NASHVILLE, Tenn. – History was set to be made Saturday at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, as a 13-year-old stock car driver will be the youngest to ever compete on the track.
Chandler Smith, from Jasper, Georgia, may be young, but he's already a veteran driver.
“I’ve been doing this ever since I was four,” said Smith.
He started racing go karts, and then advanced to midgets, Bandoleros and has now been competing in pro late model series races.
During a practice session Friday at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, Smith was feeling confident.
“The track is awesome,” said Smith. “We’ve got great speed here today on these tires. We’re hanging in there with the big people.”
Smith has already won ten national championships, and said he doesn’t feel intimidated to race people twice his age.
“I just love it,” said Smith. “I just really like how the speed is, the power is. It’s a chance to get out of the house and do what you love.”
Smith has relied on help from his father, Mike, and a crew. When it comes to controlling the car while driving up to 135 miles per hour, he's on his own. His fearless approach has been attracting attention.
“He’s an amazing young man,” said Tony Formosa, President of Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. “His first round of practice was phenomenal. He fell right in and looked like someone who has been racing for a long time.”
Competitors have not been required to have a driver's license to race at the Speedway and there's no minimum age. As long as they have completed insurance requirements, they can compete. Formosa said it’s great to see young drivers like Smith in Nashville.
“I’ve never in my life seen anything like this,” said Formosa. “He has amazing driving ability and talent."
Smith has been scheduled to compete Saturday during the Night of the Stars race at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. Gates were set to open at 3 p.m., and the first race was scheduled for 5 p.m. Tickets cost $10.