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Cleve Smith
(Photo: ARCA Racing)

Former ARCA Menards Series driver, team owner Cleve Smith passes away at 82

Cleve Smith, who drove in ARCA Menards Series and USAC Stock Car Series races from 1970-83, then became a race-winning ARCA Menards Series team owner with his son Eric Smith driving, died May 17, 2022, in his hometown of Bloomington Illinois. He was 82.

The longtime owner-operator of Southtown Wrecker Service in Bloomington, the elder Smith fielded Fords driven by Eric Smith in 123 races from 1983-02 with victories in 1995 at Owosso Speedway in Michigan and Kil Kare Speedway in Ohio.

The father-son team also won a pair of pole qualifying awards at Kil Kare in the 1990s and recorded 14 top-five finishes at Five Flags Speedway, Kil Kare, Shady Bowl Speedway, Salem Speedway, Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and Flat Rock Speedway.

The team had 48 overall top-10 finishes and had their best points finish of 11th in 1994 despite running only 15 of the 21 races.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.