Rickie Smith all but said at the beginning of the season a pack of wild horses couldn’t drive him back to racing with a nitrous combination. However, the 11-time doorslammer world champion said nothing about missing horses.
Smith, who made the switch to a turbocharged combination at the end of 2018, said a broken engine at the NHRA Southern Nationals left him with no other choice but to return to his former combination.
“When you don’t have a motor the choice is pretty clear,” Smith said. “It’s just another day in the office, no big deal. We hurt that engine, broke rods, hurt some parts. We are not going to bring the turbo engine out until we find out what’s causing the problem.”
Smith said if he had a larger budget, he might have made a different choice, but right not this is the one which makes most financial sense.
Smith’s teammate Khalid alBalooshi will continue to run the turbocharged combination he debuted two weekends ago at the NHRA Southern Nationals.
Smith said he still feels like he’s got an edge with a nitrous car, alluding his success tuneup on Balooshi’s car which has outqualified him in all but one event thus far this season.
“I can run as well as any nitrous car out there,” Smith said. “How we all stack up against the other combinations depends on how much the NHRA is willing to make the nitrous combination more competitive. I still don’t understand why they jumped on me over and over when I ran the nitrous combination.”
It all might be a moot point because once Smith gets his issue resolved, he’s back in the turbocharged car.
“As soon as we get this right, I’m back in the turbo car, unless they make a rule change that makes sense,” Smith admitted. “I just don’t understand why it is so hard to make a change. I don’t understand what the deal is unless its politics and money.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019