Defending NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith secured primary sponsorship for the 2019 season with Denso Spark Plugs. The brand already partnered with veteran rider and Smith’s wife Angie in 2018.
“It’s big for me because last year I raced out of my own pocket to do the deal,” said Smith. “I had to get people to buy this and buy that for me. All and all to have the money to go out and defend my championship for me is really huge. I think we can do better than last year and get a lot of wins and a lot of No. 1 qualifiers.”
The Denso Duo will take to the strip at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals to start the Pro Stock Motorcycle season March 14-17 [tickets].
“If we have any kind of tailwind, and if I do my job driving and tuning, I think we can go 203 [mph], said Smith. I think we can step up that speed record even more. We have five more motors just like mine and in my perspective, we can do even better.”
This season should go more smoothly for Smith, who starts out on his Denso Spark Plugs EBR. That was not the story in 2018, when the defending champ began the season with a tenuous partnership. He rebounded from that short-lived deal in Gainesville and eventually became the Pro Stock Motorcycle champion by defeating Eddie Krawiec on the final pass of the season while setting the speed record for the class.
Smith went to five final rounds and won four of them. He earned victories in Chicago, St. Louis, Charlotte and Pomona. He reached the final round in four of six Countdown to the Championship races and qualified No. 1 twice during the postseason, helping him to his third Pro Stock Motorcycle championship.
Angie Smith will continue to ride with Denso on the side of her motorcycle after reaching the Countdown to the Championship for the second-straight season. She finished eighth in the standings and reached two semifinals, qualifying as high as sixth at the Fall Las Vegas event. Her best race came in Brainerd, where she defeated Matt to reach the semi’s.
Angie will also race with an EBR body in 2019, an upgrade from last season. That should make the pair an even bigger force to be reckoned with.
Many of the stars of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class will be on hand at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona to help kick off the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season beginning Thursday [tickets].