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Back in the Saddle – Tj Smith’s Top-Five Return to a Sprint Car

Sprint Car Insider- Driver Exclusive. FRESNO, Ca. (November 5, 2018) – Tj Smith drove to a top-five performance in his first sprint car start after nearly five years Saturday Night at Kern County Raceway Park.

It was just like riding a bike.

Tj Smith felt right at home in the seat of Jayson May’s bright orange 360 non-wing Sprint Car. Once he knocked the rust off and got out on the track with other drivers, it didn’t take long for Smith to stand on the loud pedal.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Smith. “Sure there was some comfort I had to get back after not racing in five years, but once I got out there with other guys, I felt like I could drive one of these things.”

The 2010 Santa Maria Speedway track champion and four-time USAC West Coast Sprint Car winner came into the night with one goal in mind, – to roll the car into the trailer the same way it rolled out. After overcoming some early gremlins Smith gained more and more comfort with each lap on the track.

Not only was this Smith’s first race back in years, it was also the first Non Wing Sprint Car race ever held at KCRP. Drivers were anxious to see how the track would develop. Hot Lap and Qualifying times would not tell the tale about T.J Smith if that was all you were basing your judgment off of. When heat race action took to the track Smith showed the KCRP crowd that he sure is a multi-time non-wing Sprint Car winner.

He would start the heat race affair from the tail end of the field and drive his way forward. It was apparent the comfort was coming back as Smith worked his way through the field. For Smith, the heat race was his first time back on track at full speed with other drivers. He was noticeably cautious at first but the rust came flying off with his first slide job of the night.

From that point forward it was hammer down.

Smith drove his way up to the third position in the heat with the third best lap time. His lap was just two-tenths off the winner of previous nights event at Stockton Dirt Track. Up next it would be 30-laps of main event action.

As the field of Non Wing sprint cars took to the track for the first KCRP main event in history Tj Smith rolled off from the 10th position. The green flag dropped and the charge to the top began. They say that turn one at Kcrp is like driving into a tunnel and it’s tough to pass on. But Smith made the majority of his moves right there. After a small bobble he relented a position and got stuck behind a driver while the leaders slipped away. But when he finally did make the move, he was gone.

Smith charged to the 6th position while the field got into lapped traffic. He started reeling in the top 5 before a late race caution came out. As the field went green Smith found himself in the top 5. The ensuing green flag run was a battle. Smith battled with third and fourth as the closing stages of the race played out. He had the speed to make the moves but a late push of the window scaled him back to bringing home the top 5.

He was able to do just that. At the end of 30-laps around KCRP the comeback was complete. Anything could have happened but the multi-time winner displayed that he still has the skill it takes to get the job done.

“Top 5 in his first race in 5 years Is pretty darn impressive,” said Charlie Salmon, Smith’s Micro Sprint team owner. “After not racing for so long to bring it home in one piece is a good night, but to bring it home top 5, that says a lot.”

Salmon, and many others on hand to witness the return also mentioned they were not surprised. Smith had an abundance of fans to be witness to Smith’s second ascension to the pinnacle of a Micro Sprint racers dream, – a ride in a sprint car.

“It felt so good to be back,” said Smith. “I am so thankful for the opportunity the May family has given me, I just want to make them proud, and do a good job.”

Smith not only put the car in the top 5, but rolled the car back in the trailer without so much as a scratch on it. In his comeback run Smith showcased the control and composure that has bred so much success recently in the Micro Sprint world. Smith could seemingly drive the car where he wanted it, gave detailed and informative feedback, and did it all with class and professionalism in front of fellow competitors and race fans.

According to Smith it was everything he could ask for. It only took one race for Tj Smith to regain the confidence it takes to win. He’s done it before, and it looks like he’ll do it again. All evaluations from the car owners have been positive and it looks like further negotiations are in the works.

Look for Tyler Smith to be back behind the wheel of sprint car at a track near you. Stay tuned to Sprint Car Insider for all the latest breaking news, details, and up to the minute information.

If you are looking for a capable, talented driver with experience and the will to win, look no further. Beyond what is in the works of being scheduled Smith has aspiration of filling his current open schedule with more Sprint Car and Midge opportunities. Give us a call or get ahold of Smith today.

Follow Tyler and his racing efforts personally at

Facebook: Tyler Smith

Instagram: @t.smith1421

Tj Smith USAC west coast 360 Stats

CURRENT: USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Stats

Wins: 4 Main Event victories (13th in history)

Quick Times: 6 (7th most in history)

Championships: 1 (2010 Santa Maria Speedway track Champion)

USAC West Coast 360 Sprint standings (2009-2011)

2011 – 8th overall in points

2010 – 3rd (lost by only 123 points)

2009 – 5th (Inaugural year)

Track Championship Standings


*2010 Santa Maria Speedway Track Champion

2011 – 8th Santa Maria Points

2009 – 7th Santa Maria Points

2010 – 3rd in 360 clash standing

2009 – 6th Hanford Points

Overall Tj Smith holds four sanctioned Usac west coast 360 sprint car wins and one unsanctioned in a Spec Sprint.

July 24, 2010 – Santa Maria Speedway

August 21, 2010Hanford

August 28, 2010Santa Maria

September 11, 2010 – Hanford

“Jimbo Turner Memorial”

“With the victory, T.J. Smith is third in the series point standings. Driving Steve LeGras’ UHL Rubber #14 Maxim, the Fresno driver was sixth quick in time trials and won the Competition Suspension Incorporated Heat Race #3. To date, Smith has two feature victories, three fast time awards, three heat race wins, and thirteen top-10 finishes on the season.” – quote from Lance Jennings race recap August 21, 2010.

This Seasons Micro Sprint Statistics

2018 Season Stats:

Shows: 48

Wins: 25

Top 5s: 40

Top 10s: 44

Championships: 6 (California Speedweek, Lemoore Raceway, Plaza Park Raceway, Delta Speedway, King of California, TURKEY BOWL XVIII)


Make sure to follow Sprint Car Insider on Facebook, @SCI_updates on twitter or visit our website – for or all of the updates on Tyler Smith as he continues his assault on the 2018 campaign.

Follow us: –

Facebook: Sprint Car Insider –

Twitter: @SCI_updates –

Instagram:  – @sprintcarinsider

Or Follow Tyler and his racing efforts personally at

Facebook: Tyler Smith

Instagram: @t.smith1421

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On the Horizon for Tyler Smith

34 Annual Tulsa Shootout

January 1-5, 2019

Tulsa Expo Center

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Sprint Car Insider is the exclusive print division of DIRT CO Media House. Covering everything from Jr Sprints to the world of Outlaws SCI is your source for behind the scenes information, up to the minute coverage and racing entertainment.

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JJ Cox View All

JJ Cox -
Lead Contributor of Sprint Car Insider.
Sole Proprietor of Prodigy Race Promotions.
Current Freelance Announcer with educated broadcast experience.
Media Relations Advisor.
P.R Practitioner.

Fresno State Bulldog - Broadcasting and Public Relations.
Grew up going to 50+ Sprint Car races a year and Raced Motocross for 10 years.
Die Hard Dirt Race Fan
Just a rolling stone.

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