It’s been a feverish offseason in the NHRA E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Modified Series with new talent coming into the fold and familiar faces in new places, but none have made bigger waves than three-time series champion Rickie Smith. The doorslammer racing icon, whose photo is positioned prominently next to nitrous oxide in the dictionary, revealed in a Dragzine exclusive in December his move to a twin-turbocharged program in 2019 — the result of years of uphill battles in power adder parity. Better yet, though, he had secured the services of Steve Petty, one of the greatest tuners the planet has ever known, to propel him right to competitiveness in a package he admits he knows little about.
On Friday evening the King, North Carolina native came one step closer to take his move reality as he took delivery of his stunning new Bahrain 1 Racing-adorned 1967 Fastback Ford Mustang from Jerry Bickel Race Cars. The new car, originally intended for Jose Gonzalez, was rolled out into the snowy, 22-degree environs of eastern Missouri and loaded up for its trip to Pro Line Racing in Georgia to be completed for testing. Smith will debut the car at the upcoming NHRA Gatornationals March 14-17, where 28 cars are already pre-entered for the class’ season opener.