Matt Smith has been dominant this season on his Denso EBR and he was rewarded on Sunday in Las Vegas with his fourth Camping World NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship. Smith entered the season-ending Dodge NHRA Finals as the points leader over teammate Scotty Pollacheck and Harley-Davidson rivals Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines. He officially clinched the title by reaching the semifinal round.
Smith kicked off eliminations with a win over the third Harley rider, three-time champ, Angelle Sampey. Rivals Pollacehck and Krawiec also advanced. Pollacheck’s title hopes evaporated when his bike slowed against Smith’s wife, Angie in the quarterfinals. In the next pair, Krawiec gave up a big lead off the starting line against Hector Arana Jr’s Lucas Oil EBR and could not make up the difference. With the championship secured, Smith defeated Hines to reach the semifinal round on the strength of a 6.875 run.
“This was a long hard deal today,” said Smith. “That [Vance & Hines] group played their cards right and I had to race them in the first and second rounds. If you want to be the champ you have to beat the and I just beat the champ [Hines] to win this. I can’t thank Denso and Mark Stockseth enough for what they do for me.”
Smith kicked off the abbreviated 2020 season with a runner-up finish to first-time winner Ryan Oehler at the July event in Indianapolis. He scored his first win in September at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals where he defeated Hines in the final round. Smith then distanced himself from the field at the next event, the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis when he beat Pollacheck in the final. Smith, also won the $25,000 top prize in the Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Bike Battle held in Indianapolis. To cap off a dominant season, Smith also earned the lion’s share of qualifying bonus points by securing the top spot five times in eight races this season.
Smith won titles in 2007, 2012 and 2018, came close to winning last year’s title but suffered a heartbreak on the final day of the season when he suffered a mechanical failure and ultimately finished third behind Hines and Jerry Savoie.
With four championships, Smith joins some distinguished company in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class including six-time champ Andrew Hines, five-time champ Dave Schulz, and Krawiec, who also has four titles. Smith also has 26 wins in 57 final rounds.