Catching up with Brad Smith after Daytona; adds two cars to team Hylton

Catching up with Brad Smith after Daytona; adds two cars to team Hylton

TOLEDO, Ohio (March 6, 2017) -- With an eye on Nashville, the next event on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour, Brad Smith is still feeling the effects from Daytona. All things considered it was a great start to the 2017 season, coming out 17th in the final running order with a lead-lap finish. Bonus round: they didn't wreck the car either which gives them something to take to Talladega.

"Not a bad day for us," said Smith.Brad Smith Car Shot at Daytona 2017

"We were able to run in the lead draft when we wanted to. My dad watched the race and said we were never more than six seconds from the lead pack all day. For a team with no money, this is like a victory for us."

Dropping back at will was part of the master plan that Smith and his No. 48 Hylton Motorsports team had in play right from the start.

"Anytime on the restarts, James just had me drop way back. We'd get four or five seconds behind the lead draft, and that's how we missed all the accidents. Car's ready for Talladega...we're happy."

Smith is also happy about the newer composite bodied car the team just purchased for the intermediate tracks.

"When the (composite) car came up for sale, we jumped at it. We're going to use the composite car for intermediate tracks."

And that's a big step up for the Hylton Motorsports team considering they were taking their Daytona car to the intermediate tracks last year.

"We didn't have a downforce car till now. Trying to compete in a speedway car on an intermediate track is no fun. You don't have the downforce...you don't have grip in the corner...and the car wiggled all over the place. Hopefully, now we can be more competitive on the intermediate tracks."

So instead of working with just two cars everywhere - a short track car and a superspeedway machine, Hylton Motorsports is growing. Not only has the team added the composite car for intermediate tracks, the team is busy finishing up another short track car.James Hylton & Terry Strange

"I actually have a car I had bought from Howard Bixman, and James (Hylton) is just finishing that up for the short tracks, so we should do better at intermediates and short tracks."

While Hylton Motorsports works out of its shop in Inman, South Carolina, Smith is back home in Michigan working the phones in search of sponsors and getting accustomed to his new job he started just before Daytona.

"I'm just transitioning to a new job at General Motors (GM). It's the exact same job I did at Chrysler."

That means that Smith works as a cost engineer at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, but with more perks.

"It's a better deal all the way around...more vacation and more money. The vacation part fits into my racing a little better. I'm with a really good group of guys. And the fact that GM is into racing more than Chrysler won't hurt either."

Coming up on a full two years since Smith's horrific crash at Talladega, he's still dealing with a stiff ankle as a result of several skin graft surgeries.

"I'm doing very well overall, but the ankle's still a little stiff. I'm starting a different therapy to hopefully loosen it up a bit. We'll see in the next month if it's going to be effective or not. It's been a little longer road than I thought it was going to be, but I know how I lucky I am to still be racing.

"Overall, I'm feeling really good and looking forward to this year. We're going to have better cars and the Ilmor engine. I'm looking forward to it."

Smith is also going to try and get down to Hylton's race shop on his way to the next race on tour - the Music City 200 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville April 8.

"I'm going to try and get to the shop on my way down to Nashville to help with any issues finishing up the short track car. Typically though, I won't see James and the crew guys till we're at the track."

Smith, coming off a career-best sixth-place championship points finish in 2016, will be making his 281st career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start at Nashville.

Don Radebaugh
dradebaugh@arcaracing.com

Comments
Darin A.

Keep up the good work, Brad!

Leo Kryger

Great article,  great team, great driver, glad I am able to be part of it.  Never underestimate this team, looking for a better 2017, Daytona was a great way to start 

electrovoice

That's a racer's racer! And a small team's story to root for. Great article.....way to go team 48!

 

terrystrange

Good start to our year, great article Don!

 

Don Radebaugh

Anytime Brad...all my pleasure...

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