Rhonda Lynn
Hartmann-Smith

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Profile
Results
Schedule

Related Issue: Women Racers Directory, Women in Racing, Women Racers, More Women in Racing, Race Schedules, Notable Women
Contact:
eMail | www.rhondatf747.com

Profle

Full Name: Rhonda Lynn Hartman-Smith
Born: Glendora, CA
Grew up: San Dimas, CA
Resides: Anderson, SC
DOB: September 18, 1974
Husband: John Smith, driver of the Hartman Motorsports Top Fuel Dragster
Children: Megan (11/23/98), Dylan (8/30/05)
Vehicle: 2005 GMC Yukon Denali
Hobbies: Water/snow skiing, reading and shopping
Favorite music: Alternative
Favorite movie: The Cutting Edge
Career Best E.T.: 4.523
Career Best Speed: 325.92

Rhonda Named the "Quickest Female on Earth" by the NHRA in 2003, Hartman-Smith (31) says, "My youth was more of a challenge than my gender" when she entered pro drag racing at age 18. With 13 years of Top Fuel under her belt, the Anderson, South Carolina, resident is taking a hiatus from driving this year to care for her baby. www.rhondatf747.com

Results

2005 Race Season - Now in the closing stages of her thirteenth year of drag racing competition, Rhonda Hartman-Smith is determined to expand her career in the sport by taking the giant step into the Team Manager position for the 2005 NHRA racing season while she awaits the birth of her second child with husband, John Smith. This NHRA and IHRA record-holding driver is no stranger the hard work ahead of her to succeed in her new role.

Rhonda was introduced to full-throttle horsepower as a youngster and attended drag racing events with her family in Southern California. She spent her childhood alongside her father and brother and learned how to build and service their family-owned racecar. "My mechanical background provided a great foundation for my driving career," comments Hartman-Smith.

Although Rhonda had her sites set on the driver's seat, her father and team owner, Virgil Hartman, stressed that she had to earn her way behind the wheel. While attending San Dimas High in California, Rhonda spent her weekends at the track cleaning parts and helping out the team while her brother drove the team-owned Alcohol Funny Car. She balanced an active student life of cheerleading, softball, student government and her studies.

Her hard work paid off in 1992 when she made her driving debut in the California Independent Funny Car Association series and won her first race. Rhonda's "need for speed" continued when she earned her Top Fuel Dragster license in 1994.

As her career blossomed, Rhonda found "love in the fast lane" when she met future husband, John Smith, at an IHRA race. The pair worked together when John was hired to crew for Hartman Motorsports. The "sparks" flew right away - the couple was engaged in 1994 and married in 1995.

She enjoyed immediate success on the IHRA Top Fuel circuit in 1994 including victories at the Supernationals Inaugural Race and Grand American Nationals. She earned an IHRA record as the first female and youngest driver to win a national event and was named the IHRA Rookie of the Year.

This savvy young female was a fresh addition to the male-dominated world of auto racing. "My young age was more of a challenge than my gender," comments Hartman-Smith. "My peers felt that it would be difficult to handle the pressures of professional competition at 18 years of age. I didn't let that get in the way of my lifelong dream of driving."

Rhonda's only time away from racing was in 1998 - 1999 when she and John celebrated the birth of their daughter, Megan Smith. Rhonda moved right back into the driver's seat in 2000 and participated in all 24 NHRA race events. The team established a race-by-race sponsorship with FRAM Filters that progressed into a full-time partnership from 2001 to 2004.

Rhonda celebrated her first top 10 NHRA championship point standings finish (tenth place) in 2001. She and John graced the NHRA record books as the first professional husband-and-wife to qualify at the same NHRA race. Rhonda's career continued to excel in 2002 when she and John both earned top 10 points standing positions - Rhonda finished #9 and John earned the # 10 spot. They wrapped up another NHRA record for this performance.

In 2003, Rhonda proved her ability as a driver when she earned the "Quickest Female on Earth" title with a 4.562-second pass at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. She re-established that title at the CARQUEST NHRA Nationals in 4.523-seconds that same year. She competed in all 23 NHRA national events and select IHRA races. She participated in two NHRA semifinal match-ups at the Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals and the FRAM/Autolite Nationals. Rhonda earned two IHRA runner-up titles at the 33rd annual IHRA Spring Nationals and the 8th annual IHRA World Finals - both within 24 hours. She completed the 2003 season in the top 10 in both motorsports arenas - she earned the #10 spot in NHRA and #9 on the IHRA tour.

