Friday, May 10, 2019

Under New Management - Smith All In at Mobile Speedway

Competition Director, now General Manager, Jason Smith addresses drivers during the driver's meeting at the regular season opener on March 30th, 2019 (Daniel Vining/PixelatedSPEED)

By: Daniel Vining, Twitter: @danielvining

IRVINGTON, Alabama (May 10, 2019) -- Just months after assuming the role of Competition Director, Gulfport, Mississippi’s Jason Smith is now the General Manager of Mobile International Speedway. Smith officially gained control to the keys to the speedway on Friday afternoon after coming to an agreement with the previous promoter, Charlie Lyons and speedway owner Ida Hatfield.

Mobile Speedway issued a statement on their official Facebook Page on Friday night:

Mobile International Speedway is proud to announce new management!
Race Director, Jason Smith, which was a long time local racer has stepped up to the plate to take over operations at the Speedway!
The track will run the current schedule as originally advertised for the remainder of 2019.
This is a long term deal which will give the Speedway the stability that the racers of MIS deserve.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to be the promoter at such an iconic speedway with a very rich history! Although this deal has only recently materialized, I feel like this has been in the making all the way back to my childhood when my father started racing at MIS in 1981." - Jason Smith

Smith served as Mobile’s Technical Director after a failed attempt at purchasing the speedway led him to hooking up with the Lyons family, who brought racing back to Mobile in 2018 and were managing the speedway in the 2019 season until this new agreement was reached.

“I was putting together a deal to purchase MIS with an investor, but it fell apart,” said Smith in February. Then the Lyons came in and put a deal together themselves. Shortly thereafter, they asked Dave Mader for my number. We sat down and talked about what was going on at Mobile, and wanted to know if I wanted to still be a part of it and work for them.”

“I told them I’d gladly do it,” he continued. “I wanted to be a part of what was going on at Mobile because it was important to me that it didn’t become a dirt pit. From there, I worked all of 2018 as the Technical Director at Mobile International Speedway.”

Fast forward to May 2019 and Smith finds himself all in for this run at managing Mobile Speedway after pulling together every resource he could in order to see this deal come together.

“I’ve got everything in this… I’m all in and all the chips are on the table,” said Smith.

Smith has a tough road ahead after Mobile Speedway’s return to racing last year left the track digging itself out of a bit of a hole to start the 2019 racing season.

The year started on a tremendous note with a sellout crowd for the Bandit Big Rig Series’ visit followed up with an equally strong regular season opening night.

Even with the strong start, the issues from 2018 have continued to seep into this season, making moving forward a challenge.

Smith told PixelatedSPEED that it’s a challenge he is up for taking… noting that he made many observations during the beginning of the season that as an employee he had less control over but now as the General Manager, he can affect the changes needed in order to improve results in all areas of the speedway.

He added that he is looking forward to getting the speedway back on track with its goal of moving forward.

“I have a long term deal here,” he said. “I look forward to seeing old faces back at MIS that we haven't seen in awhile.”

For at least the time being, Smith will pull “double-duty”, continuing to serve as the speedway’s Competition Director in addition to his new role as General Manager. He said he may hire a new Competition Director next year.

Smith will continue to focus on the local divisions at Mobile, which returns to competition on May 18th. He reemphasized the sentiment from his February announcement as Competition Director.

“Whether its trucks, outlaws, sportsman, whatever, if you come and see the local guys race, they’ll put on a show and I think you’ll be happy. Some of the best shows we had in 2018 as far as just good door-to-door racing come from our local divisions. We had better racing in the locals than in many of the late model shows. I know the local teams are dedicated to putting on a show if people just show up to watch them.”

Following the May 18th show, Mobile Speedway welcomes the Southern Pro Am Truck Series as they visit Irvington for the first time. That night will also feature Sportsman and Pure Stocks.

Then the speedway hits the heart of the summer with seven weekends of local division racing leading up to the season championship on September 7th.

The year will close out with the Mobile 300 weekend on November 1st - 2nd.

PixelatedSPEED is a motorsports news and views website covering all things racing and has been “Bringing Pixels 2 Pavement Since 2018”. If you've made it this far into the post, thank you. Please consider sharing this content on the interwebs and following PixelatedSPEED on Facebook and Twitter and joining in on the conversation. & 

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