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NASCAR Cup: car owner Mark Smith passes away

No. 72 TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet of Cole Whitt on track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 in May (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

No. 72 TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet of Cole Whitt on track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 in May (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

TriStar Motorsports owner Mark Smith passed away at his home on July 22, 2017, after battling cancer. He was 63.

TriStar Motorsports fields the No. 72 entry of Cole Whitt in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the No. 14 of J.J. Yeley in the Xfinity Series.

“It was dad’s dream to own and operate a NASCAR team,” son Bryan Smith said. “He devoted his life to that dream, and his family plans to honor his wishes by continuing our efforts in his memory.”

Smith’s racing career began as an engine builder for his brother, drag racer Jack Smith. He later moved to North Carolina to embark on a NASCAR career as owner of Pro Motor Engines and TriStar Motorsports. Smith had a presence in NASCAR for nearly three decades.

“NASCAR extends its deepest condolences to the friends and family of Mark Smith,” a statement from NASCAR read. “For more than 30 years, Mark was a familiar and friendly face across all levels of NASCAR competition. He excelled as an engine builder, advancing from his roots in the K&N Pro Series to become two-time Engine Builder of the Year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Mark’s contribution to racing will not be forgotten, and he will be missed dearly.”

Smith-owned teams have combined for over 1,000 starts across the Cup and Xfinity series. Dick Trickle, Bobby Hamilton, Hermie Sadler, Jeff Green, Blake Koch, Erik McClure and Loy Allen Jr. are among the drivers who have driven for Smith. Smith was Camping World Truck Series engine Builder of the Year in the consecutive seasons of 2008 and 2009.

“Mark Smith gave me opportunity, stood w/ me in personal valleys, & shared some special moments. More than a good racer, he was a good man,” McClure (@EricMcClure) tweeted.

Son Bryan Smith has assumed the role of manager of the race team.

Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET Aug. 1 at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home in Mooresville, N.C. Messages of sympathy to the family may be made on a special Facebook page.

In lieu of flowers, the family has urged fans to express their sympathy in the form of donations to the Victory Junction Gang Camp or the National Organization for Vehicle Access.

According to a press release from TriStar Motorsports, survivors include wife Kathy; children Amy, Bryan and Kevin; mother Shirley Smith; brothers Jack Smith and Matt Smith; step-father Jack Gundlach; step-sister Suzanne Harsha; and step-brother Jack Gundlach.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (Facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (Facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on July 25, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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