.074, 142.49;

Quarterfinals _ Bernstein, 4.738, 171.10 def. S. Torrence, 5.392, 213.47; Millican, 3.836, 320.20 def. Lucas, 10.731, 79.81; Brown, 3.808, 323.58 def. Schumacher, 4.260, 212.73; Langdon, 3.785, 326.87 def. Force, 11.332, 50.52;

Semifinals _Brown, 3.788, 326.16 def. Bernstein, 3.921, 288.77; Millican, 3.850, 323.81 def. Langdon, 4.158, 253.80;

Final_Brown, 3.782, 324.51 def. Millican, 3.822, 322.50.

FUNNY CAR

Round One _ Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.084, 312.71 def. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 7.507, 88.54; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.089, 314.24 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.302, 250.97; Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.056, 319.98 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.315, 237.46; John Force, Mustang, 4.047, 317.94 def. Gary Densham, Charger, 6.333, 114.75; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.110, 310.48 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 6.448, 103.47; Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.480, 270.27 def. Johnny Gray, Charger, 5.795, 120.87; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.078, 314.97 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.141, 283.97; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.104, 315.42 def. Chad Head, Camry, 5.221, 150.38;

Quarterfinals _ Beckman, 4.141, 308.50 def. Arend, 4.218, 290.69; DeJoria, 4.126, 304.39 def. Capps, 4.132, 311.20; C. Force, 4.117, 313.44 def. Hight, 5.972, 114.36; J. Force, 4.096, 314.46 def. Worsham, 4.877, 188.94;

Semifinals _ C. Force, 4.109, 314.39 def. Beckman, 6.077, 112.36; J. Force, 5.865, 193.96 def. DeJoria, 8.777, 87.83;

Final_ J. Force, 4.062, 310.63 def. C. Force, 4.085, 319.22.

PRO STOCK

Round One _ Vincent Nobile, Dodge Avenger, 6.661, 207.40 def. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.685, 207.50; Allen Johnson, Avenger, 6.654, 206.99 def. Rickie Jones, Camaro, 6.657, 207.82; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.666, 207.72 def. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.708, 206.54; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.658, 207.37 def. Matt Hartford, Avenger, 6.723, 206.39; V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.662, 208.10 def. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.727, 205.38; Kurt Johnson, Pontiac GXP, 6.704, 206.57 def. Mike Edwards, Camaro, 6.650, 207.78; Jeg Coughlin Jr., Avenger, 6.643, 207.66 def. Greg Stanfield, Camaro, 6.694, 205.60; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.650, 207.53 def. Buddy Perkinson, Camaro, 6.664, 208.04;

Quarterfinals _ K. Johnson, 8.016, 152.42 def. Nobile, 20.992, 30.81; Gray, 6.691, 207.24 def. Line, 6.669, 207.43; Gaines, 6.683, 207.15 def. A. Johnson, 6.703, 206.45; Coughlin, 6.659, 207.15 def. Enders-Stevens, 6.670, 206.35;

Semifinals _ Gray, 6.715, 206.54 def. K. Johnson, 7.223, 202.67; Gaines, 6.698, 207.56 def. Coughlin, 6.700, 206.23;

Final_ Gray, 6.699, 206.89 def. Gaines, 6.698, 207.46.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE

Round One _ John Hall, Buell, 7.032, 189.90 def. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 8.163, 117.00; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.966, 191.38 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.010, 190.94; Michael Ray, Buell, 6.957, 191.16 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.032, 189.15; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.034, 189.47 def. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, broke; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.979, 192.17 def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.985, 127.52; Angie Smith, Buell, 7.000, 191.32 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.187, 183.79; Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.014, 191.00 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 9.885, 84.75; Katie Sullivan, Suzuki, 7.011, 186.02 def. Adam Arana, Buell, foul;

Quarterfinals _ Gann, 7.037, 190.35 def. Hall, 7.030, 188.25; M. Smith, 7.047, 190.78 def. Tonglet, 7.073, 189.68; Ray, 7.004, 190.54 def. Sullivan, 7.082, 190.00; Savoie, 6.979, 190.89 def. A. Smith, 7.017, 190.94;

Semifinals _M. Smith, 7.060, 190.32 def. Gann, 7.166, 167.38; Savoie, 6.991, 190.97 def. Ray, 7.089, 187.42;

Final_ M. Smith, 6.991, 192.08 def. Savoie, 7.050, 190.19.

Point standings (top-10) following the 13th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Top Fuel _1. Shawn Langdon, 2,530; 2. Antron Brown, 2,428; 3. Doug Kalitta, 2,392; 4. Spencer Massey, 2,388; 5. Morgan Lucas, 2,367; 6. Tony Schumacher, 2,363; 7. Clay Millican, 2,326; 8. Khalid alBalooshi, 2,254; 9. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 2,219; 10. Steve Torrence, 2,186.

Funny Car _1. John Force, 2,581; 2. Matt Hagan, 2,429; 3. Jack Beckman, 2,410; 4. Robert Hight, 2,375; 5. Courtney Force, 2,366; 6. Ron Capps, 2,354; 7. Cruz Pedregon, 2,341; 8. Del Worsham, 2,269; 9. Johnny Gray, 2,257; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 2,206.

Pro Stock _1. Jeg Coughlin Jr., 2,512; 2. Jason Line, 2,441; 3. Mike Edwards, 2,432; 4. Shane Gray, 2,428; 5. Allen Johnson, 2,419; 6. Erica Enders-Stevens, 2,373; 7. V. Gaines, 2,321; 8. Greg Anderson, 2,293; 9. Vincent Nobile, 2,267; 10. Rodger Brogdon, 2,115.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _1. Matt Smith, 2,602; 2. Michael Ray, 2,437; 3. Hector Arana, 2,400; 4. Hector Arana Jr., 2,397; 5. Eddie Krawiec, 2,377; 6. LE Tonglet, 2,351; 7. John Hall, 2,294; 8. Scotty Pollacheck, 2,288; 9. Adam Arana, 2,198; 10. Shawn Gann, 2,196.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Monday, October 28 2013
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