DAYTON, Ohio – Marvin Smith, the 1978 and 1979 ARCA Menards Series driving champion, passed away Monday at Soin Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. He was 77.
Smith, whose 21 career ARCA Menards Series victories places him 10th all-time over the series’ 70 seasons, was a champion late model driver in the 1970s at Columbus Motor Speedway, Kil-Kare Raceway and Shady Bowl Speedway prior to his first ARCA start in 1978.
Driving orange No. 1 Riverside Auto Parts cars fielded by four-time ARCA car owner champion Jim Coyle, Smith won the championship in his rookie season of 1978 and repeated the following season.
Smith drove for Coyle from 1979-83, then drove cars owned by his brother, Carl Smith. Marvin Smith returned to Coyle in 1993-96 to bookend his ARCA career.
In 133 career series starts, Smith won 23 pole qualifying awards and recorded 65 top-five and 89 top-10 finishes. He had multiple victories at Flat Rock Speedway (six), Baer Field Raceway (three), Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway (two) and Winchester Speedway (two). He also had single event wins at Avilla Indiana, Columbus Motor Speedway, Corbin Kentucky, Illiana Speedway, Kil-Kare Raceway, Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Salem Speedway and Jeffersonville Sportsdrome.
Marvin was one of four brothers — including Carl, Larry and Mike Smith — from the Columbus area who raced in the ARCA Racing Series from the 1970s through the 1990s.
Carl Smith was a consistent winner in late model racing throughout Ohio prior to winning ARCA Racing Series races both as a crew chief and as a team owner.
Mike Smith fielded a team and crew chiefed cars driven by Larry Smith to fifth in ARCA Racing Series points in 1981 and eighth in 1982.
At one point in the 1990s, all four brothers combined their efforts and won with Marvin driving the Smith Brothers Racing No. 21 Chevrolet.
Private burial services will be at David’s Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.