Clanton dirt track racer wins championshipBy Emily Etheredge Published 3:39pm Wednesday, October 23, 2013
When Kyle Smith heard the number 13 is typically associated with bad luck, he wanted to prove everyone wrong.
“I have always heard it was unlucky, but I wanted to show people that isn’t true,” Smith said.
Since starting dirt racing at age 13, Smith has proved to have a winning number after taking home the Hogg class division championship Oct. 12 at the Shelby County Speedway for dirt track racing.
A Chilton County High School junior, Smith spends his free time enjoying the round dirt tracks made with red clay and the goal to be the first to finish the laps in front of the field.
Dirt track racing is a type of auto racing usually performed on oval tracks, and street vehicles can be used after being modified to certain requirements.
Smith has two racing cars he uses to compete in dirt track races throughout Alabama including a 1977 Camaro and 1993 Saturn.
Smith added a safety cage to both of the vehicles, a larger motor, removed the glass from both vehicles and painted both the cars to resemble a racecar.
The object in dirt track racing is not to go faster than everyone else, but to finish first at the end of the race.
Smith explained on a dirt track, the track is slick and requires more control when turning which is one of the challenges when racing the laps.
“It is sometimes tricky when you have to get around corners quicker than those racing around you,” Smith said.
Smith first got interested in dirt track racing after watching his father, Stacy Smith, race and spend time working on cars.
“I have always loved racing,” Smith said. “Working on cars to get them ready for a race is a lot of fun for me and I enjoy doing that with my dad.”
Smith also has help from his mother, Michelle Smith, and younger brother, Lane Smith, who work in Smith’s “pit crew.”
“We enjoy the racing aspect because we get to spend time with one another as a family,” Michelle said. “It has been a very good bonding experience.”
Smith said there is currently not a dirt racetrack in Chilton County after the Central Alabama Motor Speedway track shut down in 2011.
Now, Smith travels to Wilsonville to practice but admits traveling outside of Chilton County has cut down on practice times.
“I can’t always drive to Wilsonville so a lot of times I will just drive around the track I will be racing on before a race to practice,” Smith said.
Although Smith is often the youngest competitor in the dirt track races with most of the competitors between the ages of 30 and 40, Smith hopes to encourage others to get involved in the sport.
“It is a lot of fun,” Smith said. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment and the more people who get involved, the more people you have to race.”