Doorslammer drag racing veteran and three-time NHRA Pro Modified world champion Rickie Smith added yet another accolade to what is one of the most storied racing resumes in drag racing history on Wednesday when he recorded the first quarter-mile pass under 5.70-seconds by a nitrous oxide-assisted doorslammer at the Orlando Speed World Dragway. The King, North Carolina racer is testing this week in Orlando with longtime crewman Chad Hester in preparation for the upcoming NHRA season opener in Gainesville.
Driving his Jerry Bickel Race Cars-built Camaro, Smith clocked a 5.690-second lap at 247.47 mph — shy of the 250-plus mph trap speeds he’s achieved previously — becoming the first nitrous racer into the 5.60s, albeit unofficially. The previous standard was held by Northeast racer Ed Burnley, who clocked 5.734 in September.
Smith confirmed to Dragzine the lap was done in legal NHRA trim. Smith and Hester spent the offseason transitioning to the newly-allowable lock-up converter and automatic transmission combination — a wild-card thrown into the mix for the 2018 season that many already envision having an upper-hand (a notion strengthened by Smith’s testing performance). Under the new rules, nitrous racers can utilize lock-up converters with a 25-pound penalty over clutches and non-lock up automatics with engines up to 910 cubic-inches.