Before the start of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, 14-year-old Sammy Smith had one career Pro Late Model start. At the end of Speedweeks, the former Legends Car standout was the World Series champion.
He won two races with Anthony Campi Racing during the week, including the Zack Donatti Memorial 100 on Friday night to put an exclamation point on his championship performance that saw him finish in the top five in every race.
Smith made an appearance on Speed51’s The Morning Bullring on Monday morning to talk about his performance at New Smyrna Speedway. His performance during the week far exceeded his expectations going into his first World Series.
Smith earned his first win of the week in the tech line after early week dominator Jeremy Miller was disqualified for a body infraction. That win gave the young driver a slim lead over Todd Stone in the championship standings with just two nights left.
The biggest moment of the week was his Friday night win in the 100-lap finale. After hanging out in the top five for the majority of the race, he made his move on Loris Hezemans with 17 laps to go and pulled away for the biggest win of his young career.
He talked to Bob Dillner and Dylan Smith about the biggest challenge that comes with jumping from a Legends Car to a full-bodied Late Model. He noted the improvement from the Red Eye, where he qualified second but struggled in the race, to the World Series.
“Probably the power and passing, finding where that right front has got to be. It’s really tight racing, it’s really hard to pass,” Smith stated. “You have to pass off the corner, it’s really hard to pass getting in. I ran the Red Eye and it didn’t go well because I was struggling with passing. I think I’ve got passing down now.”
Smith teamed up with Anthony Campi for the World Series. In recent years, Campi has helped drivers like Giovanni Bromante, Cole Anderson, and Chase Purdy reach victory lane. Now it’s Sammy Smith’s turn to receive Campi’s knowledge and expertise, and it quickly paid off at the World Series.
“Anthony’s helped me a lot with, if I messed something up going into or out of the corner, he corrects me and I fix it in the next corner.”
The rest of Sammy Smith’s 2019 schedule has yet to be determined, but he plans on competing in Pro Late Model races in the southeast with Anthony Campi Racing, looking to pick up as much experience as possible at a variety of tracks.
“We’re getting the schedule put together this week. There’s more races down the road with Anthony Campi and hopefully we’ll be running the rest of the season with them. We’ll probably run down south, probably more races at New Smyrna, maybe Alabama and Pensacola.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com