Well the season is starting for the bikes in just about three weeks. The winter has flown by. We built Michael Ray a new bike for the 2012 race season. With multiple trips to Mooresville, N.C., to Good Fabrication where the bike was being built it is finally done. It looks very stellar. We traveled to West Palm Beach last week to get a few laps in for Michael’s new bike and to also test some new things we had been working on through the winter. Testing went great despite dodging rain showers for two days. Matt made about 6 runs, Michael made nine runs and Tyler (Matt’s cousin) was starting a new project. Tyler is learning to ride a Pro Mod bike. He did a great job. Going from one bike to another bike that is a second faster is a hard transition but Tyler made it look easy. Previous to West Palm Beach Tyler’s best e.t. was about 5.20 in the eighth-mile. At the completion of our test session Tyler went 4.36 in the eighth-mile with a 1.08 60-foot time. He did great. Matt and Michael made lots of passes and the research we did over the winter seem to be promising. Overall we were happy with the test session.
Earlier this week we traveled to Texas to get some work done to our trailer before the start of the race season. Competition Trailers took the whole floor out of the rear section of the trailer and replaced it. The project was going to take about 3-5 days so we unhooked the truck and headed south to visit Michael Ray and the Gruene Harley Davidson group. We traveled down on Monday evening and I guess Matt thought it was a great time for me to learn how to drive the truck. I got in the driver’s seat and off we went. I drove about 100 miles. So for my first time of driving for an extended period of time I guess I did ok. Matt and I got up Tuesday morning, which was Valentine’s Day to meet everyone at Gruene Harley Davidson.
We toured the shop, looked at some bikes, checked out the clothing department, and checked out the town. Man that place is beautiful. It reminds me of a beach town with all the shops and restaurants. I got paged over the loud speaker to come to the front of the dealership. I didn’t know what was going on. Matt and Jennifer Ray (Michael’s wife) had got together and I got beautiful roses at the dealership. Matt got lots of brownie points for that one and thank you Jenn for helping. We had lunch at this awesome restaurant by the river. The weather was beautiful and the food was outstanding. We had a great two days at the dealership hanging out with the Ray’s and the Gottsacker family. Thank you for all your hospitality. We are so thankful for Michael and the whole gang to be a part of our team this year. It’s going to be a fun year filled with lots of round wins for the MSR team.
Well I am sure most of the world knows by now that I will not be racing this season. No sponsors have come through for Matt and I so this puts a hold on my dream of racing pro stock bike this year. I am not taking it well but with time I guess I will be ok. I will still be at the races this year helping Matt with the team. My hope and wish is to be back out next season but you never know in this market. I really hope Pomona 2011 was not my last race. I am trying to be positive and optimistic about this deal and keep my head up. I am wishing Michael and Matt all the luck in the world and we are hoping to get both of them in the winner’s circle this year.
Just like to say thank you for all the encouraging notes and emails from my fans supporting me through this tough time. Thank you to all the people trying to help campaign me for a sponsor as well.
The New Year is here and I am sad to say that our sponsorship process is still going. Nothing has appeared yet. We are hoping something comes about so we both can race this season. The plan as of right now is for me to sit out the 2012 season. Something I am not looking forward to at all. I am hoping and praying something comes up whether its last minute or not because as all of you know I want to race. We will see what happens. I will be helping Matt and Michael Ray at the track this year. I think my duties will increase on the race team but I am OK with that.
We had a fabulous Christmas as always. It’s one of the only times of year we get to spend time with both of our families. It’s also a time for us to spend time with each other and relax and that is what I have been doing. I bought Matt a new game for Christmas called iRacing. It is like a mini NASCAR cockpit with a steering wheel, screen and all kinds of different controls. Ever since he has got this he has been consumed with it. I know some fellow NHRA racers have them as well. I am glad he loved his Christmas present. Matt got me something very special to me. I have wanted these canvas wraps of my bridal portraits. They are expensive so I had not ordered them just yet. Well he got them for me and I was super excited. Now we have to hang them in our house and that will be another challenge in itself.
