Mello Yello's Al Rondon, left, and NHRA's Tom Compton congratulated Matt Smith on his second NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle championship.
Matt Smith joined his father, Rickie, as a 2013 NHRA champion following his final-round victory over Jerry Savoie at the NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas. Smith, who entered the event with a big 125-point lead over then second-place Hector Arana Jr., pushed his total to an insurmountable 165 by claiming his fourth win of the season. Smith’s father clinched the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series title last month at the St. Louis race.
“What else can you ask for?” said Smith. “With me winning the [Pro Stock Motorcycle] championship and dad winning the Pro Mod championship, it’s been great. This Viper team has been awesome. I don’t want to sound too confident, but we’ve almost been unstoppable. We’ve been to 10 finals since Epping and have six wins. Those are amazing numbers for our team.
“Now that the championship is over, I’m going to do something different. I’m going to put Scotty [Pollacheck] on my bike and try to get him a win. [Angie Smith’s] bike came around this weekend, and John [Hall] ran well, but I’m going to focus on the other three riders. I’m still going to race, but I’m going to give up my ride.
“I haven’t slept good in three or four nights. In 2008, I had it wrapped up, and we had an electrical failure, and it cost us. That was in the back of my mind all day.”
Matt Smith, who also has four runner-up finishes this season, is one of the few remaining racers in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class who also serves as his own engine builder and crew chief. At times, Smith has run four bikes out of his Viper Motorcycle Co. team along with his wife, Angie, and teammates Hall and Pollacheck.
Smith entered the Countdown to the Championship as the No. 2 seed and took over the lead following three straight final-round performances in Dallas, St. Louis, and Reading.
In Las Vegas, Smith qualified in the No. 4 spot and then moved into the final round with wins over fellow world champions Andrew Hines and LE Tonglet before taking a 7.06 to 7.16 win over Shawn Gann in the semifinals. In the final round, Smith sealed the deal by beating Jerry Savoie’s White Alligator Racing Suzuki, 6.99 to 7.05.