This weekend we saw Rickie Smith in his IDG sponsored Pro Mod Camaro win the NHRA RPM Pro Mod Championship. While the best ever is tossed around a lot, as it has been this weekend, I think it's safe to say when it comes to door cars, Rickie might be the best ever.
This is the third time that Rickie Smith has wrapped up the NHRA Pro Mod Championship. In 2016, Rickie lead the points from start to finish. If you watched this season, you would see that Rickie seemed to be the most consistent driver out there. If not for his crash early in the season in Houston, there is no telling how big Rickie's point lead would have been coming into the last race of the season in Las Vegas. Coming in to the Vegas season final, all Rickie had to do was qualify and make sure not to oil down the track during qualifying. He accomplished both when he ended up qualifying #7. That is when the championship was locked up.
Now you may think, why would someone make the claim that Rickie is the best door car driver ever because of a few NHRA Championships? The fact is that you have to look back at Rickie's career as a whole though. Going through all the stats, and trying not to screw them up is not an easy task, but here is something for you to chew on. Rickie according to my count has won eleven national championships between NHRA, IHRA, and PDRA. That doesn't include the numerous race wins, second place points finishes, including what could be one of the best years in drag racing, back in 1977 when Rickie won everything he entered, all 16 races, and every match race as well.
We are used to seeing all these big teams with a bunch of crew guys at every race, the difference here is when you go over to Rickie's pit you will most likely only see one guy beside Rickie. That one guy is Rickie's long time crew chief Chad Hester. This is a two man crew at the track that handles everything. Something that you won't and don't see at almost any race, much less a professional Pro Mod car.
The disappointment from this weekend wasn't that Rickie turned on the red light during the semi finals versus Troy Coughlin, but the announcement that next season was going to be Rickie's last behind the wheel. Rickie stated after winning the Championship that at the end of the 2017 season he would be hanging up the driving shoes and help the younger crop of up and coming drivers.
Rickie is a family man and a great ambassador to drag racing. I think Rickie proved this year that he really is once and for all the baddest man to ever wheel a door car. The numbers don't lie. With the 2016 season already completed, Rickie is headed to Bahrain to do some work over there during their race season, which is just about to start as well. The season here might be over, but we would certainly like to congratulate Rickie and Chad on the NHRA World Championship in 2016, and if 2017 really is Rickie's last year, we wish him the best of luck with the IDG sponsored Camaro as well.