They were once fierce rivals, battling ruthlessly on the track within the mountain motor Pro Stock area. On this year's grand stage of the NHRA U.S. Nationals these doorslammers legends will become an army of one.
Seven-time IHRA world champion turned Pro Modified racer Rickie Smith announced today the addition of a second car, with past Pro Street champion Pat Musi behind the wheel, during the Labor Day tradition.
The car Musi will drive is a Jerry Bickel-built 1968 Camaro sponsored by IDG with an identical power combination to the 2012 Camaro Smith currently drives.
“This is going to be great and a lot of fun,” said Musi. “Rickie and I have always respected one another and we work really well together. Over the years we kind of did our own things. I was humbled because I have always considered him the best at what he does. When he picked me to drive his car it’s overwhelming because when you ask someone to drive it means you show trust.”
For Smith, understanding the caliber of Musi made the decision a no-brainer.
“He’s a good driver and has been behind the wheel long enough to know when to quit,” said Smith. “He knows where the edge is and knows where not to go. He’ll be a great addition for Indy.”
Musi and Smith have developed a successful working relationship, and along with Sonny Leonard, coordinated a competitive effort for the nitrous-injected, EFI engine combination.
“Rickie has been phenomenal in what he’s put into the project,” said Musi. “He has helped us to get to where we need to be.”
Both Smith and Musi have history at the NHRA’s gala event. Smith picked up his first Indy title in 2003 and while Musi still seeks his first victory at The Big Go, he does boast a Pro Stock No. 1 qualifier during the 1981 running.
“I’m pretty stoked about this because when you look at this, this is a dream team of sorts,” Musi said with enthusiasm. “When I roll to the starting line there will be no nerves or butterflies. I will go to the line with a car I know is capable of winning and that’s our goal.”
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