Not many drivers at the competitive and often unpredictable Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway can say they’ve won every race this season, but Bandolero Bandits driver Chandler Smith is one of two drivers in the entire series who still can.
Just 12 years old, the Georgia native rolls into Charlotte Motor Speedway every Tuesday in a bright red trailer with his name and face splashed across the side. He has managed to win all six of the Bandit races so far and has no plans on breaking his streak. Only Tom Pistone, in the Legend Car Security Force Masters division, has equaled the feat this season.
“I think it’s my confidence that’s helped me do so well this season,” Smith said. “I definitely get nervous, just not as nervous as other people because no matter where I finish, everything will still be okay and I can always do better.”
Smith started off racing go-karts at only the age of four and quickly moved to quarter midgets before transitioning to Bandoleros.
“Well, one day I was just watching NASCAR and I really wanted to do that so I called my dad up and I said ‘Can we start racing?’ and he said yes,” Smith said.
Originally from Jasper, Georgia, Smith started his Bandolero career at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Thursday Thunder summer series. But he soon got the bug to travel somewhere else and get a completely different racing experience. He and his family travel almost 300 miles to Charlotte Motor Speedway each week to be able to partake in some of the best Bandolero racing around.
“I don’t like sitting at home all week and the competition and crowd is so great at Charlotte so that’s why I started coming here to race,” Smith said.
Smith was also undefeated in Atlanta’s Thursday Thunder series for several weeks and could possibly take home two championships this summer if he keeps up his success. Both tracks are unique in their own way, but Smith says Charlotte brings a different driving experience to the table.
“It is definitely pretty tough; there are a lot more cars racing here and some harder competition,” Smith commented.
Smith says he plans to continue climbing the racing ranks and hopes to one day be driving a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I hope I get to race in NASCAR one day. The hardest part will just be moving up through the different types of cars and programs,” said Smith. “Next I’ll move up to late models and I think those cars will be my favorite that I’ve ever raced, but so far I like the Bandoleros the best.”
The young Bandit says he isn’t intimidated by the speed and danger of NASCAR and has even experienced some nasty crashes himself.
“I’ve been in the wall and with some fire, but it doesn’t scare me away,” Smith explained.
Racing at Summer Shootout has helped Smith develop his skills and experience a new level of racing, but when asked what his favorite part about driving is, his answer remains perfectly simple.
Fans have the chance to witness Smith’s winning streak continue next Tuesday night as the 21st annual Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series continues with a Global Rallycross Driver autograph session featuring stars such as Bucky Lasek, Patrik Sandell, Steve Arpin and more. As always, next week’s Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series will feature a full slate of the nation’s best Legend Car and Bandolero racing on the frontstretch quarter-mile.
Tickets for the Summer Shootout Series are $7 for adults and are available in advance at the speedway ticket office or at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Kids 13 and under get in free. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action starting at 5:10 p.m. Opening ceremonies are at 6:45 p.m., and feature races are scheduled to conclude by approximately 10 p.m.
For tickets to the Summer Shootout Series, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
For live updates during the Summer Shootout Series, follow hashtag #SummerShootout on Twitter. To join in on the conversation simply include #SummerShootout in your tweet.
Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.
Track PR – CMS/Tami Pope – Photo