story by Tim Hailey and Amanda Speed, photo courtesy of Roger Richards
Bristol hit Rickie Smith hard last year, slapping him with its concrete wall and sending him up for some surgery and sheet time. But this past weekend, at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Tricky Rickie hit back, filling his Industrial Distribution Group (IDG) Chevrolet Camaro with a Wally and a big check on the way out the gate.
The veteran doorslammer drag racer has had his ups and downs at the legendary Tennessee track. From having his name atop the grandstands, as one of the first four legends inducted at Thunder Valley, to the wreck last year resulting in knee surgery, Smith was determined to come out on top this year.
So he qualified his Camaro #1 in the Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx with a 5.900 at 240.85 mph. Taking out Doug Winters, Mike Knowles, Jay Payne and Donald Walsh, Smith wound up the day in the winners circle for the second time this year. “I just can’t believe it,” said Rickie. “I have had a lot of success on this track, but after last year’s wreck I didn’t even know if I would be back or not. So to come here and dominate like we did is just great. It feels like old times. We got a bad little hot rod here and this old man ain’t too bad either.”
“First I got to thank IDG and Larry Tutterow with Caroling Drilling. Without those two I would not be out here. I just can’t thank them enough!”
Smith, running both the NHRA and ADRL this year, sits second in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx point standings, just 13 points out of the lead. His next race is this weekend at the ADRL’s U.S. Drags V in Petersburg, Virginia
Bristol also saw the Nitro Harley’s come out for one of their exhibition races. You can see Matt Polito’s excellent coverage of that event here.