Matt Smith fussed and pleaded with the NHRA regarding their decision to declare the dimpled belly pan on his one-year-old EBR body illegal and to give him one more race to come into compliance. His pleas fell on deaf ears.

It turns out, it didn’t make a difference, as Smith on the first run with a flat belly pan established a Sonoma track record with a  6.779 elapsed time, at 200.83 miles per hour.

One racer who was not surprised that Smith’s EBR-bodied bike ran that quick, is ironically the one who sold him the package - Hector Arana.

“I don’t think there’s any advantage of those dimples on the belly pan, especially if it doesn’t see the front area of the wind,” Arana said. “Some people started complaining, a team, we don’t know who but it doesn’t matter.”

Arana, just like Smith, has no problem with NHRA adjusting the rules. As he sees it, this is their job to maintain what they feel is a level playing field. It’s just the hardship he believes the tech department put on the teams with the rigid mandate which has him scratching his head.

“It’s NHRA’s house, and we play in their house, so no matter what we tried to talk to them, visit them,” Arana explained. “Especially if we would have had instead of a mandate right now, have a new belly pan for Indy it would have been easier because we didn’t have enough time. We got the letter on Sunday. Nothing you can do on Sunday, and we race on Friday, so all you have is four days to make something happen.”



Arana said his team’s drive from Denver to Sonoma is an inevitable two-day journey, which didn’t leave much time to craft a new carbon fiber replacement.

Thanks to Mark Kirkman, Arana had a replacement delivered.

“I called him on Sunday, [when he heard the rumors] so he said ‘Let me know what’s going to happen.”

“We were still waiting for a decision, a final decision, and when we heard that they were not going to give in, I called him back. He had some laser cut and overnighted over here.”

Arana said he’s not sold on the dimpled belly pan providing an aerodynamic advantage.

“I started making phone calls to people who know about aerodynamics, and they assured me it’s not doing anything for me,” Arana explained.

Arana believes it will be business as usual for the Buells.

“This is not going to slow us down,” Arana said. “This doesn’t do anything. So I am confident about that.”