Smith set to get licensed in Dixon Top Fuel
Will Smith in Gainsville. (Will Smith Motorsports)
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – At the start of 2022, Will Smith took a leap of faith by pursuing his lifelong dream of racing a Top Fuel Dragster. Next month, that dream comes a little closer as Smith earns a rail driving license from Larry Dixon.
Smith made the difficult decision this season to step down from the Top Alcohol program he had piloted for four years. This training ground was the natural step before being fired at Top Fuel. “I knew I wanted to give it my all for this Top Fuel opportunity,” Smith explained. “Getting my license is an important thing to check my list on this trip. At this point, I’m more than ready and can’t wait for the Northern Nationals to get here.
Smith once again proved his driving prowess earlier this year at the Baby Gators when he signed a one-race deal with Samsel Racing and took the car into the winner’s circle without even testing before the event. . Although he will face a new animal in Martin, Michigan, he is ready.
“It’s something I’ve been working on for so long that it seems surreal that he’s here,” Smith continued. “It’s an amazing opportunity to license one of these machines, but I don’t plan on stopping there. I’m not afraid of hard work and, having piloted TAD, I’m ready for the next step.
Those who know Smith best are quick to note his tenacity and determination, but also his deep commitment to honoring the relationships that have helped him in his endeavors. As a marketing guru, Smith knows all the ins and outs of a successful team and isn’t shy about giving credit where it’s due.
“There are so many people who have walked alongside me to get this far, my family, AJ Ware, Dave, Kenny and Chiyo Hirata of Hirata Motorsports, Robin and Tony Samsel of Samsel’s Racing, Tommy and Judy Franklin, Tyler Crossnoe and all of the staff at PDRA and all of my marketing partners (past and current) and the many friends who have helped me along the way to get me here,” said Smith. “I am grateful to Larry Dixon for his partnership in securing the license next month. He’s one of the best in the business and a longtime friend. We come from similar backgrounds, so it’s great to talk to someone who’s walked the same path as you and been successful on the other end.
“I’ve known Will for a long time,” Dixon added. “He always asked me all the right questions and always aspired to move up to Top Fuel. With the time he’s been in the liquor class and the success he’s had, that’s the next step. of its process, and I look forward to being a part of it.
At the Aug. 5-6 event, Smith will need to complete three progressive passes and meet ET and speed parameters to meet licensing requirements.
“It’s an exciting time in my career,” Smith said. “I can’t say what the future holds, but the door is wide open after this.”