Article and Photo courtesy ofCompetitionplus.com
Photo Courtesy of RPM: Pro Mod
SMITH CLINCHES THIRD NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD CHAMPIONSHIP
Rickie Smith secured his third NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series championship by qualifying for the series event during the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is the final NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series race of the 2016 season and is presented by Aeromotive Inc.
Smith, who won the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series championship in 2013 and 2014, raced to a strong start of the season to propel himself to the series crown. In his IDG ’15 Camaro he opened the season with a win at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornational in Gainesville, Fla., defeating Danny Rowe in the finals. He raced to a runner up finish at the next event in Houston and won the third race of the season at Atlanta. He most recently raced to a runner-up finish in St. Louis. He was also the No. 1 qualifier at two events.
“We only have 10 races and when you only have 10 races you can’t get
behind as it is hard to catch up,” said Smith. “Luckily, we got off to a heck of
a run this year. We went to three finals and won two of them and that got us
a good cushion. We kept making rounds and just trying to be consistent on
“I was going to retire three years ago because I was ready. But you hate to quit when you are winning and doing this good. I know I’m going to have to quit one day but you can always quit, but you can’t always keep winning.” here.
Rickie Smith powered his IDG ’15 Camaro to victory on Sunday during the NHRA J&A Pro Mod Drag Racing Series at the NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Aquaball, was the sixth of 12 events this season.
Defending world champion Smith faced the No. 1 qualifier, Troy Coughlin, in the final round. Smith posted a winning time of 5.884-seconds at 247.93 to the trailing time of 5.882 at 255.29.
"It's just awesome to come back,” Smith stated. “People can like me or not like me; I race hard, I work hard, and I've got God on my side. That's all that matters to me."
Final round-by-round results from the 48th NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, the sixth of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
ROUND ONE -- Khalid alBalooshi, Chevy Camaro, 5.853, 248.48 def. Danny Rowe, Chevy Corvette, 9.786, 110.15; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 7.899, 121.65 def. Eric Latino, Camaro, Foul - Red Light; Troy Coughlin, Corvette, 5.788, 256.55 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 5.873, 240.38; Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, 5.818, 234.61 def. Mike Janis, Camaro, 8.947, 109.81; Steve Jackson, Camaro, 6.299, 157.67 def. Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 9.088, 104.59; Sidnei Frigo, Corvette, 7.087, 152.18 def. Shannon Jenkins, Ford Mustang, 8.936, 103.28; Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 5.822, 250.37 def. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 5.854, 249.72; Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.852, 250.60 def. Carl Stevens, Camaro, 9.073, 111.08;
QUARTERFINALS -- Jackson, 5.881, 233.76 def. Matusek, 5.886, 249.86; Coughlin, 5.833, 256.55 def. alBalooshi, Foul - Outer Boundary; Smith, 5.881, 248.89 def. Molinari, 7.207, 148.85; S. Whiteley, 5.914, 247.84 def. Frigo, 7.443, 136.32;
SEMIFINALS -- Smith, 5.877, 248.34 def. S. Whiteley, 9.820, 103.13; Coughlin, 5.848, 255.73 def. Jackson, 6.111, 236.17;
FINAL -- Smith, 5.884, 247.93 def. Coughlin, 5.882, 255.29.
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."
LAST MINUTE SPONSORSHIP MATERIALIZES FOR RICKIE SMITH
TRICKY RICKIE WINS 2018 NHRA PRO MOD SEASON OPENER IN GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA
SMITH WINS NHRA PRO MOD EVENT AT THE SUMMERNATIONALS IN ENGLISHTOWN