Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Racing a Family Affair for Moses Smith

Thanks to the folks at NASCAR This Week for giving me today's guest column spot. Here's a repost of today's column below. Ya'll be sure to check them out!

Go to any race track on any given weekend and amid the pit crews, die-hard fans and media types, you'll find a slew of wide-eyed youngsters who dream of being a professional driver one day. It's the nature of such dreams to change with the passage of time. But when a child is blessed with real talent, a passion for motorsports and a supportive family, a boy's far-flung dream can turn into a man's present-day reality.

Just ask Moses Smith. He's one of the lucky ones.

Smith drives the #16 Hasa Pool Products Toyota in NASCAR's National Camping World Series West - a feeder league that prepares drivers for the top levels of NASCAR racing. But Moses began his racing odyssey more than 20 years ago, as a young boy growing up in California. His dad Paul is an undefeated San Diego Sand Drag Champion, and his Mom would tote Moses and little brother Zachariah to watch dad's races.

"My earliest memories are of my dad working on his street/drag car or building his sand rail in the garage," Smith said. "He was always involved in motorsports as a hobby and I thought it would be cool if I could do it for a living," Smith said. "I guess that's the short version of how it all started."

Bit by the racing bug, Moses began driving go-karts competitively in what was at first a "father and son thing". He eventually became the California State Champion and has seen more recent success in Formula One and now NASCAR.

So far, 2009 has been good to Moses and the HASA Pool Products team. They've snagged four top 10 finishes and two top fives. But Moses is the first to admit his accomplishments would never have happened without the superhuman efforts of his Mom and Dad. "My parents never really had the big bucks like other parents," Smith said. "But they showed me how to work for it. Giving up was never an option."

Moses learned from the example of his parents' work ethic. Both "z." and Paul hold down full-time jobs while going all out for their son's career. "Z." (or NASCAR Race Mom as she's known online) can spend up to four hours a day writing Moses' newsletters, handling media requests and updating his web site. She helps out at hospitality events, and has been known to clean the hauler a time or two. Last year, Paul was even a member of Moses' crew.

"It has never been a chore or a challenge," "z." said, "We really do not balance racing and family because to the Smiths it is one and the same."

The Smiths have got it right. The hard work that goes in to making any driver a success isn't just a one-person effort. The racing life is not so much a destination, as it is a shared journey.

"There are a lot of sacrifices that are made to make it to the top," Smith said. "This is our dream, and the reward of achieving your dream is amazing. And if you never quite achieve your dream, well at least you get to dream for a while..."

... Said the once little boy whose dream is coming true.

Photo courtesy of "z." Smith

1 comment:

  1. Great article! There is no doubt that you will go all the way Mo.....for sure kiddo ;-)