The month of June is here and already the Deep South is in the thick of the summer heat. Likewise, the Show Me the Money Pro Late Model Series at Montgomery Motor Speedway is also heating up. With the third race of the season coming up this Saturday night, the home state stars, including up-and-coming driver Dustin Smith, are prepared for the heat and the intense on-track action that seems to come with it.
Smith has silently risen near the top of the point standings after two Pro Late Model races at Montgomery this season. The Mobile, Alabama native has impressed with top-five finishes in both his trips up I-65 this season, hanging with the usual faces of the series and mixing it up with fellow newcomers.
Away from Montgomery, Smith has also been adjusting to life in a Super Late Model as well, getting his feet wet at tracks such as South Alabama Speedway and Five Flags Speedway. All and all, Smith has been satisfied with the progress made thus far.
“It’s going pretty good. We’ve got some high expectations and we’re hopeful we can get a win,” Smith told Speed51.com. “I’ve learned a lot this year, especially racing a Super for the first time. But there is still a ton of stuff I haven’t learned yet, so there’s still a lot to get to.”
Smith and the No. 33 operation have kept their presence local for the most part, with the exception of some road trips during the month of February.
“We’ve been staying down south. We went off to race New Smyrna and Greenville-Pickens in the winter. We have been getting down here and having some fun.”
The most fun Smith has had, especially at Montgomery has been running with the likes of veterans like Casey Roderick, Augie Grill and Justin South, drivers who are considered a high bench mark for developing racers. He feels fortunate to be able to go to the same track throughout the season and expect them to be in attendance.
“All those guys I’ve got a ton of respect for, they can teach you a lot, especially when you’re riding behind them on the track,” Smith stated. “It’s great having them come here. I don’t know how to say it… but if you race them the way they race you, it’s a good way to earn some respect.”
Smith has even gained an edge over most drivers in the early championship bout, sitting second in points not far behind Bobby Knox, Jr. While he is looking towards title aspirations, winning a race is still at the top of the list, especially knowing that will only increase his title odds.
“I know we can get a win and go for the championship,” he said. “We just got to keep our nose clean and keep our heads on straight and I think we have a shot at it. Wins can get you a championship.”
Smith and the rest of the Pro Late Model drivers will return to Montgomery this Saturday night for the Summer Slam 100. Race fans will be able to find updates, video highlights and more from that event on Speed51.com.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com