If you guys are followers of our Facebook page I know you guys have heard about the new dog and cat beds my sister and I are making. They are fun to make and it gives me an opportunity to get creative. We made a few beds for our dogs and they loved them so much that we decided to start making them for the public. We call them Cozy Critter Beds. So far it has been a hit for us. We started a page for the beds on Facebook. Go like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CozyCritterBeds . We are making everything from cat and dog prints, professional team prints, college prints, to almost anything you want. If we don’t have it we will order it. Check them out and if you like them put an order in today.
Thanks again for everyone for supporting Matt Smith Racing in the past years. Please continue to support us and pray for us to get funding to race NHRA in 2012.
Pomona has come and gone for us. It was a great time. Again we had all three bikes in the show on Sunday. Matt is getting pretty good at this. We missed having all three bikes in the top half of the field by one position. I was 9th and Michael Ray was 8th. Bum deal for us because we had to race each other on Sunday. It was a good race but I just hate running my teammates unless it was the final round. I want to say thank you to Michael Ray and Jenn, Paul Ray, Uncle Hal, Rugger, and Mark Connor. We have such an awesome team with them now and its really fun going to the racetrack.
On Monday we traveled to Hollywood for the banquet. Matt, Michael, and I took a stroll down Hollywood Blvd. where all the stars have their names on the sidewalk. Pretty cool experience. Then it was time for me to get my hair and makeup done while the guys took a nap. After getting dressed we all went down to Karen Stoffer's room for a toast for ending the year. The banquet was great but the after party was even more fun. We enjoyed hanging out with our friends then we called it an evening. We had a long drive ahead of us. 40 hours to North Carolina.
We arrived home on Thursday around 10 a.m. Then we hopped in the car again to drive another four hours to Emerald Isle, N.C. Many of you probably do not know this about me but I love to go fishing. I practically grew up on Lake Norman going fishing with my grandpa. Tyler and Stacy Wilson had rented a house and wanted all of us to come down. We got up Friday morning and started fishing. We caught a few but nothing like we did on Saturday. On Saturday alone we caught over 75 fish in a five-hour span. We were catching Speckled Trout. It was a blast. We stayed down there two more days and then came home.
Thursday was Thanksgiving and I always start my day off by watching the Macy’s Parade. One day I would like to go up and see it live. We headed over to my sister's house for Thanksgiving lunch and then over to Nancy’s for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great time. I love spending time with our families. We don’t get to do that a lot during the year so it’s very important to me to at least do it during the holidays.
This past weekend we headed down to PRI show in Orlando. We spent three whole days talking with new people and checking in with our product sponsors as well. We found some new ideas and things that hopefully will help us in the performance department next season. So the funniest thing about going to PRI show is that I didn’t want to leave my dogs at home. They are my children. So we had to figure out a way to get them in the hotel. We came up with this. We have a pretty big laundry bag so every time they would need to go out to the bathroom I would put them in the laundry bag and hit the stairs. We were only staying on the 3rd floor so I was out of the hotel in less than two minutes. I bet the security people at the hotel thought I had a lot of laundry considering I took them out several times a day. It was so funny because sometimes one of the dogs would bark a little and people would just look at me. Not sure if they heard a dog or not. It was hilarious. The dogs would hop right in the bag because they knew what was going on.
Rickie wanted us to come down to Bradenton to test with him for two days since we were already in Florida for the show. We had a great day of testing yesterday and we are going to test for 1 more day, which is today. After today we are headed home to work on finding some more horsepower.
