RHONDA HARTMAN-SMITH AND FAMILY MAKE THIS WEEKEND AT ROUTE 66 RACEWAY A FAMILY AFFAIR

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Whether you?re a fan or participant, racing has always been about family, and for Top Fuel driver, Rhonda Hartman-Smith, that?s exactly what racing is about. Smith says that her team isn?t like family, they are family. ?It?s a whole family affair and I love it,? said Smith. Her husband John Smith serves as her crew chief, while her father is team owner. Her three yr. old daughter can be also found in the pits cheering on mom and the whole crew. Not to be forgotten is Rhonda?s mom and who cooks for the team and her 13 yr. old nephew who is now one of guys in the crew for the summer. Anderson, S.C-native Smith says her success this season has been a result from her team and her sponsors ?This year has been great. The team?s focus and dedication is the reason why we have been doing well.? Smith added, ?Everyone is full-time now and everyone works well together. We also have a great sponsor with Fram, who really stepped up the plate and have supported us the whole year.? Commenting on the season thus far, Smith said, ?It?s really going good for our team. Our goal this year was to qualify in the top eight and we have done that for all the races except 8. This season, we are hitting goals that are realistic.? Currently, Smith is 8th in points and is enjoying a sunny weekend at Route 66 Raceway for the Chicagoland Dodge Dealers NHRA Nationals. ?I love this track. It?s very beautiful and we have done fairly well here so far, plus the fans here are awesome.? Smith and the team are gunning for a win this weekend, and Smith says it could happen. ?I think it?s realistic to win this weekend. Even in the eliminations, our performance is great, so I think we can win this weekend.? Husband and crew chief agrees. ?The temperatures are getting really hot and that can be tricky, but we are confident about are upcoming runs.? Career Highlights - Won first event in IHRA competition at age 19, making her the youngest Top Fuel winner ever and first - female winner in history. - 2000: Competed in a full schedule of events for the first time since her 1993 debut, advancing to one semifinal round - 1997: Reached semifinals of prestigious U.S. Nationals - 1995: Finished second in IHRA championship points standings - 1994: IHRA Rookie of the Year
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