The No. 1 qualifying spot continues to serve Scotty Pollacheck well in Pro Stock Motorcycle, as he claimed an impressive victory on Sunday at the 40th and final Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
Racing teammate and defending world champ Matt Smith in the final round, Pollacheck was the benefactor of Smith going red by a mere .001. Smith went an impressive 6.811-seconds at 200.86 mph, but left early by the slimmest of margins, handing the victory to Pollacheck, who had a run of 6.921 at 198.35 on his Denso/Strutmaster/Matt Smith Racing EBR.
It gives Pollacheck his second career victory, with his first one coming a year ago at the U.S. Nationals. He qualified in the top spot at that race, too, replicating that feat this weekend to go down in history as the last Pro Stock Motorcycle winner at Atlanta.
“This whole team did so well with two bikes in the final round, and Matt is the man,” Pollacheck said. “He gave me one there because mine bogged down in the finals, but it’s going to be a big celebration tonight. This was awesome and it’s just a great team.”
After qualifying No. 1 with a 6.779 at 199.20, Pollacheck was outstanding on raceday, disposing of Jerry Savoie to open eliminations, and then going 6.808 at 199.40 and 6.802 at 199.32 to beat Ryan Oehler and Angelle Sampey, respectively, to reach his ninth career final round.
It wasn’t the prettiest performance in the final round, but the all-Matt Smith Racing final round was a definitive early-season statement for the team. MSR now has two of the first three victories, with Smith also advancing to his second final round this season and 60th in his career. He knocked out Steve Johnson, Joey Gladstone and Eddie Krawiec in a massive semifinal duel to reach the finals with his teammate.
Leaving Atlanta, Smith jumped into the points lead, holding a slim three-point advantage over Pollacheck.