The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Series was quite memorable for veteran Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Matt Smith.
Smith won his third Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship in dramatic fashion at the season’s final race the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., on Nov. 11.
Smith defeated Eddie Krawiec in the final round in a winner takes all battle to be the world champion. For good measure, Smith also set the PSM national elapsed time record at 201.65 mph on his victorious run.
Smith has won PSM world championships in 2007, 2013 and 2018, yet as the 2019 PSM season gets set to begin March 14-17 in Gainesville, Fla., the North Carolina rider isn’t celebrating his most recent accomplishment.
Quite the opposite.
Smith is in the process of trying to find a primary sponsor, so he can run a full season in 2019 on his EBR motorcycle that he tunes and provides the horsepower for as part of his Matt Smith Racing operation.
“I’m hoping to find something to be able to run,” Smith said. “As it stands right now, Angie (Smith, Matt’s wife) has a deal with Denso to run a full season, but I don’t have anything. I’m still searching. I would run some (in 2019), but as it stands right now, I’m not planning on running the whole season unless I get some (financial) backing. My plan right now is to focus on Angie’s bike and I think we have a rental customer who is going to come in all year long and I will just work from there.”
Matt said his team now owns three of the Erik Buell Racing-bodied Buell motorcycles that he, Angie and a rental customer will race.
“It’s very sad to be a champion of what we did last year. We won four races last year and three races in the Countdown and we set the national speed record and we can’t find money to race on,” Matt said. “That’s pretty sad. I have a meeting with a company Jan. 10 and after that I don’t have any other plans.”
It was reported late last season Matt Smith would run some NHRA Pro Stock races in 2019 for Elite Motorsports and that plan is still a work in progress.
“They are still waiting to get Erica’s (Enders) and Jeggie’s (Coughlin) new car done,” Smith said. “I guess when they get that done we will touch base more when I’m going to test. I have to get my Pro Stock license. It is still the plan for me to do a couple Pro Stock races, but right now I have to wait to hear from NHRA if they are to be able to allow me to run both classes (Pro Stock Motorcycle) and (Pro Stock) at one event because they cut all the Pro Stock races I was scheduled to run out. I was supposed to run Houston and Bristol (Tenn.) and Epping (N.H.) and those were three of the races NHRA cut out when they reduced the Pro Stock schedule to 18 races in 2019. And, you can’t run two professional categories at one (NHRA) race as it stands right now. I can run Pro Mod and Pro Stock bike because Pro Mod is not considered a Pro class. I guess if we don’t find the funding to run Pro Stock bike maybe it will open the Pro Stock car deal a little more. But, we want to run for a championship again in the bike because we have the bike that can do that and win again.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019