There is still a lot of racing left to do in 2021, but if anyone is to keep Matt Smith from winning a fifth Camping World NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship, it might be best to do it now. Smith won for the third time this year when he topped Eddie Krawiec in the final round of the Dodge//SRT NHRA Mile-High Nationals, backing up his most recent win in Norwalk three weeks ago.
The two rivals were even at the start, but Smith’s Denso Buell quickly established an advantage and stretched the lead to a sizable 7.118 to 7.175 margin at the finish line. Both riders flirted with the elusive 190-mph barrier at Bandimere Speedway with side-by-side 189-mph efforts.
“This place is hard to run at it,” Smith said. “I love this race track. I was successful in the early part of my career. I won the first two races I ran here. I love the Bandimere family. What an awesome facility. I’m so glad we get to come out here. Thanks to Denso, Lucas Oil, Mark Stockseth, Greg Butcher Trucking, and World Wide Bearings. Thanks for all you do for us.”
Smith ran the table in Denver by qualifying in the top spot, which led to an opening-round bye run. A pair of consistent 7.147 runs was more than enough to earn wins over Cory Reed and six-time world champion Andrew Hines.
Smith now has 29-career wins and he accomplished almost everything he wanted to do in Denver although he did come up just a bit short in his quest to make the track’s first 7.0-second and 190-mph motorcycle runs. Otherwise, he was just about flawless.
Krawiec, like teammate Andrew Hines, missed the first two races of the season while they put together their Vance & Hines Buell program. Krawiec was never really in danger of missing the Top 10, but he entered the Denver race as the tenth-ranked driver in the class. Krawiec reached the 86th final round of his career when he beat Jerry Savoie, Steve Johnson, and Smith’s wife, Angie, who fouled in the semi’s.