All season, Matt Smith has been searching for the right combination for his Pro Stock Motorcycle team.
Last week in testing at Indianapolis and Rockingham, N.C., he believes he found it.
“We have done a lot of testing over the last week or so and I think we basically found our problem of what has been plaguing us all year,” said Smith, the 2007 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ. “I can’t say what it is, but we have found the problem and I think we are going to be pretty fast (now).”
Smith runs his Matt Smith Racing operation which includes him and Michael Ray. Both Smith and Ray ride Buells.
“Both Michael and I tested last Wednesday at Indy, and I just didn’t feel like we ran as good as we thought we should,” Smith said. “We packed up and Michael had to go home and I went to Rockingham and tested with (Pro Stock drivers) Greg Anderson, Jason Line and Shane Gray on Friday. I picked up six hundredths and four mph. I think we found out what has been plaguing us this whole year.”
Smith’s hopeful the new combination will pay dividends at his team’s most important race of the season, the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis which begin Thursday and conclude Monday.
The U.S. Nationals is the final race of the regular season before the six race Countdown to the Championship begins Sept. 14-16 at Charlotte. To qualify for the Countdown, Smith and Ray have to place in the top 10 in the point standings following Indy. Ray (419) and Smith (374) are eighth and ninth in points. Shawn Gann (367) and John Hall (345) are 10th and 11th.
“We have kind of gone the wrong direction (with their tune-ups),” Smith said. “We thought everything was right and it wasn’t.”
Smith said in addition to he and Ray, Dawn Minturn is renting his third Buell for Indy.
“She tested up with us at Indy and ran good,” said Smith of Minturn. “My goal is to qualify all three bikes and definitely Michael and I should both be in the top six. There is more pressure (because of the Countdown) because ever since I have been doing this on my own I have not even been close to being in this kind of situation. I’m just glad we found out what we have been struggling on, and I think we will be fine. We are trying to get things back to where they should be.”
Smith was No. 8 after the first day with a 7.019 elapsed time.
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