BRISTOL, Tenn. – Rickie Smith made it back-to-back wins at Bristol Dragway, beating Troy Coughlin on a holeshot on Sunday in the finals of the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series at the 13th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers.
The race is the fifth of 10 races in 2013 for NHRA’s popular 250-mph doorslammer touring series.
After winning at legendary Thunder Valley in 2012, the King, N.C. native held off a hard-charging Coughlin, the 2012 NHRA Pro Mod Series world champ, in the final, running a 5.991 at 240.47 mph in his IDG Chevy Camaro to claim his second straight victory in Bristol. Coughlin ran a quicker 5.984 at 246.26 in his JEGS.com Corvette, but Smith’s better .061 reaction time sent him to the win, his first in the 2013 season.
“This has been a good track to us over the years and it’s a great deal to win here,” said Smith, whose name is listed on the Legends of Thunder Valley at the track. “We’ve been blessed here and to go out and win every now and then, it’s just a major accomplishment for us.
“We had a rough weekend and we were just trying to save the engine each round, but we’re glad and just so happy to get this win.”
After winning his first-round matchup against Chris Juliano on Saturday, Smith, who qualified second, started Sunday with a second round victory against Pete Farber, going 5.994 at 240.38. In the semifinals, Smith faced off against Robert Patrick and his Ford Mustang, powering to a 6.418 at 169.23 to advance to the finals.
With the victory, Smith also jumped to second in the points standings at the halfway mark of the season. By advancing to the finals, Coughlin, who knocked off Mike Janis and No. 1 qualifier Danny Rowe to reach the championship round, took over the points lead from the Summit Racing Equipment team of Kenny Lang. Lang dropped to third with a second-round exit.