Smith finally wins Gatornationals Wally, defeats Hines in final

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Matt Smith Racing has won back-to-back races. Scotty Pollacheck began the streak with a win at the Denso Spark Plugs U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Indiana.

Several weeks later, Matt Smith picked up his first win of the season. He defeated Andrew Hines at the 51st annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals on Sunday at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida.

The Denso-sponsored rider went 6.843 at 196.99 to claim the Wally. The Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson rider went 6.927 at 194.63 mph in the losing effort.

“I’ve tried since 2006 to win this race and I’ve never been able to do it,” Smith said, who is a three-time world champion. “I’ve watched my dad do it a couple times and it means a lot to win it. I’ve always wanted to win Gainesville and leave with the points lead, and I was able to do it. Right now, I think Team MSR has the best team out here and we have the power to win this thing.”

This was Smith’s first win since capturing the Wally at the Dodge NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Nov. 3. Smith had two wins in 2019.

Before this final round appearance, Hines held a 36-14 advantage over Smith in prior events. In addition, the Indiana native held a 6-0 advantage over Smith in the previous final rounds.

Smith held the starting line advantage, has he had a 0.025 reaction time. Hines; however, went 0.045 and trailed almost immediately.

The King, North Carolina native never trailed in the race. This was his 25th career Wally.

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