“I learned from my own experience that when people go to an event — like a big race — they may know who won the race, but all the other stuff they don’t remember,” Smith once said, according to the statement. “I want to put something on so regardless who won the race, it will be a memorable experience. We’re here to entertain fans, and I want them to go home with a memory that will last forever.”
Smith was a key figure during NASCAR’s expansion in the 1990s as the sport began to transition away from a Southeast-driven sport to one with more of a national focus. He oversaw the creation of speedways in new markets such as Dallas-Fort Worth, and races at upgraded facilities spanning from Sonoma, California, and Las Vegas eastward to Loudon, New Hampshire, and Dover, Delaware, would often comprise a large bulk of NASCAR’s yearly schedule.
He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016 for his contributions to the sport.
Smith is survived by his four children and seven grandchildren.