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Matt Smith Beats Steve Johnson At The Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park

From / Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor

Smith’s victory gave the team a huge boost, beating points leader Steve Johnson after the two had waged war on the internet following Johnson’s final-round victory over him in Houston. Smith grabbed a six-hundredths holeshot on Johnson and hung on for a 6.842 to 6.786 victory by just .005-second.

The victory was Smith’s 33rd, tying him with the late, great three-time world champion John Myers for fifth all-time in class victories, and his first aboard a Suzuki. The win also moved him into fourth place in points.

"Winning on a Suzuki been a goal of mine," admitted Smith. "I went to four or five finals on a Suzuki early in my career, and I never get to close the deal, and then the V- twins came along and I've won one on a Buell, I've won on an EBR, and I've won on a Victory, and now I won on a Suzuki.

"Steve's been out here a long time and everybody knows what he likes to do. He likes to stage first and likes to start last. He had the better bike and I had nothing to lose, so I made him start his bike first and in and I went with the intention to stage first. I knew he loves the stage first so I rolled in and double-bulbed him and it was game on."

Smith, who only made one qualifying run –- he lost his second attempt to an electrical gremlin and the third session was canceled due to unsafe racing conditions –- but he rebounded nicely in eliminations, running 6.87 and a pair of 6.86s en route to trailering Chris Bostick, Jimmy Underdahl, and Eddie Krawiec.

Johnson entered the event as the hottest racer on the tour after back-to-back wins in Houston and the Charlotte four-wide event and extended his points lead with another solid outing on his Tull Plumbing Suzuki. Johnson, whose only loss this season had been to Angie Smith in round two of the season-opening Gatornationals, ran his win streak to 10 rounds by setting down Lance Bonham, Karen Stoffer, and popular longshot Marc Ingwersen with a blitz of 6.8-second runs.

See the full recap from Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor:

See the photo gallery from the NHRA National Dragster staff:

See the current standings:

Photo: NHRA National Dragster


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