Rickie Smith advanced to his fifth straight final round on Sunday in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon and broke through for his first victory of the 2022 season at Brainerd International Raceway as part of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
The event, which was powered by Stinar, was the sixth of 10 races during the 2022 season in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon. Smith made a major move in the points standings as well, picking up the win over Doug Winters with a run of 5.791-seconds at 250.92 mph in his nitrous-powered Sokal Camaro in the championship round.
Winters had the advantage on the starting line, but Smith tracked him down early, cruising to the victory with another run in the 5.70s this weekend. The multi-time world champion reached the finals with victories against Khalid AlBalooshi, Mike Castellana and two-time world champ Stevie “Fast” Jackson, also posting a .018 reaction time during his win in the second round.
The longtime standout also pulled within 25 points of leader Kris Thorne with four races remaining this season.
“Points are way far out of my mind,” Smith said. “I wanted to win a race before I retire again this year. We’ve done it. Unless I win another one, this may be the last time you see me win an NHRA race. It’s just been awesome to stay out here this late in my career. Thank you NHRA and thank you D-Wagon for putting up the money. God bless everybody and I love all of you.”
Despite falling in the finals, Winters enjoyed a memorable day en route to his first career final round in the category. He upset No. 1 qualifier Thorne, who won the D-Wagon NHRA Pro Mod Shootout on Saturday, and J.R. Gray as he was searching for his first career win.
The FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon returns to action as part of the prestigious Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals on Aug. 31-Sept. 5 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.