Matt Smith can only hope he doesn’t come up against his wife Angie in the finals of another fan-vote, the Virtual reality Hot Rod Association event.
By a slim margin of six votes, Smith not only captured his first win in the four-race series but also thrust himself into the championship scenario with one event left to go.
Regardless, another win against Angie might put him to sleeping on the couch for a while. A punishment he’ll accept if it equates to a championship.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Smith said with a chuckle.
Make no bones about it – the competitive spirit was alive and well in the Smith household.
“We followed it on Friday pretty much, and then we told people to vote on Saturday, and then I lost track of it until today,” Smith said. “About 6:00 on Monday, I looked at it, and we were dead tied, and I was like, ‘Oh, wow.”
Funny Car point leader Tim Wilkerson pulled off his second win of the season, edging out Alexis DeJoria in a back-and-forth battle determined in the last five minutes of voting.
The victory solidified Wilkerson’s point leader status with one event left to go.
“I think that’s terrific of course,” said Wilkerson, who beat Ron Capps and Jeff Diehl to reach the finals. “Our sport kind of revolves around the bigger teams, you know around JFR, and DSR, and Kalitta. And for an independent guy to have that kind of fan base, that makes me pretty proud of my guys and my team and my whole operation.”
For Top Fuel racer Shawn Langdon, he made the most of his first opportunity to race a VRHRA event. Up until race number three, Langdon had been a spectator as he failed to qualify.
However, this time the fan base came alive not only carrying him to the No. 1 qualifier status but also winning the event, edging point leader Clay Millican by just four votes.
Langdon stopped Steve Torrence and VRHRA front-runner Terry McMillen to reach the final round.
“It feels good to win anything at this point,” Langdon said. “It’s pretty cool. I guess pretty virtually cool. I didn’t even really pay attention throughout the day. I had seen something last night that I was in the final against Clay. And then I’ve been actually practicing all day. I got a race tonight the Mac Tools 300 at Texas Speedway on iRacing, so I’ve been actually practicing all day. So I hadn’t really had a chance to keep up with it and see what was going on.
“Clay’s a great guy. He’s a good friend. And so it was cool that the fans put us in the final and the fans voted for me to win. That’s pretty, pretty cool. It means a lot. I guess I’m more just excited to get back out there, and hopefully, get a real racing win this year along with this one.”
Kenny Delco won the battle, but in the end, Kyle Koretsky won the war.
Delco stepped up in a big way at the Englishtown event, stopping the undefeated Kyle Koretsky. He sealed the deal with a 13-vote lead as time expired. Delco started eliminations as the fourth seed and beat Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr. to reach the final round.
As for Koretsky, wins at the events in Orange County and Spartanburg, coupled with a runner-up in Englishtown enabled him to clinch the Pro Stock series championship.
Rickie Smith remains the only undefeated driver after three events, as he won a barnstorming match against surprise finalist Chip King. In a battle which went back and forth all day, Smith pulled ahead at the finish line in a race where over 5,000 votes were cast.
Evidently Smith brings out the best in his competition as the round before against Mike Janis resulted in a one-vote victory.
While Smith may never run for public office, he gained valuable on the job training in the art of campaigning.
“I was calling everyone from my aunts to uncles, I even got some calling the people I don’t have,” Smith said with a laugh. “I mean, It was pretty wild in the last two races. To get votes that high, just everybody working it.
With the victory, Smith clinched the VRHRA Pro Modified series championship.