Matt Smith scored his 1st NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle event win since 2011, taking the title at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk Ohio. Smith, riding the Viper Motorcycle Company S&S-Powered Buell, beat Scotty Pollacheck in the final round. It is the 2nd win of the season for the Viper team in NHRA Mello Yellow Pro Stock Motorcycle competition.
“It feels great,” said Smith. “It’s been a hard road for me to get back here. I’ve been close a couple times but it is so easy to loose in that final round.”
2013 started with a bang for the Viper Motorcycle team. Smith qualified at the opening event at Gainesville in the #1 spot at an elapsed time of 6.804 seconds, a time that still stands as the quickest run for the class this season.
Since then the team has been shut out of not only the number one qualifying positions but any spot in the final round as well. That all changed in Epping, New Hampshire, when 2nd-year rider John Hall brought the team to the winner’s circle with his 1st-ever NHRA event title.
Following Hall’s win in Epping was Chicago where Smith qualified #1 and went to the final. At this point in the season the rest of the Viper team was finding its groove as well. Hall had just made his 3rd semifinal appearance of the season and Angie Smith was qualifying solidly in the top half of the field and turning in some round wins.
At Chicago, Smith had dominated the action – qualifying #1 and setting the top speed and low elapsed time of the meet at 6.908 seconds and 193.82 mph – only to lose in the final round to his former team member Michael Ray, who now rides for the Sovereign/Star Racing team.
Norwalk was redemption for Smith, the former NHRA series champion, showing a mastery of the Tree and schooling his former student en route to garnering his 14th NHRA “Wally”.
In the first round at Norwalk Smith scored a holeshot win over Hector Arana Sr. In the 2nd round he lined up against Ray. Smith pulled a .034 second holeshot over Ray and hung on for the win, running a 6.95 to Ray’s quicker 6.93.
After the win over Ray, Smith faced teammate John Hall in the semifinals. Hall got a slight holeshot but missed a shift downtrack and Smith ran a 6.96 to make his second straight final.
In the Norwalk final Smith met the second Sovereign/Star Racing team bike, ridden by Scotty Pollacheck. Smith was again sharp on the Tree, getting a big holeshot on a .018 light and pulling away for the win 6.95 to 7.00.
One of them was Michael Ray, who, riding for Viper Motorcycle at the time, was the only racer to beat the nearly undefeated Harley-Davidson team in 2012.
Smith’s Norwalk win was even more special as his father, Rickey Smith, won the event in the Pro Modified car class making them the first father-and-son pro class winners at the same event in NHRA history.
Following Norwalk Smith and Hall are solidly in the hunt for the NHRA Mello Yellow championship sitting in the 3rd and 4th spots in the points respectively. With momentum now behind her, Angie Smith has a strong shot at making the top ten before the championship countdown begins at their home track at Charlotte, NC.
Source and images: Viper Motorcycle Company
Posted by Sam Kanish