Rookie Preview: Colby Smith
Silly Season Has Started Early Folks
I had the opportunity to be on pit road for the Sportsman Tour back in September at Riverside International Speedway for their season finale. In that 100-lap race, ’10 Scotia Speedworld Sportsman champion Colby Smith laid like a shark in the James River waters as the front runners ran into problems and the point leaders ran mid-pack. Smith, with Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour winner Craig Slaunwhite on the radio was in the right place at the right time to take the victory at Riverside. Not only did he take the race victory, he came from behind in the point chase to win that as well over home track favorites Scott Allen and Kevin McGrath.
When looking back at the last two seasons of Smith’s career in the Sportsman class, he’s done it all. His resume includes two championships, one on the Sportsman Tour and one at Scotia Speedworld. He’s won 100 lap events at Riverside and Scotia Speedworld and has posted good runs at Petty International and Speedway 660 and has a start at Oyster Bed Speedway at the conclusion of 2009. So it came to no surprise to me when he announced in victory lane back in September that he plans on moving up to the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, sponsors pending, in 2012.
Those are the words that stick out though, sponsors pending. I know sponsorship dollars in this economy can be tough, but when it comes to stock car racing, Smith is one of those marketing dreams. Smith, who hails from Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia has overcame that long haul to the track each week to succeed at every event he and his team have set out to conquer, so you have the underdog aspect coming into play when you think of the story that way.
His sharp rise to success has been apparent as well to those following his career. He was a rookie in the Speedworld’s Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series in ’08, racing a part time schedule before diving in for a full-time gig in 2009 – and a fourth place overall run! Smith improved greatly over that ’09 campaign and even flirted with his first Speedworld victory a few times before seasons close. With a big win at Lake Doucette Motor Speedway in his back pocket from October 2009, Smith entered the 2010 season with a ton of momentum. Smith kept the leaders in sight for the first half of the Speedworld season before striking gold in the Sportsman 100, winning the event on a last lap pass on Darren Wallage in the third turn for his first ever feature win on the 3/10-mile oval. He then went on to win two more feature races before the end of the season, including besting veteran and ’08 champ Terry Roma in the 16th Annual Shriner’s Classic for Sportsman. After Roma climbed out of his #38 car following an incredible battle with Smith, the West Chezzetcook native had nothing but praise for the driver of the #77. “That young man can wheel a race car, he is going places,” said Roma after the race. Smith ran a part time schedule at the Speedworld in 2011 but still managed to take three wins home with him, including a second place run in the 17th Annual Shriner’s Classic. Smith also took home two 100-lap wins at Riverside en route to the aforementioned Sportsman Tour title.
Smith also reminds me of a Slaunwhite or a Shawn Turple in the way the path his racing career is taking. Slaunwhite and Turple ran the Sportsman Series at the Speedworld and both had success at Riverside and other tracks in the region in the Sportsman car before moving up to the faster Pro Stock car. We all know the success that those two have had at the helm of a Pro Stock car and with Smith, 25, riding the success that he has had in the Sportsman car could very well follow in their footsteps.
He will start with a major task though – winning the 2012 EIT Race Radios Rookie of the Year Award. At this point, he has at least one competitor to battle for that title. I say one, because I have heard of at least one other possibly making his move to the series, creating what could be the most talked about and closely contested rookie battle in the 12 year history of this series! We’ll introduce you to those others as we push forward in the off-season.
Remember, if you haven’t already to purchase your tickets for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour banquet at the Delta Prince Edward on November 26th, 2011. We’ll take one final look back at the 2011 campaign and the season that was before we hit the busy holiday season.
Once again, if you are looking to see something on Tim’s Corner, or you have any news/information you would like to pass on to the racing community, feel free to email me at email@example.com and we’ll get your point across.
Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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