Smith Wins Vegas; Repeats as NHRA Pro Mod Champion
Rickie Smith took home his second consecutive world championship title with a victory during the final race of the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season Sunday at the NHRA Toyota Nationals. Pro Mod racing at this event is presented by Aeromotive, Inc.
Smith powered his nitrous-injected IDG Camaro to a 5.912 second pass at 242.63 mph, defeating No. 1 qualifier Don Walsh in the final round at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was Smith’s third win of the season and seventh of his career. He had previously clinched his second career title with his second-round victory over Rick Snavely.
“I’m competitive and I feel I can drive these cars as good as anybody,” said Smith, a native of King, N.C. “I handle it in bad situations. Like I told my crew chief, it isn’t all about cutting lights. You’ve got to know where you want to stage up there. You got to know when it shakes, when to pedal. That’s where I have won these two championships, being able to drive the car when the car isn’t acting right.”
Smith becomes the only Pro Mod Series driver to claim multiple championships. He began the weekend as the No. 2 qualifier, defeating Danny Rowe in the first round on Saturday night. His 5.886 at 243.15 second round victory over Snavely sealed the deal for the title. He went on to beat 2012 Pro Mod world champ Troy Coughlin in the semifinals with a 5.945 at 242.54 to Coughlin’s losing 6.116 at 241.28.
Coughlin, driver of the JEGS turbocharged Corvette, finishes second in the points for the second consecutive year. He picked up victories at Norwalk and the NHRA Carolina Nationals, giving him six career wins.
Walsh backed up his No. 1 qualifying effort with a final-round appearance. He defeated Pete Farber, Kevin Rivenbark and Von Smith en route to the final.
(Photos courtesy NHRA/National Dragster)
LAS VEGAS — Final round-by-round results from the 14th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the race is the final of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
ROUND ONE — Kevin Rivenbark, Ford Mustang, 5.986, 236.80 def. Mike Knowles, Chevy Camaro, 6.157, 240.85; Richard Snavely, Camaro, 5.934, 253.14 def. Dan Stevenson, Camaro, 6.411, 175.66; Von Smith, Camaro, 5.936, 240.72 def. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 6.493, 166.66; Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.880, 250.27 def. Steven Whiteley, Camaro, 6.313, 180.02; Jay Payne, Camaro, 5.933, 242.67 def. Kevin Fiscus, Mustang, 11.158, 78.87; Eric Latino, Camaro, 5.906, 243.68 def. Todd Tutterow, Camaro, 5.924, 239.70; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 6.610, 163.35 def. Danny Rowe, Camaro, 11.925, 91.28; Don Walsh, Camaro, 5.841, 250.51 def. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, foul; QUARTERFINALS — R. Smith, 5.886, 243.15 def. Snavely, 5.941, 250.97; V. Smith, 5.932, 240.42 def. Payne, 12.247, 126.16; Coughlin, 5.898, 249.30 def. Latino, 5.899, 243.81; Walsh, 5.900, 242.50 def. Rivenbark, 6.122, 203.95; SEMIFINALS — Walsh, 5.821, 245.72 def. V. Smith, 5.929, 240.59; R. Smith, 5.945, 242.54 def. Coughlin, 6.116, 241.28; FINAL — R. Smith, 5.912, 242.63 def. Walsh, DQ.
LAS VEGAS — Point standings (top 10) following the 14th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the race is the final of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
1. Rickie Smith, 753; 2. Troy Coughlin, 634; 3. Von Smith, 615; 4. Mike Janis, 569; 5. Danny Rowe, 530; 6. Steve Matusek, 526; 7. Kevin Fiscus, 486; 8. Pete Farber, 483; 9. Mike Castellana, 444; 10. Mike Knowles, 385.