AUSTIN, TX (December 2, 2003) -- Casey Smith is one of the rising young stars in Motorsports and the Snowball Derby is one of the most historic events in short track racing. The Texas teen knows a win in "The Derby" would put a spotlight on his...
AUSTIN, TX (December 2, 2003) -- Casey Smith is one of the rising young stars in Motorsports and the Snowball Derby is one of the most historic events in short track racing. The Texas teen knows a win in "The Derby" would put a spotlight on his career, so he's bringing a secret weapon to this weekend's 36th annual event at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.
Legendary Short Track racing crew chief Joe Shear Jr. will aid Casey Smith's team at this year's Snowball Derby.
"I can't wait to work with Joe. He helped us out at Concord and agreed to come down to Florida to try and help us win the Derby," said Smith, who after this race will begin weighing his options for what he will do in 2004. "His dad (Joe Shear Sr.) was a great racer but never won this race, so it would be awesome if we could work together and both find victory lane for the first time. He is so smart when it comes to these racecars; I think we'll have a good shot with his help."
Shear helped Smith at the Asphalt World Championships at Concord Motorsport Park (NC) two weeks ago. Together, they were second-quick (to eventual winner Clay Rogers) in the final practice session, but a broken clutch just a few laps into the race ruined his day.
"To tell you the truth, that was part of the reason we wanted to go to Concord; to get all of the little kinks worked out of the car before the Derby. I hate it that our clutch let go, but I'd rather it happen in that race than the Derby. You have to be on top of your game and go through your car with a fine tooth comb for Pensacola. It's a long, tough race (300 laps) and you can't have any equipment failures."
Smith may be young, but he knows there is something special about the Snowball Derby. In 2001, he competed in the event and was as high as second before getting involved in the infamous Snowball-wreck that ended his day. He now wants to avenge that disappointment, but realizes at the same time that there is a certain mystique surrounding this event.
"You just have to go to the Snowball Derby because it is the Derby," said Smith. "If it paid $1,000 to win, I think you would still see a lot of cars there because of what it is and what it means to the racing world. This is the race that everyone wants to win and the race that shows you what kind of racer you really are because of the amount of talent that is there.
"There are very few other places you can go and race against guys from as many different series and as many different parts of the country as you can at the Derby. That is what makes it so fun. Plus, there is no pressure on you there; it is all about going out there and racing and enjoying your time there."