As of right now we have not got anything as far as sponsorship to go racing in 2012. It's really depressing but we are pushing forward every day. We are trying every day. I am on the phone and sending emails everyday just hoping that I will strike someone’s interest in our race team. We have a great team and I don’t want any of us to be sidelined in 2012. I am hoping and praying that something will come through so we can start on some research and development so we can be a little more competitive for next season. Michael Ray will be with us racing next year regardless if we find funding or not. So glad he and his team decided to join us for 2012. Again they are such an awesome group of people and a lot of fun to be with at the racetrack.
Thanks again to all the folks that supported us in 2011. We are hoping 2012 funding will come through and we can race once again.
We are one race away from completing our season this year. I will say I am ready for a small break. The last couple of races have been pretty good for us. In Reading Matt ran an amazing 6.795 at 194. It was the quickest side-by-side race in history. That’s an honor if you ask me. We lost in the finals but we have nothing to hang our head about at that race.
With the West Coast races approaching we had a lot of work to do. It was our first and only time we will race at Phoenix. We were pretty excited because Matt has a pretty good record at new racetracks. With another semifinal appearance in Phoenix we were looking al right for the Championship. Some good things would have to happen for us, and bad luck to others. While we were having fun racing at the track some others were having fun in Las Vegas. That was Michael Ray and Jenn. They got married on October 16, which is ironically our anniversary as well. I guess we will be celebrating anniversaries together in the future. Congrats to Michael and Jenn Ray.
We headed over to Las Vegas. It was only a five-hour drive. Matt and I decided to stay out west between the Phoenix and Las Vegas races. Matt decided to test on Tuesday and Wednesday in Las Vegas. Well with all of our crew at home in North Carolina I served as the crew girl. We made five passes on Tuesday and five passes on Wednesday with two motor swaps. Let me just tell you I was tired. Matt was mainly inside doing tune-ups and maps on the computer so I was solely responsible for the bike. We didn’t have any mistakes or mishaps so all was good. Matt took me out to a very nice dinner after testing at Shibuya in the MGM Grand. It is an amazing Japanese restaurant. After testing we spent several days working on the bikes to get them prepared for the Las Vegas event.
While staying in Las Vegas we got to tour the Nellis Air Force Base. That was really fun and a learning experience. I absolutely love those jets and my dream is to fly in a jet. Hopefully that will come true. Thank you to all the folks that got us hooked up to go over to Nellis Air Force Base.
Las Vegas was a pretty great event, not only at the track, but at the Aliante Casino and Hotel as well. Aliante Casino stepped up and sponsored Matt for the event. Aliante Hotel sponsored us with the nicest room in the facility, the Presidential Suite. Let me just say we felt like a king and queen staying there. With two bedrooms, three bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, an amazing view of the pool, and 72-inch TV. What is not to love about that. Thank you so much to Linda Bowers and everyone at Aliante Casino and Hotel who made it happen for us.
Matt and Steve Nichols did an awesome job of tuning our bikes because we had three bikes in the show on Sunday. That is a huge accomplishment. None of us had to race each other first round and that was great too. Matt’s bike spun really bad when he dropped the clutch so he didn’t get the win. Michael did an awesome job on the starting line with a .007 light and a VERY close race at the finish line. All in all Michael still has nothing to hang his head about. He did awesome all weekend long. I have been struggling with the starting line the last couple of races. I have been very frustrated with myself. I have improved and I think it showed. Not a very good light first round but it was enough to take the win light. Round 2 was going to be a tough match up. I had the No. 1 qualifier. I knew I had to do my job on the starting line. That is exactly what I did. I had an .021 light and took the win light on a hole shot. A 7.04 beat a 6.97. I was very happy. I helped Eddie Kraweic out so he is taking Matt and I to dinner in California along with Anne Marie. I know some folks are upset with me for the second-round win but I show up at the racetrack with the same mentality as everyone else: TO WIN!!! Every time I have to go out and do my best. I wasn’t to win a Wally.
Well we are home for a few days to relax before heading back out to Pomona. I love Pomona and the banquet. We will have some fun after all the pressure is done. For Pomona we are hoping for a win out of one of our teammates. Let’s do this.