It took every bit of the track E.T. record, but Matt Smith stopped Steve Johnson’s impressive run on Sunday in the final round of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk.
Smith went 6.782-seconds at 200.56 on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing EBR, breaking the track E.T. record Johnson set the previous day and halting his chances at a second straight win.
Johnson had been nearly untouchable the last two races on his new four-valve Slick 50 Suzuki, but Smith found another level when it counted on Sunday. Johnson slowed to a 6.836 at 196.10, though even if he had been on his best it might have been tough to top the Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader and defending world champ.
It’s Smith’s second victory this season and the 28th in his impressive career.
He reached the final round with victories against Jianna Salinas, Ryan Oehler and Eddie Krawiec, going 6.800 at 199.85 to beat Krawiec in the semifinals.
That was as close as Smith had been to the 6.70s this weekend to that point, but he had something extra for Johnson in the final round.
Johnson reached his second straight final, third this season and 25th in his career by beating Jim Underdahl, Angie Smith and Joey Gladstone. He qualified No. 1 and became the first rider in the class to reach the 6.70s at Norwalk, but Smith joined him — and eclipsed him — when it counted.
With the victory, Smith strengthened his points lead through five events in Pro Stock Motorcycle, while Johnson moved into second place in the class.