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Victory Racing’s Matt Smith rode his Victory Motorcycles Gunner to the No. 1 qualifying spot for the K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois but was bit by misfortune in the finals on Sunday June 10.

Showcasing Victory’s commitment to deliver Modern American Muscle, Victory Racing’s NHRA team is comprised of NHRA power-couple Matt and Angie Smith and their Pro Stock, custom Victory Gunner drag bikes. Matt boasts two World Champion titles and seventeen career wins. Angie, Matt’s wife and Victory Racing’s Drag Race Team partner, has blasted down the strip to three quarterfinal appearances.

The No. 1 qualifier is Matt Smith’s first of the season and 24th of his career. It’s also the second for the Victory Racing team and the first since Gainesville, Fla., last season. He qualified No. 3 at the last race, in Norwalk.

Smith thought his luck was changing after qualifying his Victory Gunner in the No. 1 spot with a big speed advantage against No. 16 qualifier Michael Ray in their first-round matchup. Smith left first and had an early advantage, but says the electronic transmission balked while attempting to shift into 3rd gear. Ray sped to the win light with a pass of 6.902 seconds at 193.38 mph while Smith brought home the Gunner with a run of 7.089 seconds at 190.78 mph.

“It feels good to get back up top,” Smith said. “We know we have a good bike. We’ve known we had a good top-four or top-five bike — maybe not a No. 1 bike. Luckily we got the run in (Friday) and got the No. 1 spot.

“We’ll go to Denver and try again. That’s all we can do. Our luck has to change soon, and when it does, we’ll be in the mix with the best of them. That’s how confident I am in this team and this Victory Gunner.”

The next of the 16 stops in the drag race schedule brings riders to the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver, CO., July 22-24. Race attendees can meet the fan-friendly Smiths and their Victory Gunner drag bikes in person, as NHRA racing allows visitors to get close to the action to experience the raw power of the Victory Racing Team in the heat of competition.

Visit NHRA.com for a full schedule and up-to-date news about the NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle Drag Racing Series. Learn more about Victory Motorcycles at VictoryMotorcycles.com or follow on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram.