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.
Smith's late model IDG Chevrolet Camaro powered to a
performance of 5.829 seconds at 249.86 mph to hold off Rowe's
Agave Underground Tequila '68 Chevy Camaro that raced a 5.869
at 233.76. It was Smith's ninth victory and second at Gainesville
Raceway. He was runner-up here in 2014.
Smith took out Steven Whiteley, last year's Gatornationals champ,
Mike Castellana, and Chip King to meet Rowe in the finals.
Rowe, who qualified 15th, was looking for his fifth career victory and first at Gainesville. He defeated Robert Patrick Jr., Steve Matusek and former Pro Stock driver, Jonathan Gray in the earlier rounds. Rowe was runner-up behind Khalid alBalooshi here in 2011.
The Pro Mod Drag Racing Series returns April 29-May 1 at the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston.
Article and photo courtesy of dragracecentral.com
SMITH CAPTURES ANOTHER NHRA PRO MOD WIN AT THE GATORNATIONALS IN GAINESVILLE
Two-time world champion Rickie Smith outran Danny Rowe in the final round to win the NHRA J&A Services Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals Sunday at Gainesville Raceway. This weekend's Pro Mod racing, co-presented by Pro Line Racing and Jerry Bickel Race Cars, Inc., is the first of 10 events on the season.
article and photo courtesy from competitionplus.com
article courtesy from dragracecentral.com
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 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."
article and photo courtesy from competitionplus.com
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.
SMITH CAPTURES ANOTHER PDRA WIN IN MARYLAND
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).
Rickie Smith celebrates second win of the season.
Smith, making his third straight final round appearance of 2016,
powered his late model IDG Chevy Camaro to a 5.873-second
pass at 248.48 mph to defeat Kevin Fiscus' 6.072 at 243.50 in
his 2012 Ford Mustang.
Smith, who won at the season-opening Gatornationals and posted
a runner-up finish two weeks ago in Houston, tallied his 10th
career victory. As the No. 1 qualifier, Smith outlasted Gerry Capano, Doug Winters and Steve Matusek en route to the final round against Fiscus. Smith is the points leader.
RICKIE SMITH WINS 2015 PDRA
PRO NITROUS CHAMPIONSHIP
Article and photo courtesy ofdragracecentral.com
Smith Races to Victory at NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series Event
Rickie Smith raced to his second victory of the 2016 season on Sunday during the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals. This weekend's Pro Mod racing is co-presented by Pro Line Racing and FuelTech. This is the third of 10 Pro Mod events on the 2016 season.