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Matt Smith Excelling In Two Classes At QRC

DOHA, QATAR – Matt Smith has long believed he was capable of being a standout driver in a car and not just on a motorcycle. 

As he’s quickly proven in the Arabian Drag Racing League, the Al-Anabi Racing talent is also able to do both at the same time.

Smith, the son of legendary driver Rickie Smith, has been one of the biggest stories at Qatar Racing Club (QRC) over the past month for his efforts both behind the wheel of a Pro Extreme car and on his Harley-Davidson Pro Extreme Motorcycle.

The latest headline-grabber came on Tuesday when Smith went 3.57 at 212.47 miles per hour during testing in KH Al-Thani’s PX Camaro, following it up with a 3.58 at an even faster 212.60 mph on his next pass.

It’s the most recent turn of events in a span that Smith has thoroughly enjoyed.

“This is a dream come true. I have followed the shadow of my dad and his career in the car, and it’s a dream come true to finally get to drive a car,” Smith said. “I knew I could do it and just somebody just had to give me an opportunity.”

The opportunity came last month when he took over driving duties from Al-Anabi Racing owner Al-Thani, and Smith has not disappointed.

He went 3.63 on his first full pass in December, but that was just the start.

Smith, a 12-time NHRA event winner in Pro Stock Motorcycle, set a new track record in PXM last week in Round Four, going 4.12 in a runner-up finish that turned more than a few heads. Less than a week later, Smith grabbed the attention of everyone, this time back inside Al-Thani’s powerful PX car. 

The 3.57 and 3.58, both at 212-plus mph, would have set both ends of the record in both the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) and Arabian Series had it come during an official race.

Still, it’s quickest and the 212.60 mph is the fastest recorded time in the eighth-mile in doorslammer history and that has Smith excited.

The next part of the equation is turning those remarkable times into wins with four races remaining in the Arabian season. Smith and his team, led by crew chief Frank Manzo, have put in the work, putting in nearly 30 passes over the past month.

“We’re getting there. I’ve been so good on the tree testing over here. I think we’ll win some races really quick if we get things straightened out,” Smith said. “We’ve got the most power of any car over here and we’re going to be fast with it, too.”

Smith hasn’t forgotten about his goals in PXM, either, or what his future holds in the ADRL.

For the 2011 ADRL Tour, which starts March 25-26 at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, Smith said that after talking with Al-Thani he expects to run the full ADRL schedule in both PX and PXM.

“It should be awesome,” Smith said. “We’re going to car and a bike in ADRL, and we’re going to have fun. I’m going to have my hands full.”

In a short time, Smith has proven more than capable.

After going no quicker than 4.43 in PXM during two ADRL races in 2010, Smith’s Harley has made tremendous improvements, taking off massive amounts of time with last week’s 4.12.

Sticking with his high expectations, Smith hopes more hard work can lead into uncharted waters, whether in Qatar or stateside in the ADRL.

“I think we can get in the 3s in the next few months,” Smith said. “If we can do it over here, that would be great, but if not, we’ll wait until we get back and run the season in the ADRL this year.”

Only one thing needs to be solved on the Harley and Smith is confident, especially after seeing the progress thus far, that will be done in the near future.

“The biggest thing we’re having problem with is it doesn’t want to react. We’ve got something there and there’s a delay. When you let the button go, there’s a delay,” Smith said.

“If we get that solved, we’ll have a pretty fast bike. This is all new to us and we’re trying to get it right and it’s going to take some time. We’ve come a long ways pretty quick and that’s why I think we’ll be in the 3s when we get it figured out. We haven’t really even pushed the bike yet.”

DOHA, QATAR – Matt Smith has long believed he was capable of being a standout driver in a car and not just on a motorcycle. 

As he’s quickly proven in the Arabian Drag Racing League, the Al-Anabi Racing talent is also able to do both at the same time.

Smith, the son of legendary driver Rickie Smith, has been one of the biggest stories at Qatar Racing Club (QRC) over the past month for his efforts both behind the wheel of a Pro Extreme car and on his Harley-Davidson Pro Extreme Motorcycle.

The latest headline-grabber came on Tuesday when Smith went 3.57 at 212.47 miles per hour during testing in KH Al-Thani’s PX Camaro, following it up with a 3.58 at an even faster 212.60 mph on his next pass.

It’s the most recent turn of events in a span that Smith has thoroughly enjoyed.

“This is a dream come true. I have followed the shadow of my dad and his career in the car, and it’s a dream come true to finally get to drive a car,” Smith said. “I knew I could do it and just somebody just had to give me an opportunity.”

The opportunity came last month when he took over driving duties from Al-Anabi Racing owner Al-Thani, and Smith has not disappointed.

He went 3.63 on his first full pass in December, but that was just the start.

Smith, a 12-time NHRA event winner in Pro Stock Motorcycle, set a new track record in PXM last week in Round Four, going 4.12 in a runner-up finish that turned more than a few heads. Less than a week later, Smith grabbed the attention of everyone, this time back inside Al-Thani’s powerful PX car. 

The 3.57 and 3.58, both at 212-plus mph, would have set both ends of the record in both the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) and Arabian Series had it come during an official race.

Still, it’s quickest and the 212.60 mph is the fastest recorded time in the eighth-mile in doorslammer history and that has Smith excited.

The next part of the equation is turning those remarkable times into wins with four races remaining in the Arabian season. Smith and his team, led by crew chief Frank Manzo, have put in the work, putting in nearly 30 passes over the past month.

“We’re getting there. I’ve been so good on the tree testing over here. I think we’ll win some races really quick if we get things straightened out,” Smith said. “We’ve got the most power of any car over here and we’re going to be fast with it, too.”

Smith hasn’t forgotten about his goals in PXM, either, or what his future holds in the ADRL.

For the 2011 ADRL Tour, which starts March 25-26 at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, Smith said that after talking with Al-Thani he expects to run the full ADRL schedule in both PX and PXM.

“It should be awesome,” Smith said. “We’re going to car and a bike in ADRL, and we’re going to have fun. I’m going to have my hands full.”

In a short time, Smith has proven more than capable.

After going no quicker than 4.43 in PXM during two ADRL races in 2010, Smith’s Harley has made tremendous improvements, taking off massive amounts of time with last week’s 4.12.

Sticking with his high expectations, Smith hopes more hard work can lead into uncharted waters, whether in Qatar or stateside in the ADRL.

“I think we can get in the 3s in the next few months,” Smith said. “If we can do it over here, that would be great, but if not, we’ll wait until we get back and run the season in the ADRL this year.”

Only one thing needs to be solved on the Harley and Smith is confident, especially after seeing the progress thus far, that will be done in the near future.

“The biggest thing we’re having problem with is it doesn’t want to react. We’ve got something there and there’s a delay. When you let the button go, there’s a delay,” Smith said.

“If we get that solved, we’ll have a pretty fast bike. This is all new to us and we’re trying to get it right and it’s going to take some time. We’ve come a long ways pretty quick and that’s why I think we’ll be in the 3s when we get it figured out. We haven’t really even pushed the bike yet.”