MATT SMITH TALKS ABOUT PRO MOD EXPERIENCE
Matt Smith’s area of expertise is riding an NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The facts prove that as he won world championships in the class in 2007 and 2013.
Yet, Smith did say he enjoyed filling in for his father and world championship driver Rickie Smith at the ADRL Spring Drags April 7-8 at Rockingham (N.C.) Dragway. Rickie is recovering from back surgery.
Matt driving his father’s Pro Mod ZL1 Camaro qualified first at 3.788 seconds at 200.86 mph, but lost in the semifinals against veteran Doug Winters. The event was won by Smith’s teammate Jonathan Gray, who beat Winters in the finals.
“My car shook like crazy,” said Matt about his problems in the semis.
This was the first time Matt drove his father’s car since Indianapolis in 2011 following Rickie’s spectacular crash at Bristol, Tenn., that year.
“I don’t know when I will drive in Pro Mod again, it’s all up to my dad,” Matt said. “I’m available anytime, but that’s up to him. Whatever he wants me to do, I will do whatever I can do to help him out. I loved it (at Rockingham). I did well. If you’re a true racer, you will adapt to anything. We qualified No. 1 and I had an (.035) light against Winters and we would have won that round and probably would’ve won the race, but it was just one of those deals where we made a bad call (in the semifinals) with the car.”
According to Matt, his father is hoping to return to the driver’s seat at the NHRA’s Thunder Valley Nationals June 16-18 in Bristol, Tenn. Matt said Gray will fill in for his father at the NHRA’s Pro Mod races at Houston (April 21-23), Charlotte, N.C. (April 28-30) and Atlanta (May 5-7). Gray will drive the same Chevy Camaro he won in at Rockingham.
Up next for Matt Smith is the Four-Wide Nationals (April 28-30) in Charlotte, N.C., which is something he anxious to compete in again.
“I won the very first Four-Wide race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class (in 2010),” he said. “I adapt to it really quick and I understand the concept and I love Charlotte. We just kind of messed up at Gainesville (Fla., the Gatornationals, March 16-19), and hurt a lot of parts and pieces and we were trying to band-aid it to get it through the race. We should be strong come Charlotte. We were strong in testing and I think we will be strong at Charlotte.”
Back in 2010 at the Four-Wide Nationals, Smith beat Hector Arana Sr. in the finals.