Matt Smith earned pole position aboard his Denso Spark Plugs Pro Stock Motorcycle at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. He ran a 6.779-second pass at 200.83-mph during Friday qualifying to secure his third No. 1 qualifier of the 2019 season at Sonoma Raceway. The 2018 Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion also reached the semifinals in the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle.
He is looking for his second win in wine country and his second win of the 2019 season. He entered the weekend fourth in the standings. Sonoma was a breakthrough race for Smith in 2018 as he won the Pro Bike Battle and parlayed that into a charge up the standings towards another Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship.
"I like qualifying No. 1, but my wife hates it," said Smith, referring to his wife and fellow competitor Angie Smith. "She says we don't qualify well from that spot, but we did win the championship in Pomona last year from that spot. We got the green hat for qualifying No.1 and now we're going to try to win and get that yellow hat. It's just a reset. Today's race was a race within a race and we failed at that, so now we have to go back and reset, check everything and get ready for tomorrow."
He is followed closely by 2016 world champion Jerry Savoie, who is running a part-time schedule but is making a late push for a Countdown to the Championship spot. He is qualified second with a 6.801-second spot. The Tim Kulungian-tuned bike is one of two White Alligator Racing Suzukis entered at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals; Karen Stoffer is qualified fifth with a 6.844-second pass, a thousandth behind Matt Smith Racing competitor Angie Smith.
Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson rider Eddie Krawiec slotted into the No. 3 position with a 6.838-second pass. He qualified seventh in Denver, the last race on the schedule, marking the debut of the Harley-Davidson FXDR. Krawiec runnered up for the second-straight race, both losses coming against teammate Andrew Hines.
Hines is the leader in Pro Stock Motorcycle. He has six wins in eight races and is qualified in the No. 7 position. That is the lowest he has been qualified in the 2019 season and books him a matchup against Scotty Pollacheck.
The first round of racing is set to begin with Top Fuel at 11 a.m. at Sonoma Raceway. You can catch all the action live on NHRA.tv or by checking out finals coverage at 2 p.m. Pacific on FOX.