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Matt Smith makes monster run to lead Denver Pro Stock Motorcycle field

Matt Smith takes his Denso EBR to the top spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle under the lights at Bandimere Speedway.
20 Jul 2019
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Race coverage

Reigning world champ Matt Smith made the third quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle pass at Bandimere Speedway to earn the top qualifying spot for the
second time this year and 33rd time in his career. After watching the Pro Stock car class make dramatic improvements, it was a given that their two-wheel counterparts would also improve but no one predicted his 7.132 second run, just short of the 7.111-second track record. Even Smith was shocked when he was handed his time slip.

“I didn’t think we’d see a number like that,” said Smith, who was also the low qualifier at the Las Vegas four-wide event and has been second in his two most recent events in Chicago and Norwalk. “After I saw [wife] Angie run a 7.20 I thought we might be able to run 7.17 or 7.16. I didn’t see a .13 coming. After we had that rain the track tightened up with no sun on it and my combination just stuck. That's the fastest I've ever been up here. I took a tooth [sprocket] off today and it still nosed over before the finish line. I should have run almost 190-mph.

"I can’t say enough about my team and Denso and all those who support us," said Smith. "You know, we're just a little team out here. If you look at that black [Vance & Hines] trailer and see all they've got in there they should never lose a race. I'm also happy for Angie because this is the highest she's ever qualified. We were just a hundredth or so from being No. 1 and No. 2 and that would have been cool.

Smith, a back-to-back winner in Denver in 2007-08, will have a round one match-up against bump spot qualifier Jimmy Underdahl who ran 7.377 on his Suzuki Extended Protection entry. Smith cannot race his wife, Angie, until the final round since she finished as the No. 3 qualifier, her best qualifying performance of the season.

Related: Pro Stock Motorcycle ladder

Nearly as impressive as Smith run was the performance of 2016 world champion Jerry Savoie, who rode his White Alligator Suzuki to a 7.197 for the No. 2 spot. Savoie, who has sat out the three most recent events, was a runner-up in his most recent appearance in Atlanta. Harley-Davidson’s Andrew Hines, the leader after Friday’s two runs did not improve from his earlier 7.232 and was bumped to fourth with his new FXDR model. Hines’ teammates, Eddie Krawiec and Angelle Sampey, finished in the top half of the field as the seventh and eighth qualifier respectively.