Seven-Time Drag Racing World Champion

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Reigning NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series world champion Rickie Smith raced to the NHRA Pro Mod Series victory Monday at the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world's most prestigious race. Pro Mod racing was presented by JEGS at the event.

Smith ran his '68 IDG Camaro to a 5.901-second pass at 245.72 mph, defeating Pete Farber in the final. It was Smith's second win of the season and sixth of his career. Smith, the runner-up at Indianapolis last season, defeated Danny Rowe, Jeff Naiser and Troy Coughlin on the way to the final.

Farber drove his CRC Brakeleen Dodge Daytona to the final round with victories over Steven Whiteley, Steve Matusek and Billy Glidden. It was his second final round appearance of the season, following a victory in Bristol. Farber was appearing in his first Indianapolis final.

The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will head to Charlotte, N.C. for the Pro Mod portion of the NHRA Carolina Nationals, Sept. 12-14. The event is the seventh of 10 races on the 2014 schedule.

Final round-by-round results from the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the seventh of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.

ROUND ONE -- Dan Stevenson, Chevy Camaro, 7.628, 128.32 def. Kevin Fiscus, Ford Mustang, foul; Mike Knowles, Camaro, 5.957, 215.72 def. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.076, 235.89; Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.864, 247.84 def. Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.929, 242.84; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.895, 244.38 def. Danny Rowe, Camaro, 5.919, 244.60; Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.963, 242.41 def. Von Smith, Camaro, 5.931, 241.93; Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 5.957, 241.97 def. Steven Whiteley, Camaro, 6.123, 238.76; Jeff Naiser, Camaro, 5.898, 239.87 def. Jim Bell, Camaro, foul; Bill Glidden, Mustang, 5.902, 237.71 def. Don Walsh, Camaro, 5.872, 250.41;

QUARTERFINALS -- Farber, 5.923, 243.46 def. Matusek, 6.009, 242.50; Coughlin, 5.890, 247.97 def. Knowles, 5.938, 242.76; Glidden, 5.970, 219.65 def. Stevenson, foul; R. Smith, 5.908, 246.17 def. Naiser, 7.333, 137.32;

SEMIFINALS -- Farber, 5.926, 243.24 def. Glidden, foul; R. Smith, 5.898, 245.45 def. Coughlin, 5.893, 245.40;

FINAL -- R. Smith, 5.901, 245.72 def. Farber, 6.924, 171.60 

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Reigning NHRA Pro Mod world champion Rickie Smith raced to victory Monday during the Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the rain-delayed Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals Sunday.  

Smith, the No. 1 qualifier, drove his IDG 13’ Chevy Camaro to a winning performance of 5.828 seconds at 249.21 mph, defeating No. 15 seed Von Smith. It was the first win of the year for Rickie Smith, who secured his fifth career victory and the first at the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series race in Atlanta, which was presented by the Real Pro Mod Association.
Von Smith’s effort was highlighted by an upset of No. 2 qualifier Jim Laurita in the first round. Von Smith, the 2010 NHRA Pro Mod world champion, was looking for his first win since the second Charlotte race last season.  

Mike Castellana won the season-opening event in Gainesville and raced to a second round appearan
ce at Atlanta Dragway, while Mike Janis was eliminated in the first round following his victory in Houston.   The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series continues May 29-June 1 with the Toyota NHRA SummerNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, N.J.

ROUND ONE -- Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.886, 241.63 def. Mike Knowles, Chevy Camaro, 5.918, 244.52; Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.108, 208.84 def. Don Walsh, Camaro, 12.169, 57.46; Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.896, 246.39 def. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 6.061, 229.82; Dan Stevenson, Camaro, DQ def. Steven Whiteley, Camaro, no time; Danny Rowe, Camaro, 5.832, 249.12 def. Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.875, 248.11; Kevin Fiscus, Ford Mustang, 5.903, 248.98 def. Eric Latino, Camaro, 5.949, 244.03; Von Smith, Camaro, 5.942, 240.94 def. Jim Laurita, Camaro, 9.812, 89.65; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.778, 250.04 def. Chip King, Daytona, 8.677, 91.46;

QUARTERFINALS -- Fiscus, 5.984, 239.95 def. Matusek, 9.051, 99.00; V. Smith, 5.929, 242.02 def. Castellana, 5.954, 238.76; Rowe, 5.871, 247.88 def. Whiteley, 10.988, 78.13; R. Smith, 5.814, 249.26 def. Coughlin, 10.990, 83.67;

SEMIFINALS -- V. Smith, 5.910, 242.45 def. Fiscus, 5.914, 248.48; R. Smith, 5.838, 248.39 def. Rowe, 5.941, 244.03;

FINAL -- R. Smith, 5.828, 249.21 def. V. Smith, 15.228, 54.74.

