|May 11, 2010 News
|eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month - Jeff Smith - April 2010
| Jeff Smith dominated the S4 proceedings at the SKUSA SpringNationals in Sonoma|
(Photo: Tony Leone - sixspeedphotos.com)
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
One category that continues to grow, becoming more and more competitive each year is the Masters categories. Many of the stars from a few years back are moving up the age ranks, jumping away from the young guns and racing against those who also need to be back at work on Monday morning. Last month at the Superkarts! USA North American Pro Tour debut - the SKUSA SpringNationals - the S4 Masters Stock Moto category was the largest class on the weekend. Though the competition was fierce, it was a one man show up front with NorCal’s Jeff Smith taking home victory both days. His performance helped him earn the eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month honor.
In his youth, Smith was involved in motorsports, wrenching on a variety of sports cars and formula cars. After finding out the battles with the cost to go car racing, Smith was introduced to karting. Jumping in head first by purchasing a used 80 shifter, Smith was hooked. Smith made a name for himself last year, claiming the 2009 ProKart Challenge South S4 championship. He also was chosen to be part of the 2009 SKUSA/MG Tires Granja Viana 500 team in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This year, the target is on his back following the performance at the SKUSA SpringNationals.
Smith found himself chasing at the start of the event with the first round of qualifying on Saturday morning. Making a charge late in the session, Smith was getting quicker and quicker but came up two-hundredths of a second short of the pole position. Starting from outside of row one, Smith grabbed the holeshot to begin the first heat race, cruising to a two-second win. Challenged in the early portion of heat two, Smith struck back with the fast laps of the race to score another two-second win. Getting away from the grid cleanly, Smith was on cruise control to go wire-to-wire for a six-second victory.
Making some slight changes for qualifying on Sunday, Smith put his CRG-Aluminos entry on the pole position as the only driver under the 49-second mark. Continuing to show the way through heat one, Smith felt pressure for the first time as he was joined throughout the eight laps up front, however, still going on for the win. In round two, Smith found himself in the challenger role for the first time, falling back to second in the first lap. The next time around, Smith retook the lead and put the hammer down to score the win by two-seconds. After losing on the holeshot to begin the main event, Smith secured second before losing any more spots. Once settled in on the opening lap, Smith reassumed his position at the front. From there, it was a reply of every race we saw as he just powered away in his CRG to another win and securing the victory on the day by over three-seconds to cap off a perfect points day.
Thus far, Smith has been perfect in feature races. Contesting the ProKart Challenge North program this year, Smith is undefeated with three straight main event victories in addition to his two at the SKUSA SpringNationals. With the lead in the standings heading to the SKUSA SummerNationals, Smith will be the driver everyone will be chasing in Shawano, Wisconsin.
| Jeff Smith - EKN Driver of the Month - April 2010|
(Photo: Tony Leone - sixspeedphotos.com)
April 2010 EKN Driver of the Month - Jeff Smith
Date of Birth: 2.16.65
Hometown: San Francisco, California
Height/Weight: 5’ 8”/ 180lbs
Education: College - Business & Economics
Job: Kart Shop Owner - Kartspeed Motorsports
Engine/Engine Builder: Stock Honda/Aluminos-George Tavares
Sponsors: Aluminos/Kartspeed Motorsports
Series You Compete In: SKUSA Pro Kart Challenge and the SKUSA Pro Tour
Years Karting: 9
How did you get started in karting? Tom Dyer. He kept telling me how great karting is and that I really needed to give it a try. He was right. No other motorsport comes close to karting.
What has been the high point in your racing career? Winning the SKUSA SpringNationals Event. This was my first true pro race so it was amazing for me to stand on the top of the podium and hear Rob Howden announcing my name!
What are your goals in racing? To constantly improve my track speed and set up knowledge. When I hear guys like Dyer, Speed and Carlton talk, I realize just how much I don’t know.
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? Adaptable. I like to think I can adapt to new circuits quickly. When I ran the PKC South Series last season, the best part about it was getting to drive at so many different types of circuits.
Funniest moment at the race track?
Favorite Track: Moran Raceway…but since that one is history, New Castle looks amazing.
Favorite form of professional motorsports: Formula One
Favorite karting driver: There are some great ones out there. Tom Dyer heads the list for me. Alex Speed and Gary Carlton…those guys have forgotten more about karting then I will ever know! It’s a privilege for me to be able to know these guys. They drive at an incredibly high level.
Favorite professional driver: Michael Schumacher.
Favorite website: …besides Kartspeed Motorsports…eKartingNews. It’s my home page so I can keep track of what’s going on in karting!
Favorite movie: I don’t have just one favorite…but I really like ‘Shooter’ with Mark Wahlberg
Favorite actor/actress: Steve McQueen, Mark Wahlberg.
Favorite music/group: Linkin Park and Disturbed.
Favorite vacation/activity spot: The kart track….not kidding!
Favorite food: If I am with Dyer, salad…dry. If I am not with Dyer, In-N-Out cheeseburgers!
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? Think about being at the track…and working, of course. I have a great wife, so she gets my time me when I am not racing.
What are your goals outside of karting? F1…Oh wait, I am too old. Well, my goal is still F1. heck, if Schuey can come back in his 40’s….
What type of street car do you drive? Dodge Dakota
What type of street car would you like to drive? Fiat 500 Abarth
What are your pet peeves or things that irritate you? Not reaching the absolute maximum of my abilities.
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? Umm, how much space do I have for my answer? In one sentence, fewer classes (a LOT fewer) and less sanctioning bodies. Then the rest of the details will pretty much fall into place.
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? The competition; it’s fierce in sprint kart racing. The performance of the 125 shifter class; it’s off the chart. The relative low cost, (compared to anything with the performance envelope of the 125 shifters), keeps the racing pure and the accessibility to new competitors open.
April Driver of the Month - Honorable Mention:
- Camden Geise: WSK North American Series by CKI @ New Castle - Double wins in Leopard Junior
- Neil Alberico: WSK North American Series by CKI @ New Castle - Double wins in TaG Senior
- Sebastian Ordonez: Rotax Pan American Challenge @ MSR Houston - Double win in Rotax Junior