Matt Smith wrapped up his fifth world championship on Sunday at Auto Club Pomona Raceway when he defeated Angelle Sampey in the quarterfinals and then continued to roll on to the 32nd win of his career with a holeshot win over Karen Stoffer in the final round.
Facing a performance deficit for one of the few times this season, Smith rose to the challenge with a .011 light that left well ahead of Stoffer’s .101. Putting a tenth in the bank, Smith was able to win with a 6.817 to Stoffer’s 6.766.
“What a relief; this has been a tough year,” Smith said. “I’ve said all year long that those Suzuki bikes are fast. We made it work. I managed to outperform them on the starting line and we needed it. To Denso, Mark Stockseth, and Glen Butcher Trucking, thanks for all you do.”
Smith was bumped from the top spot in qualifying by Stoffer on Saturday afternoon but starting from the No. 2 spot didn’t seem to have much effect on the Denso team. Smith defeated Ryan Oehler, Sampey, and Eddie Krawiec before finishing the job with his win against Stoffer.
Smith’s only hiccup was a trip to the sand trap following his championship-clinching win against Sampey but he managed to get his bike cleaned and serviced in order to race in the final two rounds.
After runner-up finishes at the two more recent Pro Stock Motorcycle events in Bristol and Las Vegas, Stoffer has now appeared in the final of the last three events but hasn’t been able to come away with a victory.
Celebrating her 25th year in the class, Stoffer rode her Big St. Charles/Skillman Auto Group Suzuki wins against Kelly Clontz and Scotty Pollacheck before taking a bye run in the semifnals. Stoffer also set low elapsed time of the weekend with a 6.741 in round one and recorded the first 200-mph pass of her career.