Qatar Racing Club
Friday, February 18, 2011
Smith, Jenkins Among Shootout Winners in Qatar During Round 8
by Josh Hachat
O’FALLON, Mo. -- A record-setting day for Matt Smith and his Pro Extreme team on Thursday ended with a win.
Now he’s hoping for an even bigger – and much more lucrative – victory on Friday at Qatar Racing Club (QRC).
With the Arabian Drag Racing League’s “Battle For The Belts” taking place on Friday, the American Drag Racing League’s (ADRL) sister league held a Chicago-style shootout on Thursday, offering $5,000 to the winners in Pro Extreme and Pro Nitrous, and $2,500 to winners in Extreme 10.5 and Pro Extreme Motorcycle.
It also served as a prelude for Friday’s championship race, which will award an unprecedented $100,000 to winners in PX and PN.
Thursday was memorable, too, as Smith again grabbed everyone’s attention, going a record 3.558 at 212 miles per hour during his third run, topping Alex Hossler in the PX shootout finals.
“It was an unbelievable run. We’ve been working hard all year. We have a great team and Matt’s doing a great job driving,” Smith’s crew chief Frank Manzo said. “It’s very important to have a team that works together and we’re starting to make some consistent runs.
“We’ve started to learn the car more and more, and it’s starting to pay off. Right now we’ve got a good car.”
Competitors made two timed runs on Thursday, with the top two performances meeting in the shootout finals after that.
In Pro Nitrous, the two top performers all year – Khalid Al-Balooshi and Shannon Jenkins – met, with Jenkins taking the victory and the $5,000 after a red-light from the PN points leader.
David Hance beat Donald Thompson in the Extreme 10.5 finals after the two top performers – Frankie Taylor and Dan Millen – opted not to run in the shootout finals.
Mohd Borashid knocked off Billy Vose in the PXM finals with a 4.188.
Matt Smith’s 3.55 wrapped up an incredible day which started with an astonishing 3.57 at 211 mph.
Hossler nearly matched it, going a career-best 3.60 at 211 mph during his second timed run, but Smith followed with the quickest run in doorslammer history, obliterating a mark he set just a week ago.
Now, Manzo is hoping the team can replicate the effort on Friday. Smith will face Hossler in the first round of eliminations for the “Battle For The Belts,” and plenty will obviously be on the line.
“Friday is going to be a great race. We have eight great cars,” Manzo said. “There’s not going to be a dominant car. It’s going to be some great racing.
“It’s unreal and it’s going to be a special thing.”
Al-Balooshi went 3.79 against Jenkins, but the red-light start took away his opportunity for a clean sweep this weekend.
Jenkins went an impressive 3.80 at 198 mph and appears ready for Friday’s monumental opportunity.
“We will definitely give it all we have to win the championship,” Jenkins said.
Al-Balooshi also promises he won’t make the same red-light error during the championship eliminations.
“It was my mistake, but I think it won’t be a problem. I hope to do the best (Friday) that I can do,” Al-Balooshi said. “I think Friday will be a good day for everybody and we hope to be in a good position (Friday).
Al-Balooshi’s tuner, Brandon Switzer, said the key for Friday will be not making too much of the moment or what is at stake.
“You run your program in your lane in eliminations. You don’t think about the 200 mph (mark) and you don’t think about the money,” Switzer said. “You have to act like that doesn’t even exist and you just try to win.”
Racing is set to begin at 5:30 a.m. EST on Friday at Qatar Racing Club with the race between the No. 7 and No. 8 qualifiers. The winner of that will earn a spot in the field, which will get a timed run to start the day before eliminations begin.