The July 15 races at Perris Auto Speedway included main event wins by the daughter and father combination of Alyssa and Tom Smith.
Alyssa Smith finished first in that night’s Factory Stocks feature. Tom Smith won the Super Stocks main event.
“It was really amazing to be able to win the same night as him,” Alyssa Smith said.
“It’s fabulous. It doesn’t get any better than that,” Tom Smith said. “For that to happen in one night is really satisfying.”
Tom Smith’s father, Steve Smith, raced Street Stocks at the Ascot track in Gardena which closed after the 1990 season and also raced at the Speedway 605 track in Irwindale and the Orange Show track in San Bernardino. Alyssa Smith’s other grandfather, Steve McCain, raced Street Stocks at Perris and at Ascot. Alyssa Smith’s mother, Amanda, was raised in Lake Elsinore and attended Temescal Canyon High School. Tom Smith and Amanda McCain met at the Orange Show track. Alyssa Smith was born May 28, 2002, and was two weeks old when she attended her first auto race.
Alyssa Smith was seven when she began racing dirt bikes on a track in the City of Industry and made her four-wheel driving debut in the mini-sprints at the Victorville track when she was 10. “I was all for it,” Tom Smith said.
Alyssa Smith drives a 1974 Camaro at Perris. Tom Smith acquired the car and is also his daughter’s crew chief. “It’s always been a family deal. We all enjoy it and it works out well,” Tom Smith said.
Tom Smith, who is now 42, began racing at the age of eight when he competed in go-karts at Ascot. He was 15 when he began racing stock cars at Orange Show. He has also driven in Figure 8 races at Irwindale Speedway, and he has raced Street Stock and Figure 8 cars at Perris in the past.
Alyssa Smith made her Perris Auto Speedway driving debut as a 13-year-old during the track’s Winter Challenge Series. The Winter Challenge Series, which encourages drivers from other tracks to race at Perris, does not have track-specific rules but rather allows a car which is legal on its own home track to race at Perris. The absence of track-specific rules also eliminated the Perris minimum driver age of 14 for the Winter Challenge Series.
The track waived the minimum age for Smith for the start of the 2016 regular season, and March 12, 2016, she made her debut in the regular-season Factory Stocks series. Smith won that night’s race and finished third in the final season standings.
“For me to watch her win is better than winning myself,” Tom Smith said.
Until July 15 Tom and Alyssa Smith had not won main events on the same night. Not only did the father and daughter both win main events July 15, but they also both won their heat races that evening. “The night started off good,” Tom Smith said.
The heat races were six laps. “It was a really good race and the track was really smooth and I just found the right line to run,” Alyssa Smith said.
The main events were both 20 laps on the half-mile dirt oval. The Factory Stocks feature was first and Alyssa Smith began on the inside of the second row. Lake Elsinore driver James Altman started on the pole and took the initial lead, allowing Smith to be in second place. Smith took the lead in the second lap when Altman spun out.
“I held my line and I got the win,” Smith said.
Altman was able to maintain second place and was in that position when the checkered flag was thrown.
Tom Smith began the Super Stocks main event on the outside of the second row. He took the lead on the sixth lap. “The track was really dry slick and you had to definitely use your patience and you were your own worst enemy,” he said.
Smith was able to maintain the lead for the rest of the race. “I kind of stayed on the bottom,” he said. “I was patient and cautious at the same time and just drove a smooth race without making any mistakes.”
Smith encountered some lapped traffic in his final laps. “We got through them pretty easy,” he said.
Billy Griffin was the second-place finisher.
“It was a good night for both of us,” Alyssa Smith said. “It was overall an amazing night.”