Michelle Hoskin, December 24th, 2014
This week Dylan Smith from Stewart-Haas/Haas Automation took some time out to answer some questions for us. Dylan is known as ‘Black Mamba’ in the racing world. Hi Twitter account boasts, “Beast from the Northeast, Hot Wheeled it to Charlotte, Living life with the best hair in @Nascar #FearTheFade”…We sit down with Dylan to get the inside scoop on what it takes to be part of the Haas Automation Racing Team.
Q and A
Michelle: How did the nic-name Black Mamba come about?
Dylan (Black Mamba): “I went go-karting with a group of racers at Victory Lane Karting. You get to pick your “Racer Name” and I made mine Black Mamba. Well, nobody knew who that was and eventually Brandon McReynolds asked “Black Mamba, who’s that?” I said that’s me. He thought that it was awesome and then that next race Joey Logano stuffed me in the wall so deep they had to pry my go-kart out and everyone knew me by that name after that.”
Michelle: When did you start racing? Who/what got you started?
Black Mamba: “I started racing at 4, my dad bought me a go-kart after I told him how much I loved Thunder Road, which is my home racetrack.”
Michelle: Who do you race for?
Black Mamba: “I’m lucky enough to drive for Haas Automation, without them brining me into their family I wouldn’t have raced all year.”
Michelle: Your favorite track?
“It’s hard to name my favorite track. Langley Speedway in VA has a lot
of sentimental value to me. Thunder Road Speedbowl in VT is my home track, I love that place with all my heart. But to win at New Hampshire Speedway would be a dream come true.”
Michelle: Your favorite NASCAR driver?
Black Mamba: “Since 1999 Tony Stewart has been my drive. Now, to work for Stewart-Haas Racing and have a personal relationship with him is more than I could have ever asked for.”
Michelle: How many races a season?
Black Mamba: “This year we had 15 races. In 2015 we have 15 more, so for sure I’m hoping to get to 20 or more to get a good position in the Nascar Whelen All-American Series.”
Michelle: Who are some of your sponsors?
Black Mamba: “Our primary sponsor this year was Haas Automation. I was able to get help from Buzze Racing out off Mooresville, NC and Mansfield Heliflight from Vermont.”
Michelle: Your favorite activity outside of racing?
Black Mamba: “I was an athlete in high school so I have been playing in a Basketball and a kickball league. But honestly I love going to the karaoke bar and singing my little heart out.”
Michelle: Where did you place this past season?
Black Mamba: “This year we were as high as 38th in National Points before we stopped to build a new car for 2015.”
Dylan “Black Mamba” Smith
Michelle: Your thoughts on the NASCAR chase points system?
Black Mamba: “Even if I wasn’t a part of the championship effort that came from everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing, as a race fan it was the most nail biting, edge of your seat, hard nose racing since 2011. You had tempers from guys like Matt Kenseth flaring. We got to see raw emotion from guys like Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon. We got an underdog in Ryan Newman going all the way to the last round and nearly winning the cup. It was great for our fans which means it’s great for our sport.”
Michelle: Your thoughts on the fines NASCAR doled out during the last few race incidents?
Black Mamba: “For me NASCAR is the judge, jury, and for some executioner. Whether you like what they have to say it is what it is, and great teams fight through adversity.”
Black Mamba: “I am married to my craft. I’m really focused on being the best driver and person I can be. Since I live away from my parents, my family is my friends and co-workers at Stewart-Haas. I would do anything for any of them and I think they know that.”
Michelle: Your thoughts on being a ‘minority’ in the racing industry?
Black Mamba: “It’s awesome I see the sport differently because of it in a good way. I get a lot of looks my way but I think it has more to do with my haircut than anything. There is not that many people walking around with a high top fade, let alone ones in fire-suits. I feel like a wild-card in the sport; people don’t know how much I understand about stock car racing so when they get to know me I think I gain a lot of respect from them.”
Michelle: Where are you originally from?
Black Mamba: “I am a Haitian adopted kid, grew up in the small town of Randolph,VT.”
Michelle: What’s your favorite music?
Black Mamba: “I really enjoy Hip/Hop and music of all kinds, but I’ve recently been getting into 90’s music more and more again.”
Michelle: Your first job?
Black mamba: “My first real job was a summer janitor at my high school. I started 3 days after I graduated.”
Michelle: Anything else you would like to share in the article?
Black Mamba: “I would just like to give a quick shout-out to all my supporters we’re over 1,000 followers on all the social media outlets, which may not sound like a lot to most, but I lived in a town that only had 400 students in the school, it’s incredibly humbling to know that so many people care. I also want to thank Danny Johnson who put in all the hours with me this year for without getting paid a dime. It’s hard to find people like that anymore.”