During the 2004 season, Rhonda topped her own record speed by completing the quarter-mile at 325.92 mph in Bristol, Tennesse. Due to her enormous popularity within the sports world, she also enjoyed participating in many national and highly-rated media venues, such as an appearance as an in-studio guest on ESPN2's morning sports talk show Cold Pizza. Rhonda also earned another spot in the POWERade NHRA Top Ten for the fourth year in a row by currently standing in the #10 position.

Hartman Motorsports is a family owned and operated automotive race team competing in the Top Fuel category of the National Hot Rod Association's (NHRA) POWERade Drag Racing Series.

1992

  • Driving debut: California Independent Funny Car Association (CIFCA)
  • Won first CIFCA race; finished year-end point standings in 3rd place

1994

  • Driving Debut: International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) - Top Fuel category
  • Winner: IHRA Super Nationals Inaugural Race and IHRA Grand American Nationals
  • Set IHRA record as the first female and youngest driver to win a national event
  • Awarded IHRA Rookie of the Year title
  • Year-end IHRA championship point standings: #3

1995

*Winner: IHRA Winter Nationals - Darlington, SC

*Runner-up: IHRA Fall Nationals - Bristol, TN

*Year-end IHRA championship point standings: #2

1996

  • Set IHRA track record - 299.90 mph - Bristol International Raceway (Bristol, TN)
  • IHRA Top Fuel championship point standings: #4

1997

  • Debut: National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) - Top Fuel category
  • Participated in 17 NHRA race events; semifinals at the US Nationals in Indianapolis, IN
  • Participated in select IHRA races; runner-up at the IHRA race event in Cordova, IL
  • Year-end NHRA championship point standings: #16

1998

  • Participated in three NHRA race events
  • Gave birth to daughter, Megan, in November

1999

  • Time off for motherhood

2000

  • Participated in all 24 NHRA race events
  • Began a race-by-race sponsorship with FRAM Filters
  • Year-end NHRA championship point standings: #12

2001

  • Participated in all 24 NHRA race events
  • Developed full-season sponsorship with FRAM Filters
  • Career best time and speed: 4.59-seconds at 318 mph - Reading, PA
  • Set NHRA record - first professional husband-and-wife to qualify at the same NHRA race
  • Celebrated first year-end top 10 NHRA championship point standings finish - 10th place

2002

  • Participated in all 23 NHRA race events
  • Career best time and speed: 4.57-seconds (Reading, PA) 318 mph (Englishtown, NJ)
  • Set record as the first husband-and-wife to finish in the NHRA top 10
  • Rhonda finished 9th place; John finished 10th place

2003

  • Career best time and speed: 4.523-seconds (Joliet, IL) 323.66 mph (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Finished in the top 10 points standing position in both the NHRA and IHRA arenas
  • NHRA points standing - #10; IHRA points standing position - # 9
  • Raced against husband, John Smith, at four NHRA events and one IHRA race
  • Rhonda has a 4-1 lead over John
  • Became the "Quickest Female on Earth" with a 4.56-second pass (Joliet, IL)
  • Re-established title at the fall race event (also Joliet, IL) in 4.523-seconds
  • Participated in two NHRA semifinal match-ups
  • Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals and the FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals
  • Participated in first IHRA semifinal and final elimination round since 1997
  • Semifinals - 3rd annual AC Delco Nationals
  • Runner-up - 33rd annual IHRA Spring Nationals and the 8th annual IHRA World Finals

2004

  • Reset her career best speed - 325.92 mph - O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn.
  • Participated in the semifinals - 25th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
  • Appeared on the popular ESPN2 morning talk show Cold Pizza as a in-studio guest
  • Was featured on the History Channel's popular show Modern Marvels: The History of Drag Racing
  • Was invited to join SPIKE TV in Waterford, Conn. as a guest commentator
  • Was invited to be a part of the CMT Top 20 Countdown as a guest VJ at the 50th annual MAC Tools US Nationals
  • Finished #9 in NHRA points

Career Best Time & Speed:
Time: 4.523-seconds - Joliet, IL
Speed: 325.92 mph - Bristol, Tenn.

Schedule

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