| July 20, 2021
At this point, Denso Buell’s Matt Smith is just showing off. The reigning NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion once again made his way with the field, winning the Dodge SRT Mile-High Nationals which took place at Bandimere Speedway in Denver July 17-18.
By Kevin McKenna
Nothing, not even the challenge of running at 5,800 feet above sea level, could stop Smith, who claimed the 29th career victory and extended his lead in the standings.
âThis track is a tough place to run due to the elevation,â Smith said. âI love running here, but it’s a challenge. I was successful early in my career when I won the first two races I ran here, but it’s a lot of work. I have to thank Denso, Lucas Oil, Mark Stockseth, Greg Butcher Trucking and World Wide Bearings for all their support. Thank you for everything you do for us.
Smith had the fastest bike for the entire event, and he came in from the number one position to beat Vance & Hines Buell’s Eddie Krawiec in the final round. Smith and Krawiec came off the starting line together, but Smith quickly took the lead and extended the lead by a considerable margin of 7.118 to 7.175 at the finish line. The two riders flirted with the elusive 190mph barrier at Bandimere Speedway with side-by-side efforts of 189mph.
Smith ran the table in Denver qualifying in first place, which led to a first-round exemption run. A consistent pair of runs of 7.147 was more than enough to secure victories over Cory Reed and six-time world champion Andrew Hines.
âWe have to make a lot of changes to the bikes to get them to fit here, but we’ve made the right choices for the most part,â Smith said. âHonestly I missed that a bit in qualifying because I think we could have run something at 7.0 and go over 190 mph, but we qualified number one and took the win and that’s what which is important. Now we can go to Sonoma next week where I’m sure we’ll go well above 200mph. You might even see a new record.
Smith now has 29 career wins as he and the rest of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class embark on the grueling NHRA Western Swing, a three-race marathon that includes the events of Denver, Sonoma and this year’s Pomona Raceway near Los Angeles. Running three races in three weeks is tough enough, but each track presents a unique challenge. Smith hopes to become the first motorcycle rider to win all three races.
âWe’ve got the first one in the bag, but there are a lot of races left so it’s a bit early to think about a sweep, but this bike is nasty so you never know,â said Smith. “We left Denver on the way, so let’s go to Sonoma and see what happens there.”
Krawiec, like his teammate Andrew Hines, missed the first two races of the season as they prepared for their Vance & Hines Buell program. Krawiec never really risked missing the top 10, but he entered the Denver race as the 10th rider in the class. Krawiec reached the 86th final round of his career defeating Jerry Savoie, wife of Steve Johnson and Angie, who fouled in the semifinals.
- Matt Smith (Bue)
- Eddie Krawiec (Bue)