"We are looking to improve our performance this weekend...”
John "Bodie" Smith kicked off his two-race campaign driving the Paul Smith Racing Nitro Funny Car at the NGK Spark Plugs 4-Wide Nationals in Concord, NC. With backing from Rock Batteries, Steve Earwood, The Original Discount Furniture, Rockingham Dragway, Valvoline, McLeod Clutches and Hartman Enterprises, John and team had a solid weekend making it down the track for all three of their qualifying attempts. After seven years away from the seat of a Nitro Funny Car, John went right down the track with a 4.15 elapsed time followed by a 4.12 and finally a 4.08 to qualify in the fourteenth position. For the first round of eliminations, John was in a quad with number three qualifier, Tommy Johnson Jr., sixth qualifier, Cruz Pedregon, and eleventh qualifier, Matt Hagan. Although they had a consistent qualifying effort, the Rock Batteries Nitro Funny Car was unable to advance to the semi-finals.
Despite the first-round loss, John and team hold their heads up high going towards the Southern Nationals in Commerce, GA. John will sport the same backing as the 4-Wide, with the additions of General Machine of Anderson and E3 Spark Plugs. Owner, Paul Smith is calling the shots on the Rock Batteries Nitro Funny Car with the help of both his sons, John and Mike. Paul has a lot of history at Atlanta Dragway as he was the first to drive a Nitro Funny Car to go down the track in 1976; believe it or not, now sponsor, Steve Earwood was the track manager at the time. John cannot wait to get back behind the wheel saying, "We are looking to improve our performance this weekend. We are excited to race in the hot conditions expected this weekend as we have a great Paul Smith hot tune up in the car. I’m looking forward to racing in Atlanta since this is where I got my Top Fuel license in Rhonda’s car in ’97 and my Nitro Funny Car license, come to think of it, in my dad’s car." John will look to follow in his father’s tracks as Paul made it to the finals at Atlanta Dragway in 1990, coming up short to Ed “The Ace” McCulloch. He does not get to have all the fun though as his wife and fellow HSR member, Rhonda Hartman-Smith, is being recognized as a legend of drag racing at Atlanta Dragway. Rhonda will be signing autographs at various locations all day Saturday of the event. It will be an exciting and action-packed weekend for all members of the Hartman and Smith families, so make sure to stay up to date with everything happening by liking the Official Hartman Smith Racing Facebook Page.