The recent Flagler Palm Coast grad hopes to increase his sponsorship to compete with better racing equipment.
On race day at New Smyrna Speedway, recent Flagler Palm Coast graduate Dalton Smith knows he’s racing at a hefty disadvantage, despite his driving skills. Nevertheless, Smith continues to surprise his peers and racing fans by remaining in the Top 2 in Championship Series points.
As Smith and his opponents prepare their cars for battle inside the track pit, the disadvantages are obvious. The other drivers sport sponsor-heavy, costly race suits, while Smith’s suit simply reads his name and is made of common fabric. Also, every other car in the pit is maintained by team of crew members, while Smith’s crew consists of his dad, Mark.
Mark Smith inspired Dalton to take up racing. Growing up, Dalton admired his dad’s trophy collection from go-kart, motocross and stock car racing. He wanted to build his own collection. Having won several trophies in the first two racing sports, Dalton hopes to add more in stock cars.
“It makes me feel great because I’m doing what I’m doing with what little I have. I’ve just stayed consistent and out of wrecks.”
“Dalton has always been a good driver ever since he was a kid,” Mark Smith said, “but we just don’t
have the equipment everybody else has right now. But one day we’ll be able to have what they have.”
Despite his low-budget operation, Dalton currently ranks second (as of 7 p.m. July 15) in points out of 18 racers in the Pro Late Model Series and seventh out of 24 racers in Super Late Model.
“It makes me feel great because I’m doing what I’m doing with what little I have,” Dalton said. “I’ve just stayed consistent and out of wrecks. I have a lot of heart for this, and I want to get as far as I can in the sport.”
Dalton earned a standing ovation from the crowd and a number of congratulations from his peers, when he surprised everyone with his first and only stock car win on April 29.
“I celebrated the whole week,” Smith said. “It’s really hard to win at this track; a lot of people have never won here.”
Dalton’s motor blew up the week before his big win, but, Mike Palecka, one of his dad’s friends, purchased a motor for him to use for the rest of the season. Quite a few other racers have either given or sold him expensive equipment to keep his car on the track, but none were as necessary as the motor.
“Without that motor,” Mark Smith said, “Dalton probably wouldn’t be racing right now. I didn’t know what I was going to do, so that was a big win for us.”
Dalton is midway through his second season with New Smyrna Speedway. He finished third in points last season, and he expects to pick up another Top 5 finish this year.
“We run against big-money teams,” Mark Smith, “but, when it comes to winning, it’s not always the best car. And, “as long as Dalton learns something every night, I’m good with that.”
Dalton is currently sponsored by Ice Cold Air, Mean Machines & Repair and R&B Enterprises.