CAYUGA – One thing Victoria Smith can count on this weekend is support.
She’ll be the hometown favourite in the Super Stock series when the eMax Drag Racing Series brings the Canadian Nationals to Toronto Motorsports Park on Kohler Road. That’s a stone’s throw from where her family’s F.J. Smith Performance Specialties racing car business works on the 2005 Pontiac Sunbird she’ll pilot down the Cayuga black top this weekend.
The fifth annual Nationals, the sixth stop of an 11-event IHRA program, begin Friday morning I (July 21) with qualifying runs at 10.30 a.m. in the Sportsman division. With racing all weekend from Nitro Top Fuel burners to Sportsman class, division eliminations begin on Sunday morning with the final rounds set to begin at 4:15 p.m. Ticket information is available at www.torontomotorsportspark.com
The Nationals will feature many of North America’s top drag racers.
Smith is no stranger to the drag racing scene, inheriting the racing gene from her father, popularly known as F.J. He was a fixture, and a challenger, on the drag racing scene for years, driving Stock and Super Stock and daughter Victoria would tag along as his number one fan.
“I grew up on racetracks on the weekends all summer,” admits the 23-year-old university student who is working on post-graduate studies in public relations corporate communications.
When Dad decided to step out of the driver’s seat, Daughter jumped in, honing her skills behind the wheel of a Super Stock Chevy S10 pickup. She’ll put her six years of racing experience to the test this weekend. If all goes according to plan, she and her 620 horsepowered Sunbird should trip the lights in just under 10 seconds, eating up the quarter-mile run at 140 miles per hour.
While Victoria does her thing on the track, Dad’s off-track business successes have not been overlooked. Since 1972, Smith Performance Specialties have left their mark at drag strips across North America. In 1987, the Smith Performance Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera became the prototype of a front-wheel drive car transformed into a rear-wheel drive race car. This Ciera became the model for the National Hot Rod Association’s guidelines on front-wheel drive conversions.
Since that car came out of the Cayuga shop, Smith Performance Specialties have built more than 160 front-wheel drive conversions for racers in North America. That has earned the company the Car Craft All-Star Drag Racing Team’s Sportsman Chassis Builder of the Year for 1992, 1993, and 2000. Victoria could even find herself racing against a family-business built conversion.