NHRA’s new pandemic-inspired two-day format has affected many competitors, and not in a positive way. Two-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt Smith isn’t one of them.
For Smith, the two-day format is a blessing, and the proof is in the pudding as the Denso EBR rider secured this third No. 1 qualifier this season, and 40th of his career, as he rides into race day at the NHRA Gatornationals as the racer to beat. So strong has the second-generation competitor been that he’s qualified no lower than third all season.
“I think two sessions benefit Matt Smith Racing a ton,” said Smith, who enters Sunday’s eliminations seeking his 25th career NHRA victory. “We always come out of the box swinging, and we’re always pretty good, and a lot of times when you give people three and four passes to get their stuff right, they become better in the third and fourth sessions.
“So I love the two-day deal. We’re good at two sessions and we’re showing that this year. We got some bad-ass bikes right now and as long as we can do our job on Sunday, we should be pretty good again.”
Smith ran a 6.820 and 6.891 to seal the deal under hot conditions.
“We got our hot rod back,” Smith said. “I mean we’ve struggled last couple races. Scotty’s bike ran good last race but we struggled and we hurt a couple of motors, and we don’t know why. So we got everything back fresh and things are running on kill again.
We’re number one and Denso, Lucas Oil, Mark Stockseth, Greg Bucher Trucking, Strutmasters, everybody helps us. We couldn’t do it without all of them, especially with getting a pay cut and all that stuff it takes all of our sponsors to be able to do this now. Just can’t say enough about them, but we got a fast bike.”
As Smith knows all too well, having a fast bike in qualifying doesn’t always translate to Sunday success.
“Anything can happen on Sunday, but the simple fact is whether it’s my bike, Angie’s bike, Scotty’s bike, we’ve had three fast motorcycles this year,” Smith said. “Until this race, the last two or three, I think we’ve all qualified top six, and Angie just spun the tire that time. So it’s just one of them deals. We have three good motorcycles and as long as we don’t have any mishaps or anything like that, I think we’re the team to beat right now. We’ll just keep digging and with Denso backing us, we’re pretty good.”
We get it. Some folks don’t like wearing a mask, but if you must at least wear one that doesn’t look like you work in a hospital. Here it is, the OFFICIAL mask of Gasser Racing. Very breathable and comfortable. Get yours today – CLICK HERE TO BUY – https://t.co/GLe5FMHXz7 pic.twitter.com/13vJDg6sbh
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) September 20, 2020