For Smiths, racing is family affair

MOTOR SPORTS

March 14, 1993|By STAN DILLON

Three weeks ago, Summer Smith of Taneytown won the bid to become Miss Hagerstown Speedway at the Valley Mall Race-A-Rama Show.

The 20-year-old is no stranger to auto racing, which has been part of her life since she was 5 years old.

Smith is proud of her family's involvement in racing. Her father is sprint car driver Steve Smith, and her brother is World of Outlaw driver Stevie Smith of New Oxford, Pa. Both are known throughout the world as being among the best to drive the open-wheel sprint cars.

Steve is the leading feature winner in central Pennsylvania and has won 148 features at Lincoln Speedway and 225 overall. He will be seeking his 10th track title this year.

Stevie won a track championship at Lincoln before he went on the road with the World of Outlaws in 1989 and captured Rookie of the Year honors. Since joining the Outlaws, he has finished in the top five in points every year.

Representing Hagerstown Speedway will keep Summer close to the sport she loves as she prepares for a career in modeling. She is a junior at Towson State where she is majoring in accounting with dance as a minor. She transferred to Towson after attending Carroll Community College for two years.

Even though more women are competing in the sport, Smith has not wanted to get behind the wheel.

"My father gave me a ride in his car when I was 5," she said. "I decided right then to leave the racing to them."

Smith has done limited modeling since she was 5 and has entered several small contests since then. Two years ago she found out about the Ms. Motorsports contest each year in Valley Forge, Pa. The pageant attracts the attention of the motorsports world and contestants must know racing to get through the question-and-answer session.

With her wholesome good looks and racing background, she was first runner-up out of more than 40 contestants. She then won the Miss Grandview Speedway (Betchelsville, Pa.) contest for 1992.

"I really had a good time at Grandview," said Smith. "I had never been a track queen before, so I didn't know what to expect. I met a lot of nice people. I was hoping to be in victory lane for Dad, but something always happened and he couldn't make it there."

Smith entered the Ms. Motorsports Contest last January and was first runner-up again. She then entered Hagerstown's contest and will be representing the track during the 1993 season, which started last week.

"I am really looking forward to it, especially when my brother and dad race there," said Smith, who still hopes to share victory lane some day with one of them. "I am hoping my dream will come true at Hagerstown this year when they have the sprints."

Although Hagerstown is a late-model track, it has several sprint dTC car shows, including the World of Outlaws. The chances of Smith being in victory lane with her father or brother is good. Both have won at Hagerstown. Her father won the biggest race of his career four years ago when he pocketed $10,000 in the Octoberfest 250.

Balancing her schedule between appearances for the speedway, her education and her work keeps her busy. So busy she hardly has time to watch her family race.

Smith plans to travel to Texas during spring break to watch Stevie race at the World of Outlaws. She'll get a chance to see him again at Hagerstown on Memorial Day weekend.

In addition to modeling, Smith works during the summer as a customer representative. She also teaches dancing.

When she completes college in 1994, she plans to move to California to pursue a career in acting and modeling.

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