Steve Smith, a National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee known by fans as ‘The Black Bandit,’ has died at the age of 74.
Born on Feb. 13, 1947 in Hialeah, Fla., Smith began his racing career by moving to Pennsylvania in the early 1960s. He enjoyed great success in Pennsylvania through the years, including at the track he called home, Lincoln Speedway.
From 1973 to 1978, Smith won six consecutive Lincoln Speedway sprint car championships. He added three more Lincoln championships in 1985, 1987 and 1991 to bring his career total to nine.
He also earned 150 sprint car victories at the Abbottstown, Pa., oval, with his last coming on May 4, 1996.
In addition to his success at Lincoln Speedway, he also earned multiple victories with touring series like the All Star Circuit of Champions and World of Outlaws. Smith scored 17 All Star Circuit of Champions triumphs as well as six World of Outlaws wins during his career.
His success in Pennsylvania wasn’t limited to Lincoln Speedway, with Smith taking top honors in the annual National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., three times. He earned 32 sprint car victories at Williams Grove in addition to the 1989 track championship.
Combined, Smith collected 259 feature victories at a variety of tracks including Lincoln, Williams Grove, Susquehanna Speedway Park (now BAPS Motor Speedway) and Hagerstown Speedway, among others.
Following his successful driving career, Smith stepped aside to help his son, Steve Smith during his racing endeavors.
The elder Smith was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2000. His son later joined him as a Hall of Fame inductee in 2019.