Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Angie Smith Aims To Continue Playoff Ascent At Texas NHRA FallNationals

Story By: NHRA – ENNIS, TX – Among all competitors in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, nobody has made a bigger move in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs than Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Angie Smith.

She’s jumped up four spots to third place in just two playoff races in the category, but Smith isn’t satisfied and will get the chance to move up even more at this weekend’s 37th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex. Smith trails her husband, defending world champion and event winner Matt Smith, by 90 points, while Joey Gladstone is just 21 points out of first.

She has raced well during the Countdown to the Championship, advancing to the final round in Reading to open the postseason on her Denso Auto Parts Buell. She’s also been consistent and avoided an early loss in St. Louis, putting Smith in position to try and win a championship as she aims for her first win of the season this weekend in Dallas.

“All the races in the Countdown in this class are tough, so you have to put your best foot forward,” Smith said. “You can have some bumps in the road during the regular season and then be flawless in the Countdown and come out well. Having momentum is important and it’s all about just making good runs down the track. I feel more prepared, and I have a good motorcycle that’s making consistent runs. It’s all about putting your head down and trying to focus on the big prize.”

Justin Ashley (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won last year’s playoff race and this season’s event will also be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) as the playoffs move to crunch time in Dallas. That’s just fine for Angie Smith, who has embraced the heightened intensity that comes with racing for a championship in the playoffs.

Riding what she believes is the best bike she’s ever been on has certainly helped, but Smith also admits she’s better prepared to handle those mental challenges at the biggest races of the season. That’s been evident, as she has advanced to a pair of final rounds this season, also qualifying No. 1 in Virginia. But grinding out wins in the Countdown to the Championship isn’t easy, as Smith will also have to deal with the likes of Eddie Krawiec, Jerry Savoie, Steve Johnson, and Angelle Sampey in Dallas. Still, Smith is driven when it comes to chasing the perfection that is needed during the postseason and she’s ready to tackle the challenge this weekend.

“One hundred percent, this is the best bike and the best year I’ve ever had, and I’ve learned a lot,” Smith said. “But drag racing is a humbling sport and that’s why every lap counts. You have to put your best foot forward and make the best run possible, try to make it perfect and then you will have a shot. I feel confident going into this race that we’re going to keep making those good runs, but you have to be perfect in the Countdown and I have to be focused on what I’m doing.”

In Pro Stock, defending event winner Greg Anderson knows he is in a must-win situation in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro. But Dallas is a track that has served the defending world champion well, with a special memory taking place at Texas Motorplex a year ago. He became the all-time wins leader in Pro Stock history with his Dallas triumph in 2021 and picked up his 100th career win in Indy last month.

But Anderson, a five-time world champion, heads to Dallas needing another huge weekend. Points leader Erica Enders has been dominant, opening up a 120-point lead over Aaron Stanfield with three races remaining. She’s won eight races in 2022 and her lead also stands at 160 points against Anderson. That means Anderson needs to rack up wins immediately to get back in contention, starting this weekend in Dallas. But the longtime standout is up for the challenge at one of his favorite tracks on the NHRA tour.

“I can’t wait to get to Dallas,” Anderson said. “It’s one of our favorite places, and for me, personally, it’s been a very special place to race. We’re disappointed that we didn’t accomplish what we set out to do (in St. Louis), but we can’t dwell on that. We have to look ahead. We’ll go on to Dallas, and we’ll be as perfect as we can be. There’s nothing we want more than to put our car in the winner’s circle.”

Top Fuel points leader Justin Ashley is after his second straight win at the Texas Motorplex, but holding off a star-studded list of drivers won’t be easy. Texan Steve Torrence, the four-time world champ, is only 14 points behind, while other standouts include Brittany Force, Mike Salinas, Antron Brown, Josh Hart and Doug Kalitta.

In Funny Car, defending event winner and world champ Ron Capps trails points leader Robert Hight by just 46 points heading into the final three events and will look to make up ground in Dallas. Other stars looking for a win are Matt Hagan, 16-time world champ John Force, J.R. Todd, Bob Tasca III and Cruz Pedregon.

There’s also plenty on the line to open qualifying on Friday as well for competitors in all four classes. The quickest pass under the lights during a special “Friday Night Live” at the famed Texas Motorplex will net Top Fuel and Funny Car stars $15,000 each in bonus money, with $7,500 going to the quickest run Friday night in Pro Stock and $5,000 in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Plus fans can enjoy a spectacular performance from Grace Good, a world-renowned fire dancer and aerial performance, on Friday.

The Texas NHRA FallNationals also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which includes some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as the final race of the season in Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown and the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon. David Barton is the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown points leader, while Kris Thorne leads the way in Pro Mod as both look to capture a world title in Dallas. The weekend will also include action in Top Fuel Harley, as well as the Jr. Dragster Shootout. Fans can also attend Nitro School the on Saturday in Scott Palmer’s pits to learn more about how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds.

Race fans at Texas Motorplex can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the Texas NHRA FallNationals event winners.

Leading into the event, fans can take part in several events as part of the Stampede for Speed, including the Champions’ Dinner (October 12, 6 pm) and the NHRA FanFest in downtown Waxahachie (October 13, 6 pm), where fans can meet and get autographs from all the top stars in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Dallas. This unique opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family. The new Pep Boys midway display includes tire change challenges, oil change challenges, a slot car track, and much more, adding even more excitement to the midway.

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2:30 and 7:05 p.m. CT on Friday, Oct. 14, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, Oct. 16. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 10:00 a.m. ET and as well as action from eliminations on Sunday.

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