Matt Smith, the reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion, flexed his muscles Saturday.
The veteran racer clocked a 6.879-second time at 196.76 mph Saturday to claim the No. 1 qualifying spot at the 20th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas.
This is Smith’s 32nd career No. 1 qualifying position and first this season. This is the second race of the season for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class as it opened 2019 at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., in mid-March.
“(Saturday) was definitely a little hotter than (Friday), “said Smith, who made his run in Q3. “The biggest difference is that we had a little tailwind (Saturday) compared to a side wind we had (Friday). I think that’s why the bikes picked up a little bit. Our Denso, Lucas Oil, Mark Stockseth and all the people who help us that motorcycle, we call that thing the red rocket and it truly is fast. It throws numbers out and sometimes it is not supposed to go that fast. It really wasn’t supposed to go that fast in Q3, but it did.”
Smith was happy to claim the top spot.
“We will take the green hat and hopefully we can turn three win lights on (Sunday) and win this race,” Smith said. “I feel confident. My lights have been good every round. I have been 29 or less every time on the tree. That last quad was a fast quad and if that would have been the finals, I would have finished third and I had a 19 light. It is going to be tough. We just have to go up and do our job and hopefully we turn three win lights on. The first two, you just have to be first or second. The last one you have to be the first one and we’re going to see what we can do.”
Smith is plenty busy with his Matt Smith Racing team, tuning multiple motorcycles in addition to driving, but he accepts the challenge.
“I have been doing this long enough and this is my job and what I do for a living,” Smith said. “Basically, I’m here to race and turn the win light on and I’m going to try and get every advantage I can on the starting line, and I have a fast bike and hopefully it does its job and I do my job and we go some rounds.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019