Jack Smith (American racing driver)

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Jack Smith (May 24, 1924 in Metropolis, Illinois – October 17, 2001 in Spartanburg, South Carolina) was an American stock car racer. He raced in the very first NASCAR race ever in 1949, and is a member of the NMPA Hall of Fame in Darlington, South Carolina.

Jack Smith
Born(1924-05-24)May 24, 1924
Metropolis, Illinois
DiedOctober 17, 2001(2001-10-17) (aged 77)
Cause of deathCongestive heart failure
AwardsInducted in the National Motorsports Press Hall of Fame

Inducted in the Daytona Beach Hall of Fame 1959 NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Award

Inducted in the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in 2002
NASCAR Cup Series career
264 races run over 15 years
Best finish4th (1962)
First race1949 Race No. 1 (Charlotte)
Last race1964 Sunshine 200 (Savannah)
First win1956 Old Dominion 400 (Martinsville)
Last win1962 untitled race (New Ashville)
Wins Top tens Poles
21 142 23


Smith moved to Georgia when he was two years old. He worked at a service station in the 1940s near Roswell. He began racing against local bootleggers on rough dirt tracks and asphalt superspeedways, and across fields. He began racing in 1947 after building a car.[1]

He made his debut in NASCAR's first race in 1949 at the Charlotte Speedway and finished 13th. He is remembered for flipping his car five times and rolling into the parking lot at a 1958 race at Darlington.[1] He won the NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Award in 1959; although he tied Junior Johnson in the initial voting, a second ballot was opened that Smith won.[2] He went to win 21 races over the next 14 years.

In 1960, he and team owner Bud Moore became the first to communicate via two-way radio.[1]

He died from congestive heart failure in 2001.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Winston, Chris (October 19, 2001). "Local racing legend dies JACK SMITH: Hall of Famer won 21 NASCAR races Smith's 21 wins rank 24th all-time". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  2. ^ "Jack Smith NASCAR's Most Popular Driver". Johnson City Press. AP. January 19, 1959. Retrieved January 17, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.

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