(born September 29, 1949 in Chelsea
) is a retired NASCAR
driver and dirt-track racer.
At the 1993 DieHard 500
, Smith nearly died from a basilar skull fracture
in a massive crash—the same type of injury that later killed fellow Alabama native Neil Bonnett
and NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt
, Smith was fortunate to recover from the injury. The crash is better known for fellow competitor Jimmy Horton
flipping over the wall and rolling down the embankment outside the track.
The multi-car crash happened on lap 69 when Smith clipped Horton's car. Horton then hit three other cars before launching over the wall, ending up completely outside the track. In that crash, Smith hit the wall almost head-on and required medical attention. As a result of this and possibly other wrecks, Talladega installed "catch fencing" along the entire track, not just where spectator stands were present. Another effect of the crash is roof flaps
on NASCAR cars. He would never race in another NASCAR race again. Smith also drove in the Busch Grand National Series
, only racing four times from 1991 to 1992.
Incidentally, in his first start at the 1990 DieHard 500
at the same track, Smith was involved in a pit road mishap when he lost control of his car and hit several crew members for Tracy Leslie
's team. No one was seriously injured.