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2021 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Norwalk Results

| June 30, 2021

Denso EBR’s Matt Smith collected his second win of the 2021 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle season and third at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, June 25-27, when he downed Slick 50 Suzuki’s Steve Johnson in the Pro Stock Motorcycle final.

By Kevin McKenna

For one of the few times in his long career, four-time World Champion Smith entered the final round as an underdog but rode to a track record elapsed time to secure the victory. Both riders left the starting line together, but Smith quickly took a slight lead and finished with a 6.782 elapsed time to hold off Johnson’s 6.836.

VIDEO | Matt Smith at Norwalk

Smith, the reigning NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Champion, won the 2021 season-opener in Gainesville, and has led the Camping World NHRA standings after four of five events this season.

“I knew we needed something special in the final and we found it,” Smith said. “We made a few changes to the bike and we also had a rain delay which seemed to work in our favor. He [Johnson] has been on a run lately and we needed to find a way to slow him down. Thankfully, our Denso bike was up to it in the final. We needed this.”

Smith reached the final round with victories against Jianna Salinas, Ryan Oehler and Eddie Krawiec. Smith’s best run was a 6.800 against Krawiec’s Vance & Hines Buell in the semifinal round.

Johnson, the most experienced rider in the class, has been the surprise of the 2021 season so far. Entering his 35th season in the class, Johnson has never been more competitive. Taking advantage of the new Suzuki four-valve engine combination approved by NHRA late last season, Johnson won the most recent race in Charlotte and ran a 6.72, the best run of his career. Like Smith, he also took full advantage of the lengthy break between events.

Johnson maintained the momentum in Norwalk with a 6.781 to lead the big 21-bike field. On race day, it seemed likely that Johnson would win his second-straight event, especially after he scored wins against Jimmy Underdahl, Angie Smith and Joey Gladstone. Johnson’s slowest run of the day before the final was a 6.82 and he was not in danger of losing at any point.

All of the drama in Norwalk was not reserved for the motorcycle final. In qualifying, Kelly Clontz came off her Suzuki well past the finish line when her brakes locked. She wasn’t injured in the low-speed crash but her team was done for the weekend. Six-time world champion Andrew Hines also had an adventure when he ended up in the sand trap at the end of a 199-mph run during his round two loss to Joey Gladstone. Hines was also not injured in the mishap.

While Smith extended his points lead, Johnson moved into second place in the class following his runner-up finish.

2021 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Norwalk Results:
1. Matt Smith; 2. Steve Johnson; 3. Eddie Krawiec; 4. Joey Gladstone; 5. Andrew Hines; 6. John Hall; 7. Angie Smith; 8. Ryan Oehler; 9. Cory Reed; 10. Jerry Savoie; 11. Angelle Sampey; 12. Scotty Pollacheck; 13. Marc Ingwersen; 14. Jim Underdahl; 15. Jianna Salinas; 16. Karen Stoffer.