Photos by Jeff Burk, James Drew, Bret
Kepner, and Ron Lewis
(James Drew photo)
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.
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.