Point standings (top 10) following the 34th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, the third of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.

1.  Rickie Smith, 269; 2.  Mike Castellana, 261; 3.  Danny Rowe, 225; 4.  Mike Janis, 202; 5.  Steve Matusek, 178; 6.  Kevin Fiscus, 164; 7.  Troy Coughlin, 135; 8.  Von Smith, 124; 9.  Steven Whiteley, 119; 10.  Dan Stevenson, 115.

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Smith clinches NHRA Pro Mod season championship

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Veteran racer Rickie Smith took advantage of several early exits by most of his series challengers and captured the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series world championship title at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.

Smith claimed his first season championship title in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series when he took the semifinal victory over event top qualifier Jim Laurita. He was ultimately denied the race victory in the final round as Mike Castellana pulled away for the win.

Smith, who says he may retire from the cockpit after this season, was emotional in the media center after being declared the champion with one race remaining on the Pro Mod season schedule. Smith leads second-place Castellana by 142 points and a maximum of 138 points is available to a single racer at each event.

“It’s been a long time since we won a championship, we won seven titles [IHRA Pro Stock and Super Modified] but the last one was in 1989,” said the 59-year-old Smith from King, N.C. “I’ve been doing this for 40 solid years. I drive my own truck and put my own awning up and it’s time to back off, be a crew chief and let these young guys do it. I am tickled to death to pull this deal off. I want to thank IDG for giving me this time to finish my career out. I want to walk away from this thing a champion.”  

Smith’s road to the series crown was opened when title challengers Mike Janis, Von Smith, Kenny Lang and Danny Rowe all lost in the first round and defending world champ Troy Coughlin lost to Laurita in the second round.


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Winner RSmithThe first time Rickie Smith did something significant as a professional drag racer at Rockingham Dragway, he was afraid that he had gotten in trouble. In May 1980, Smith made a quick run during the IHRA Pro Am Nationals and at the end of the track was summoned back to the starting line by a race official. 

Little did Smith know he had made drag racing history by becoming the first Pro Stock driver into the seven-second zone and the summons was nothing more than a matter of recognizing his achievement? 

Friday, during the ADRL Dragstock event, the seven-time world champion made a quick run and was summoned to the starting line again. This time, Smith knew he had done something significant. 

Smith covered the eighth-mile in 4.039 seconds at 185.10 to defeat Kevin Rivenbark and capture his first Pro Modified Battle for the Belts title.

“I really wanted to get a Battle for the Belts crown,” said Smith. “I’m close to retiring and I don’t know what else I can do in my career. I’ve won everything I could win and I’m so tickled. God has blessed me and my family so much that it ain’t even funny. My whole family is blessed. I just praise the Lord and there’s no way with all of the stuff I’ve done in life and the roads I have been down that I could have done this by myself. The Lord rode with me today.”

Smith has numerous trophies, but on Friday night he added a new and very special piece of hardware to his awards case.

“Back in the IHRA Winston days, we got big belt buckles,” said Smith. “But they were never anything this big. This is like a rasslin’ belt buckle. This is impressive; to win that big belt … I never figured I’d get another chance to win one of these. I’m just glad we could pull it off.” 

Smith entered Friday’s competition fourth in ADRL points and leading the NHRA.

“This is our year and I hope we can hang in there,” said Smith. “I don’t want to use all of our luck up quite yet.”

Smith’s victory came courtesy of a strong performance and he reached the finals by scoring low elapsed time of all three rounds. He used a 3.887 to beat Jimmy Keen and then a 3.847 to beat a red-lighting Raymond Matos.

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Rickie Smith went into the NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals as your point’s leader and came out still atop the standings.  Extending his Championship points lead to 98 points.

Smith and his nitrous-injected IDG Chevrolet Camaro qualified No. 1 at the prestigious Indianapolis event. Round after round on Sunday Smith showed everyone why he was the points leader. Putting down the fastest elapse time each pass.

