DENSO Iridium spark plugs rocketed NHRA racer Matt Smith across the finish line Sunday to capture the 2018 Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship at the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals. Smith also capped the 2018 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series with five runs, breaking the 200-mph mark during the closing event in Pomona, CA., including a record-breaking 201.22 mph pass to clinch the title as the fastest Pro Stock Motorcycle racer in NHRA history.
“The new DENSO Iridium spark plugs powered us to the No. 1 qualifying position to win each race and the championship,” Smith said. In the winning streak that kicked off Saturday with a 200.65 mph run in his first qualifying race, Smith shattered the previous high-speed record during Sunday’s finale. “At 201.22 mph, we became the fastest Pro Stock Motorcycle in the history of the class with DENSO Iridium spark plugs.”
Smith’s win marks his third time in the winner’s circle as the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion. Smith’s lightning-speed runs made him the third racer this year to enter the DENSO 200-mph Club, earning him a bonus of $3,000 from DENSO. DENSO created the club early in the 2018 season to honor the first four racers in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category to break the 200-mph barrier. Smith also takes home a $1,000 bonus for riding on DENSO spark plugs.
Smith was joined by first-time world champion Tanner Gray, who rode DENSO spark plugs to victory in the Pro Stock automobile class. At 19, Gray is also the youngest winner in NRHA Drag Racing history.
DENSO Products and Services Americas, Inc., an affiliate of leading global automotive supplier DENSO Corp., is an associate-level sponsor of Smith. DENSO is also the primary sponsor of Angie Smith, Matt Smith’s teammate and wife, who finished the 2018 season among the top 10 Pro Stock Motorcycle racers.
For three consecutive years, DENSO has been the title sponsor of the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas and a supporting sponsor of the entire NHRA Mello Yello Series. In August, DENSO renewed its title sponsorship for another three years, starting with the NRHA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway scheduled for April 5-7, 2019.