RICKIE SMITH POWERS TO PRO MOD VICTORY AT HEARTLAND NATIONALS
Rickie Smith drove to victory Monday during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Motorsports Park. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Summit Racing Equipment is the fourth of 12 events this season.
Smith ran a 6.262-second pass at 233.52 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro to take down the No. 1 qualifier Chad Green in the final round and earn his second victory of the season and 13th of his career. Smith defeated Harry Hruska, Shane Molinari and Todd Tutterow on his to the win.
“I’m just glad we won the thing,” Smith stated. “I think every round we had to work for it. Everybody was tough competition. You hate to start watching points, but when you start getting going you hate to give any round up. As a driver I have to try the best I can.”
LAST MINUTE SPONSORSHIP MATERIALIZES FOR RICKIE SMITH
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Smith ran a 5.804-second pass at 208.01 mph in his ’18 Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Jeremy Ray in the finals. This is Smith’s third victory this season and 14th of his career.
“This win just goes to show you the depth on our team,” Smith stated. “We’ve got a really good team if I can just keep on going and not screw up.”
E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series continues at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
SMITH VICTORIOUS IN PRO MOD AT SUMMIT RACING NATIONALS
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Rickie Smith secured the Wally during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Sunday afternoon. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by J&A Service, was the seventh of 12 events this season.
RICKIE SMITH GOES WIRE TO WIRE TO EARN 15th CAREER WIN
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Rickie Smith finished up an impressive weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway with his first victory of the season in E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service action, beating points leader Stevie "Fast" Jackson in the final round on Sunday.
The series was presented by the Real Pro Mod Association (RPM) in St. Louis and marked the 10th of 12 races in 2019.
Smith, a three-time world champion in the class, was on top in his nitrous-powered Bahrain1 Racing Camaro all weekend, qualifying No. 1 for the second straight race and going 5.768-seconds at 252.19 mph to beat Jackson in the final round. It also is Smith's class-best 15th career victory.
"It's pretty awesome, at my age, to be fighting like this with these young cats," Smith said. "I saw Stevie run a 5.77 and thought there's no way I can run that, and then I run 5.76. Then he runs a 5.74 and I run a 5.72, so it was pretty exciting this weekend. I've got three awesome kids and wife that stand behind me."
Smith, who qualified No. 1 with a 5.724 at 252.43, beat Alex Laughlin, Michael Biehle and Mike Castellana, who beat Smith in the Indy finals, to reach the championship round.
Jackson, who was the defending event winner and qualified second this weekend, advanced to his fifth final round in 2019 and 12th in his career thanks to wins against Carl Stevens Jr., defending world champ Mike Janis and Todd Tutterow. He also stretched his commanding points lead to 156 points heading into the final two events of the 2019 season.
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service continues at the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte. It will be the 11th of 12 races during the 2019 season.
ROUND ONE -- Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 5.771, 251.67 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.085, 248.84; Mike Castellana, Camaro, 5.809, 248.66 def. Sidnei Frigo, Camaro, 5.919, 249.81; Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.769, 249.67 def. Carl Stevens, Camaro, Broke - No Show; Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.814, 253.66 def. Scott Oksas, Ford Mustang, 9.800, 84.49; Brandon Snider, Chevy Corvette, 5.771, 247.34 def. Steven Whiteley, Camaro, 9.677, 94.18; Todd Tutterow, Camaro, 5.820, 248.07 def. Steve Matusek, Mustang, 5.884, 246.84; Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.835, 248.25 def. Eric Latino, Camaro, 5.864, 248.66; Michael Biehle, Mustang, 5.859, 252.33 def. Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 5.817, 246.75;
QUARTERFINALS -- Jackson, 5.768, 250.27 def. Janis, 5.822, 247.38; Tutterow, 5.814, 248.75 def. alBalooshi, 5.910, 250.18; Smith, 5.788, 251.11 def. Biehle, 5.835, 252.80; Castellana, 5.789, 248.16 def. Snider, 5.796, 246.21;
SEMIFINALS -- Jackson, 5.780, 250.27 def. Tutterow, 5.800, 248.71; Smith, 5.781, 252.43 def. Castellana, 8.006, 115.78;
FINAL -- Smith, 5.768, 252.19 def. Jackson, 7.413, 113.99.
Anytime is a good time for a sponsor. At least it's the way Rickie Smith sees it.
The multi-time champion and doorslammer drag racing icon was prepared to enter the 2018 tNHRA Pro Modified tour unsponsored when the day before the season-opener he received an unexpected call from Sheikh Abdullah of Bahrain informing him he didn't have to worry about a sponsor.
"That was kind of unexpected," Smith admitted. "I really wasn’t expecting him to step up and take me on board. I just can’t say enough for him to help pull me through this year again, and enable me to stay out here and keep racing."
Smith joins Khalid al-Balooshi and Stevie "Fast" Jackson as members of the Bahrain 1 team.
Smith was prepared to race on an tight budget this season and was willing to do what most any racer would do to work with a shoestring budget.
"I wasn’t going to sit out any races, but I was probably going to have to go borrow some money," Smith explained. "The way I figured everything up, I was going to have to borrow a little bit to finish the year. I was hoping maybe someone would come along through the middle of the year. But to jump in the first race here gives me a little better stress relief here. It sure does help out."
Smith smiles and quickly accepts the notion he's a racer albeit with the DNA makeup of a cat with nine lives.
"It’s all about being competitive and treating your sponsors right," Smith explained. "I’ve never lost a sponsor because I did something wrong. It’s just about every time I’ve lost one, they went a different direction, or they pulled plumb out of drag racing.
"Same thing with IDG and Vallen, they just pulled right out of racing when they sold out two years ago. The company that bought them out decided to step away for a while. It ain’t like they dumped me and got another one, so that makes you feel a little better."
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