ST. LOUIS – Still riding the momentum from his victory at the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, N.C., former NHRA Pro Mod world champion Von Smith is looking to make his second world championship dream come closer to reality at this weekend’s penultimate race for the popular doorslammer series at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Smith, the 2010 NHRA Pro Mod world champion, is certainly confident as he returns to the popular track near St. Louis for the 28th annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, Sept. 27-29. The Tennessee racer has had past success at Gateway, where he claimed a victory in 2010 en route to earning his first championship title.
“I’m looking forward to returning to familiar territory this weekend,” Smith said. “Gateway was good to me during my championship season in 2010. I hope to get back in that winner's circle this weekend. Just as long as the track doesn't become a one lane racetrack, we should be good.”
At the series’ season-opener in Gainesville, Fla., behind the wheel of his Dr. Moon’s Rage/Al-Anabi Racing ‘69 Chevy Camaro, he defeated Chip King in the final round and secured his first victory of the season. Then recently at the zMAX Dragway event in Charlotte, Smith earned his fifth series career win by powering past Pete Farber in the final round. With the victory, Smith moved to third place in the series standing.
“I’m feeling good being back to third,” said the 2010 NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series world champion. “We’re just a few points out of second place, I’m anxious to get in there and earn more round wins.”
Smith hopes to continue this forward trend in his super-charged hot rod. He says that the team has been working nonstop to keep its momentum going strong and they are so motivated they can almost taste the championship.
“Our plan is to win the championship,” he said. “It’s too late in the season to make any mistakes. I’m confident in our Al-Anabi Racing team as a whole as well as Dr. Moon’s Rage team. We are closer than we ever thought we would be and we’re set on winning.”
In the No. 3 position, Smith is 86 points behind series leader Rickie Smith. Second place Mike Janis trails the leader by 85 points.
"You've got to be on your best game these last two races because there are some great drivers and teams out there,” Von Smith said. “We just are focused on winning and we believe we can make it happen.”
With only two more races (St. Louis and Las Vegas) remaining in NHRA's popular 250-mph doorslammer touring series, all of Smith’s rivals are ready to burst his championship dream bubble. Defending world champ and 2012 event winner Troy Coughlin sits in fourth, Ken Lang holds the fifth spot with Smith’s Al-Anabi Racing teammate Mike Castellana is sixth. The series champions will be crowned at the 13th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas, Oct. 24-27.
The 2013 Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will feature the quickest doorslammers from across the country as they battle for a win in one of the wildest classes in the NHRA. A mix of Camaros, Mustangs, Corvettes and Barracudas will take to the track during the course of the event.
NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 27 and 1:45 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 28. First round of eliminations begins on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. and continue on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2:30 p.m.
To purchase tickets for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, please call Gateway Motorsports Park at (855) RACE-TIK (722-3845) or visit www.gatewaymsp.com. For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.
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NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES FACT SHEET
AAA INSURANCE NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS
WHAT: AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, the ninth of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Other racing action showcased during this event includes the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
WHERE: Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, IL. The track is located at 700 Raceway Blvd., Madison, IL 62060
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 600 feet above sea level; Track direction is south to north.
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, Sept. 27-29.
FRIDAY, Sept. 27
NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 2:15 and 4:45 p.m.
SATURDAY, Sept. 28
NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 1:45 p.m.; first round of eliminations at 4 p.m.
SUNDAY, Sept. 29 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES eliminations continue at approximately 2:30 p.m.
2012 WINNER: Troy Coughlin
TRACK RECORDS: 5.816 sec. by Don Walsh, Sept. ’12; 257.97 mph by Troy Coughlin, Sept. ’12.
NATIONAL RECORDS: 5.772 sec. by Melanie Troxel, June. ’11, Englishtown; 258.71 mph by Troxel, June ’11, Englishtown.
TICKETS: For tickets call (855) RACE-TIK (722-3845). Tickets also available online at www.gatewaymsp.com.
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NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES POINT STANDINGS
(Following the eighth of 10 races; victories in parentheses)
1. Rickie Smith, King, N.C., IDG Chevy Camaro (2) 609
2. Mike Janis, Lancaster, N.Y., Valvoline Chevy Camaro (2) 524
3. Von Smith, Oak Ridge, Tenn., Dr. Moon / Al-Anabi Chevy Camaro (2) 523
4. Troy Coughlin, Delaware, Ohio, Jegs.com Chevy Corvette (1) 484
5. Kenny Lang, Grande Pointe, Manit., Summit Racing Chevy Corvette 453
6. Mike Castellana, Muttontown, N.Y., Al-Anabi Chevy Camaro 445
7. Danny Rowe, Laguna Hills, Calif., Agave Underground Tequila Chevy Camaro 435
8. Pete Farber, Baldwinville, Mass., CRC Brakeleen Dodge Daytona 406
9. Clint Satterfield, Albuquerque, BAC Enterprises Pontiac Firebird (1) 331
10. Chip King, Semora, N.C., Strutmasters.com Dodge Daytona 328