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Photos by Jeff Burk, James Drew, Bret Kepner, and Ron Lewis

(James Drew photo)

he Pro Stock Motorcycle class provided plenty of interesting story lines in 2005, from Andrew Hines's barrier breaking dip into the sixes and Steve Johnson's No. 1 performance in Gainesville to the statistically challenged weight break for the Suzuki's. Throw in the thefts at the G-Squared team, Karen Stoffer's pit accident and, last but not least, the Steve Johnson/Matt Smith debacle at Indy. I've waited until now to write a little about that incident.

Statistically, it's the worst set of stats in the 19 years I have been keeping professional NHRA statistics. My computer program keeps telling me there is a mistake. Here's why: It's the only set of stats that the winner has a plus time. Meaning if you take Steve's 7.200 elapsed time and add his reaction time of .031 you get 7.231. Take Matt Smith's 7.178 ET and add his reaction time of .035, the sum is 7.213. Steve has a plus time of .018. That ain't s'posed to happen! The winner should have either a .000 or less (a minus).

I went back and counted the number of dead heats over the last 19 years. (Dead heat meaning a .000. I know the timers go out to even further decimal points, but we only get the stats to the thousandth). I counted three in Top Fuel and four in Funny Car. In the slower and more static class of Pro Stock Cars, there were over 10.

(Ron Lewis photo)

Here's my point, if the Steve Johnson/Matt Smith race was timed at a +.018 by the incrementals and clearly showed Johnson winning, what about the statistically dead heats? How were those races decided? Why not photo finish them for the Pros? Why not all the races that are +/- of .005? Why not? NASCAR and horse racing has it, why not our favorite racing, NHRA? After what happened at NHRA's premier event, it seems to make sense to me.

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