BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 20, 1998) Believe it or not, the truck driver for the Gumout Racing team was ready for the brutal, non-stop, 16-weekend stretch to conclude the NASCAR Winston Cup season. David Smith, on the job three months...
BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 20, 1998) Believe it or not, the truck driver for the Gumout Racing team was ready for the brutal, non-stop, 16-weekend stretch to conclude the NASCAR Winston Cup season.
David Smith, on the job three months after moving over from the same duties for NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division driver Mark Krogh, was prepped by the series' nine consecutive weekend binge to start the season.
"If I had to work for a living I wouldn't mind doing this," Smith said. "When I came on with this team there was one break, not counting the smokeout at Daytona," Smith said. "Basically, this whole summer has been nonstop for me."
And Smith says he's already beyond the toughest stretch.
That began when he and a co-driver trucked across country for the road course race in Sonoma, Calif. The round trip journey took six days, ending back at the team's shop in Mooresville, N.C., for a one-night stop-and-reload. Then they headed to Daytona for the Pepsi 400 which was eventually postponed due to the Florida wildfires, and followed that with a trip up to New Hampshire for the race in Loudon. Total mileage? Some 9,500 miles.
No wonder this Saturday's Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Bristol, Tenn., is viewed as an easy trip by Smith. He'll embark for a NASCAR 50th anniversary parade in Bristol by noon Thursday, get a good night's rest and be at the track by 6 a.m. Friday. He should get back to the team's shop in order to unload the hauler by 3 a.m. Sunday morning and have half the day off.
He's really looking forward to the 2,000-mile roundtrip to Loudon. That will give him a chance to visit with his four children who still reside near there.
"Because the Busch Series ran up there earlier this year, I've been able to go home three times this year," Smith said. "But there are no more weekends off now. The rest of the time the only way I can visit with them is by phone."
The owner of a moving and storage company in Lebanon, N.H., Smith couldn't resist taking a stab at his long-time dream of working for a Winston Cup team. A veteran driver of the modified and pro stock scene in the Northeast, Smith landed his second job through racing connections tied to Krogh. A year later, he's in stock car's major leagues.
Smith says the biggest challenge on the job doesn't come with the frustrating breakdowns or blowouts on the highway while trying to stay on a tight schedule.
"It's learning how to be beneficial to the mechanics as far as supporting them," Smith said. "They do so much in one day it would blow most people's minds. You have to make sure to get them the right equipment. You've got to be a step ahead of them."
In many ways, Smith has the same challenge as the driver of the Gumout Pontiac, Derrike Cope.
"You have to handle your vehicle properly," Smith said. "Getting everything back in one piece. That's your reward."
Source: NASCAR Online