An eventful weekend of racing at the Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA) North-South Shootout presented by Line-X at Maryland International Raceway was highlighted by a drag bike performance by Ronnie “Pro Mod” Smith.
Defending world champion Smith picked up his first win of the season, but his event victory was practically overshadowed by his record performance in the final round. Smith shattered the Pro Nitrous Motorcycle ET national record – his own 3.973 set at the 2018 North-South Shootout – with a 3.958 at 176.28, defeating Brunson Grothus and his 9-second pass in the final round.
“You don’t understand how big of a deal this is,” Smith said. “I owe a lot to my tuner (Shane Smith) and FuelTech. The round before the final, we ran a 3.97. We knew the weather would come to us, so we didn’t change much on the bike – we just sent it. When it went a 3.95, I couldn’t believe it myself. I looked up and almost fell of the bike.”
Smith, of Pasadena, Maryland, rode his Innovative Performance Hayabusa to a 4.053 at 174.66 over TT Jones in the opening round. His 3.977 at 175.46 defeated Chris Garner-Jones’ 4.021 at 174.93 in the semifinals and served as the backup run for his final-round record.
Grothus slid into the eight-motorcycle field on the bump spot and capitalized on the opportunity, using a holeshot advantage and 4.051 at 176.70 to take out No. 1 qualifier Paul Gast and his 4.025 at 177.91. The Iowa-based rider hopped up his Indocil Art Suzuki to record a 4.007 at 177.16 over three-time world champion Eric McKinney and his 4.076 at 173.36.