By: Tim Church
Jake Smith is a relative newcomer to supermodified racing, but he is no stranger to racing. Racing is in his family’s blood. Jake’s Grandfather raced stock cars in the 1950’s and the 1960’s at Harmony, Flemington, and Trenton Speedway. Jake started racing Briggs and Straton slingshots at the age of seven years old at Hamlin and Borger’s Speedways. Here the racing seed was sown. Some of the highlights in those years were racing in special events like the indoor race at Atlantic City, Young Lions for slingshots, and indoors at Fort Wayne, Indiana.
At the age of thirteen he purchased a Ford Focus Midget from Ryan Smith but Jake couldn’t race for two years due to a NEMA age requirement. Once Jake got started he was hooked on asphalt racing and it was also he was hooked on supermodifieds. Jake lists some of his midget highlights having a great run in 2014 during NEMA’s July speedweek. He won the Saturday race at Oxford Plains, then on Wednesday he finished third at the Boston Louie Classic.
In 2015 they purchased a Bodnar chassis from Mike McVetta and in 2016 they purchased a motor from Eric Lewis. They made their supermodified debut at Toledo Speedway. With 2016 being a learning experience they were looking forward to the 2017 season, but things didn’t quite work out the way they wanted to. A very hard hit with the wall at Lorain County Speedway caused heavy damage to the car and they had to park the car for the rest of the season. Although disappointed, they continued racing their midget for the rest of the year.
The off season has a busy one for Jake and his Father. They have fabricated a new seat to get Jake a little lower in the car. They replaced the entire front end and have made new body panels and a new auxiliary fuel cell for the car. They plan on running as many MSS and ISMA races as they possibly can. When they are not running the supermodified, they plan on running their midget.
I asked Jake what it is like to be working on the race cars with family, he had this to say. “What can I say? Sometimes there are differences of opinion. My Dad has been my pit crew from the beginning. My Mother doesn’t miss a race. My Grandfather had done all his own engine work and fabrication. My Dad works the same way. He is good with motors and fabrication and I am a welder. My days off are spent in the shop with my Dad working on the cars.
Sponsors on the number twelve supermodified are long time sponsor Alpha Autobody from Alpha, New Jersey, Seymour Performance, and Radical Racegear.