When Casey Smith laid claim to the prestigious Southern Super Series championship in 2015, it was the culmination of a long and storied career of Southeastern Late Model racing. Both the bullrings of Texas to the most famous short tracks in America, Smith has been winning races and fans alike in his famous #99 for the last fifteen years.

Starting his Late Model career at the young age of fifteen, Smith ran with the ROMCO Series for a number of years, competing well at famous historic tracks in the Lone Star State such as Houston Motorsports Park, Corpus Christi Speedway, and Central Texas Speedway. In the summer of 2001, at the age of just 16 years, 1 month, and 26 days, Smith won his first career Late Model race in a 125-lap duel at Central Texas.

In 2002, Smith and his family owned team decided to move up the ranks to the ASA Racing Series, one of the most famous racing circuits in the country, following in the footsteps of all time short track greats like Rusty Wallace, Dick Trickle, and Johnny Benson. The ASA circuit would take Smith to new venues steeped in racing tradition – I-70 Speedway, Toledo Speedway, the Milwaukee Mile, and the Nashville Fairgrounds.

After a learning year in 2002, Smith stepped up his game in 2003, earning his first career ASA podium finish at Lanier Speedway with a third place run. He would duplicate the feat in 2004, with that year’s 3rd place Lanier run highlighting a six top-ten finish season that left him knocking on the top-ten in the overall year-end points. Another highlight during this run was a 3rd place finish in America’s toughest late model race, the Snowball Derby.

However, before Smith got the chance to break through for his first ASA victory, the ASA circuit folded in early 2005. Smith took the opportunity to scale back his racing operation and, instead of going through the grind of following a touring series around the country, focus solely on a handful of races he knew he could compete well in.

It was an excellent decision. In 2005, he scored three podium finishes in just a handful of ROMCO starts and would tack on two victories on the ROMCO circuit. Despite missing a race during that season, Smith would finish third in points.

In 2007, Smith elected to try his hand at the new Viper Super Late Model Series running exclusively out of South Alabama Speedway. It would lead to the most impressive accomplishment of Smith’s career at the time as he logged victories in all four races of the mini-series despite going against top short track talents from around the country. He provided it was no fluke in 2008, winning two more races and repeating as Viper champion.

Unfortunately for Smith (and maybe luckily for his competition), South Alabama officials elected to fold the Super Late Model Viper Series at the end of the 2008 season. Smith’s answer was to move further east and focus his efforts on the handful of SLM races held year at Five Flags Speedway – home of the Snowball Derby – and Mobile International Speedway. He ran very well between those two tracks though he would not crack victory lane at either until the 2015 SSS championship season. Between 2009 and 2014, Smith earned 14 top-five and 28 top-ten finishes in 40 Super Late Model appearances at those tracks.

Bolstered by his improving fortunes in the Five Flags and Pensacola races against the Southern Super Series foes, Smith jumped over to the series for his first full season in 2015. He finally grabbed his first Mobile victory in a wire-to-wire triumph in May and then earned his first career victory at Montgomery Motor Speedway in the heat of the summer with another dominant performance. When Smith was not winning during the 2015 SSS season, he was being very consistent. He would finish each and every race in the top-ten and cruised to a convincing and well-deserved championship by season’s end.