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Matt Smith claims fourth pole of 2019 in St. Louis

28 Sep 2019
Jacob Sundstrom
Race coverage
Matt Smith

Defending world champion Matt Smith took a step towards defending his title by earning pole position for the fourth time in 2019 at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. 

Smith went to the top for the first time in three races on the back of a 6.801-second moonshot in the third qualifying session. He went more than three-hundredths of a second quicker than Steve Johnson, who ended the second qualifying session in pole position. Johnson will start race day from the No. 2 spot. 

Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec took the third and fourth qualifying spots for the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson contingent. They qualified with 6.851 and 6.859-second passes, five-hundredths behind Smith. They will face Michael Ray and Andie Rawlings in the first round. Angelle Sampey, the third member of the Vance & Hines team, qualfiied seventh and will race Scotty Pollacheck in the first round. 

Matt Smith enters Countdown with nothing to hide

Jerry Savoie, who enters St. Louis as the most recent winner and the category leader, qualified fifth. He will face off against Hector Arana Jr. Neither of the Lucas Oil Racing EBRs, which are ridden by Hector Arana Sr. and Hector Arana Jr., performed up to their usual standards and are qualified 11th and 12th. 

Ryan Oehler, who regained some of the performance he had found earlier in the season, qualified eighth and will race Karen Stoffer in the first round. It's his best qualifying position since qualifying eighth in Sonoma. His best qualifying position is fifth, which he notched at the season opener in Gainesville. 

Jianna Salinas qualified on the bump spot with a 7.160. She will face off against Smith in the first round. She finished two-hundredths behind Andie Rawlings. 

Race day is set to begin at 11 a.m. Central at World Wide Technology Raceway with Top Fuel. You can catch all the action live on NHRA.tv. Coverage begins on FS1 at 12 Central.