(Editor’s Note: ‘The Rapsheet’ is a feature on Speed51.com, telling the background of certain personalities within the sport of short track racing. This will be a recurring feature on Speed51.com, giving fans the dirt on the new, the old, and even the forgotten personalities of short track racing.)
Each year, a new crop of young stars emerges from within the short track racing ranks. We call them the future of our sport and watch them closely as they mold into future stars in the NASCAR world.
In 2019, a 14-year-old U.S. Legends Cars graduate from Johnston, Iowa could fall into that category. At the very least, the youngster has already proven that he’ll be a driver to keep an eye on this year.
If you haven’t heard his name yet, meet Sammy Smith.
Born into a racing family, speed is a second language to Smith. He’s moved up in class on a bi-annual basis since he was 10 years old. This year, he’ll be behind the wheel of a Late Model competing at major events throughout the country.
“My dad works for an agency company for NASCAR,” Smith told Speed51.com. “He got me started in go karts. I raced go karts for about two years and then moved up to Legends Cars.”
With backing from TMC Transportation, the U.S. Legends Car standout took home 31 victories over the last two years and finished fourth in national points last year with Ladyga Motorsports, the same team that helped develop NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Hemric.
Smith has since joined forces with Anthony Campi Racing in the offseason to get his feet wet in full size race cars.
“We just saw that they (Anthony Campi Racing) were really good. We gave them a call to see if they had a ride open and they did,” Smith said.
Moving into the No. 81 for the first time during the Red Eye Pro Late Model 50, Smith qualified on the front row alongside former NASCAR Truck Series Champion Mike Skinner. Smith followed Skinner for much of the race before getting caught up in an incident on Lap 39.
While he would end up finishing ninth that day, he left the track knowing he was a threat to win, earning him a chance to come back and try it again.
“We’re going to race Speedweeks with Anthony, but we don’t have a set schedule after that,” Smith said. “I hope to go down and compete for wins and take home the championship.”
If all goes as planned, the racing world will soon become familiar with the name Sammy Smith.
-By Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Melissa Strahley