Matt Smith dominates again to become first Winternationals PSM champion
Matt Smith continued his domination of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class with his fourth win of the season and the 30th of his career, shutting down fellow world champ Angelle Sampey in the final round to become the first Pro Stock Motorcycle winner in Winternationals history.
Smith, a four-time champ, powered his Denso Buell to a 6.82 at 199 mph to defeat three-time titlist Sampey, whose Vance & Hines Suzuki slowed from its torrid 6.8-second pre-final pace to a 6.91 at just 173 mph.
"It was so hot today, and that was the biggest thing, just fighting the track," said Smith. "Being the crew chief is hard enough but being a driver and crew chief and the owner it, makes it really hard but we got it done.
"[Being the first to win the Winternationals] is awesome. Our team is always excited to win when we go somewhere new and every time we seem to get a new venue our team excels and does good and we've won here [in Pomona] before but never for the Winternationals title and it's interesting because I thought the Winternationals was much cooler than this, " he added with a grin.
The final was the eighth time that the two class heroes have raced in a final round, Sampey won their first meeting, way back in 2006, but Smith has now won the last seven, most recently previous to this one at the 2016 Auto Club NHRA Finals.
As low qualifier, Smith got a first-round bye in the 15-bike field, then faced a couple of familiar faces in teammates Angie Smith and Scotty Pollacheck. Matt defeated his wife in the second round, 6.83 to 6.92, then bested Pollacheck in the semifinals with a 6.91 after his bike momentarily jumped out of fifth gear to reach the 63rd final round of his career.
En route to the 75th final round of her career, Sampey took a first-round bye run when Jimmy Underdahl was unable to make the call, then defeated Joey Gladstone with a 6.84 in the second round and Vance & Hines teammate Eddie Krawiec in the semifinals with a 6.87 that earned her final-round lane choice.