A Kansas Living Late Model Legend: The


by Dusty Wiegert 

47 years.

Some people have thoughts of a 20-year career in sports as being complete and successful. Even 30 sounds amazing. But after 47 years Wichita native Delbert "The Iceman" Smith is still on top of his game in the Late Model division in the year 2021.

All those years ago he got his start from watching his uncle, and then his brother, Lonnie, race. He then jumped behind the wheel and raced at 81 Speedway in Wichita, Kansas, and Fun Valley Speedway in Hutchinson, Kansas.

And through those 47 years the goal has always been the same. Win. No matter what. So much in fact that he or his race team hadn't compiled a list of wins, though it's thought to be easily over 300. Those include 20 National Championship Racing Association (NCRA) wins, 11 MidwestDirt Late Model Series (MDLMS) wins, 7 Topless Outlaw Racing Association (TORA) wins, 4 Colorado Late Model Association (CLMA) wins, 2 Midwest Late Model Racing Association (MLRA) wins, 2 Sooner Late Model Series wins, and 1 Western Dirt Racing Association (WDRA) win.

Along with all of those wins scattered around the central United States came Championships as well. Smith was the NCRA Champion in 2001 and co-Champion in 2018. He also scored the Championship with the MDLMS in 2011, and was track Champion in the Late Model division at Salina Speedway in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

His triumphs on big half miles is well documented, being a multiple time feature winner at the Belleville High Banks. At the Kansas State Fairgrounds half mile he has 4 Hutchinson Grand National Championships, those coming in 1985, 1993, and 2020 in the Late Model division as well as 1988 in the Modified division. He set a record with his win at the Nationals in 2020, being the longest a driver has waited to celebrate a title at the event, that being 27 years (1993-2020). He follows that up with 3 Kansas State Fair Championships, 1985 and 1996 in the Late Model and 1988 in the Modified.

A lot of his success can be attributed to his faithful pit crew and family, some of which have been with him most of those 47 years, and of course his sponsors. Those include Smith Racing Supply, FastShafts, Belleville Hometown Lumber, Friesen Performance, Sunoco Race Fuels, Aultra Race Wear, T. Moore Farms, 405 Performance Products, Logan's Landscape & Tree Service, Five Knuckle Race Wraps, BSB Manufacturing, Performance Bodies, CJR Technologies, Primal Premium Beef Jerky, HT Cattle Company, Abram Ready-Mix, Deatherage Opticians, Todd Plank, and Rocket Chassis.

And his winning isn't done just on the track. He has mentored several drivers along the way, most of which have now become contenders in the area. One of those is his son, Dan, who has kept the Smith name at the top of the charts, winning races and Championships as well.

For the future, The Iceman has no plans to slow down. With Dan taking up the reins in the Smith Racing stables Delbert may have had thoughts of retirement, but realized he wants to race and win as long as he can still get in the car.

47 years. Cold as ice, but still smokin'!