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didn't mean to be as soft on the tune-up as I was the first two runs when it was hot," Smith admitted. "Luckily it cooled down, the track stayed tight, and we were able to step it up."

After opening eliminations with a 3.78 win over Steve Jackson, Smith faced one of his biggest rounds of the year in the quarter finals against number-one qualifier Tommy Franklin, who trailed him by less than one round's worth of points heading into Dragstock XII. Whoever won the round was guaranteed to leave with the points lead and an opportunity to extend it substantially. Smith took full advantage, leaving first with a .031 reaction time, then posting another 3.78 pass at 199.17 mph while Franklin slowed to 3.83 at 175.64 when his own '69 Camaro coughed fire from its scoop for the second-straight run as it crossed the finish line.

"That was a huge round," Smith agreed. "We got a little lucky since he was running so fast but it looked like he hurt the motor a run or two before we raced. But sometimes you have to be lucky to win."

In the semi-finals, Smith got it done on the starting line, leaving with a .040 light against the .068 by Jay Cox, which allowed his 3.79 at 198.73 to beat a quicker 3.77 at 198.61 by four-thousandths of a second. Waiting for him was Chris Rini, who started his ATI Performance Products '69 Camaro third after running a career-best 3.75 at 198.23 mph in qualifying. Rini beat Tim Savell, John Hall and John Camp to reach Smith in the final round.

Once there, it looked like Smith was living up to his "Tricky Rickie" reputation as he turned on both the pre-staged and staged bulbs before Rini had even pre-staged.

"I really didn't intend for that to happen," Smith insisted. "I noticed the last two runs the brakes were feeling different and I was just waiting for him to go in when I saw my staged light come on. I didn't even realize the car was creeping forward but when it did I just pressed the transbrake button and got ready to go."

After Rini staged he took a .011 lead off the start, but Smith quickly recovered and made his best run of the weekend with a 3.77 at 198.96 against a 3.82 at 191.46 mph.

"It was that Musi motor and the Bickel chassis, always Bickel, that got it done," Smith said. "That, and Rickie Smith don't ever give up. I've been doing this a long time and that's one thing you can be sure of, I don't ever give up."

                                                        TRICKY RICKIE WINS AT "The Rock"

Smith, the back-to-back reigning NHRA Pro Mod champion and current PDRA Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous points leader, placed 14th with a 3.90 pass in the opening round of qualifying and was 17th after round two despite improving to 3.83 seconds. That left Friday night's third session when he vaulted up to ninth with a 3.79 at 198.67 mph before ultimately qualifying his IDG-backed '69 Camaro eighth with a 3.78 at 198.67 mph.

"I came here with just one motor because I didn't want to bring my NHRA stuff, but I 

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Smith not only won his second race of the year in the PDRA, but he took over the points lead as well in his IDG Chevy. Smith dedicates this win to his long time friend, Larry Tutterow, who passed away.

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Rickie Smith claimed his first win of the season in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. This weekend’s Pro Mod competition, presented by the Will Kinzer Foundation for Autism Research in association with the Autism Society of East Tennessee, was the fifth of 10 events in the season.
Smith, the two-time and defending world champ, powered his IDG 2015 Chevy Camaro to a winning performance of 5.944-seconds at 244.52 mph over Gainesville winner Bob Rahaim’s TLC Waste Management 2015 Corvette. The win was the King, N.C. native’s eighth career victory and third at Bristol Dragway. He is now fifth in points.
“It was a good time to start making rounds,” said Smith of the switch to his new Camaro. “There are still a lot of races left. We gave up on it a couple of races ago but this may get a little fire back in the old guy’s eyes again.”

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Tutterow was headed home to Yadkinville with cash and trophy;

Smith to King.  It’s little more than two hours of driving to either location. 

Smith, meanwhile, isn’t racing for a championship – at least not in the PDRA series.  The two-time reigning NHRA Pro Mod champ and a five-time IHRA Pro Stock champion may make only one other appearance this year.  Obviously, though, he is good at making the most of his infrequent visits and, at age 61, still can bring it – as he did on Sunday.


The second annual “Roar at the Rock” PDRA Spring Nationals attracted Pro Modified drivers and teams from 22 states, the Middle East, Sweden and Canada, but when the tire smoke cleared Sunday at Rockingham Dragway, the two big winners were planning to be home for dinner.

Native Carolinians Todd Tutterow and “Tricky Rickie” Smith claimed the big hardware after Tutterow moved up in class to win in Pro Extreme and Smith took a rare detour from the NHRA pro tour to win in Pro Nitrous.



Doorslammer legend “Tricky” Rickie Smith secured his first championship in Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) Pro Nitrous after making his way to the winner’s circle at three events in 2015. The championship marks Smith’s tenth overall during a remarkable racing career that has spanned four decades.

The iconic racer from King, North Carolina took home top honors at the PDRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway in April, the PDRA North-South Shootout at Maryland International Raceway in July, and finally PDRA Dragstock XII at Rockingham Dragway in September.

Smith’s Jerry Bickel-built, IDG-backed 1969 Camaro relied on power, durability, and consistency from Pat Musi Racing Engines to win the championship. Smith also used electronically fuel injected Musi engines to win back-to-back NHRA Pro Mod series titles in 2013 and 2014.

“The importance of having Rickie on board with us can’t be overstated,” Pat Musi said. “No one has more experience running a fast door car than Rickie, and that experience is critical to our overall engine program. When he goes out and wins these races and championships, it doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s the best out there and all of us here at Pat Musi Racing Engines want to congratulate him and his team on another championship.”

Though he has flirted with retirement after each of the last two seasons, Smith’s recent success has kept him coming back for more. Smith hasn’t yet made any indication of his plans for the 2016 racing season, but it’s a safe bet the 61-year-old competitor will be back for another title defense.

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A parade of familiar faces made its way through victory lane at Maryland International Raceway (MDIR) Saturday night after a long, hot weekend of

eighth-mile drag racing in the inaugural NAS Racing PDRA North-South

Shootout. Getting multiple pro class wins for the year was Rickie Smith,

with his second win in 2015 in the Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous class for

the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA).