Matt Smith, in his first year riding the Nitro Fish Ultimate Gear Suzuki for Don Schumacher Racing in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, has just one goal before the season ends at this weekend’s 45th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals: to win his first race for DSR.
Smith, who has scored 10 national-event victories in 21 final rounds and the 2007 world championship since 2004, is winless this season despite a number of strong performances riding the quickest Suzuki in the class. He has set a national record and qualified No. 1 twice, but has only one runner-up finish to his credit. Winning this weekend would help him garner the third spot in the final point standings.
“I think we’re going to be third or fourth,” said Smith, who is fourth entering the event, 38 points short of third (Andrew Hines). “We’re right on par for that. We’re hoping we can put the Nitro Fish Suzuki in the winner’s circle so that we can close out our season on a high.
“We want to win, but we’re going to be fine. We’re focusing right now on next year. We’re going to have everything where we need it to be for 2010, and hopefully we can finish this season out strong and start out next season even stronger.
“We’ve had a long year and we want to start out fresh, begin at zero and go from there.”
Smith is the 2007 Pomona 2 PSM champion, and low qualifier at this event in 2005 and 2008.