Advancing to the finals, Smith would come up just a tad short of the win light.  Running a 5.955 et at 241.37 mph to Mike Janis’s winning 5.952 et at 241.41 mph.

“We ran well all weekend,” said Rickie Smith.  “Janis just stepped it up a notch in the finals and we were right there together all the way down the track.  It was a great drag race. With only three races left I just have to keep going rounds and looking for the Win light. This Championship is going to be close. There are a lot of tough cars out there to beat. We just have to stay focused and keep doing our job on raceday.”

Smith and the rest of the NHRA Pro Modified Drag Racing Series will head to zMax Dragway in Concord, NC (Smith’s home track) the weekend of September 13-15.



Rickie Smith is a man on a mission this year. Not only did he recently capture an ADRL win, but he has also won the last two NHRA Get Screened America Pro Modified races as well. Including doubling up on the same weekend as his son, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle rider, Matt Smith.


Pro Stock Motorcycle's Matt Smith had his Wally trophy in hand and had to wait awhile to see if Pro Modified-driving dad Rickie Smith would earn one, too, against final-round foe Mike Castellana.
He did Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, making the King, N.C., natives the first father-son pairing in NHRA history to hoist Wallys side by side as professional-class winners.
Funny Car's Johnny Gray -- who won Sunday, ironically -- missed his bid at Atlanta earlier this year to take the honor when son Shane Gray was the Pro Stock runner-up.
The Bernsteins, Kenny in Top Fuel and Brandon in Top Alcohol Dragster, shared the stage in 2001 at Las Vegas.
Although the NHRA Pro Modified class does not compete in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series (it has an unsponsored series of its own), it is considered a professional category.
As Matt Smith sat in the Summit Motorsports Park media center, watching, he said, "It would be awesome to share the winners circle with him. I hope he pulls it off for IDG and the Smith family. Take these two wins back to King, North Carolina, is what I hope happens."
Then he promised, "If he wins, we're not going to tear the awnings down tonight. We're going to party tonight."
And they had a right to party.
Matt Smith (6.954 seconds, 192.44 mph) defeated Sovereign-Star Racing Buell rider Scotty Pollacheck  (7.008, 191.16) for his first victory of the season but his Viper Motorcycle Company / Matt Smith Racing team's third straight final-round appearance.
Matt Smith missed the chance the previous weekend to win on the same day as his father, who drove to victory at the American Drag Racing League race at Martin, Mich. Matt Smith was runner-up to Michael Ray at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at Route 66 Raceway at Joliet, Ill., that day.
pm smith rickieBut Rickie Smith sealed the deal Sunday in the all-nitrous showdown against Castellana, driving his IDG Chevy Camaro to 6.103-seconds, 240.77-mph triumph. Castellana  responded with a 6.159, 238.60 in his Al-Anabi Racing Camaro.
With dad dominating the door-slammer drag-racing scene for several decades, it might sound odd that Matt Smith would end up on two wheels. The younger Smith said the explanation is simple.
"He don't want to get out of the car. You see that. He's doin' too good -- he won't let me in there," he said. "I had to take up a hobby that I could afford. I could afford bikes. I couldn't afford a car. One day maybe he'll get out of that thing and put me in there and we'll keep the name going in that deal."
Said Rickie Smith, "I would have let him drive before now, but it takes every nickel and dime to do this stuff. It's not that I don't want him to drive. It's just that I can't afford it."
Besides, he indicated, he's proud of his son for making his own way in racing and even winning the 2007 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle series championship along the way.
"He's done everything he's done on his own, just like I have," Dad Rickie said. "He come up working on bikes around home, made him some money. I give him $10,000 the first time he ever bought a bike, and that is ALL I ever give him. He's raised it hisself and done good."
Furthermore, he said, "Matthew's got several more years to race. I don't. All of you know I'm getting close to retirement from driving. It could very well be that if I win the championship, you could probably see me get out. But that's a long ways off."
As for the immediate accomplishment, he said, "I'm just tickled to death to get it done before I quit. It's tough to win, much less both of you at the same time. It's hard to pull these things off at the same time. When you can get a father and son and get that done, it's just a major accomplishment for family and fans. It goes back to NHRA is family."
And the Smith branch of the family has a great reunion in the winners circle Sunday at Norwalk.

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