Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Genna's Interview with Z and Moses Smith

A couple of months ago, I met a very neat lady through a friend of mine on Twitter. She goes simply by the name of Z. Her son is Moses Smith, driver of the number 16 HASA Toyota in the NASCAR Camping World West Series. Took me a while to think of it, but I finally asked Z if she and Moses would grant me an interview.

Let me first say, Z and Moses, I really appreciate that you both took the time to answer mine and a couple of fan’s questions. You guys are awesome.


What is the best and worst part of being on a racing circuit?

Well, if we are comparing it to driving on the highway, the best part is that everyone on the track is there doing the same thing, and concentrating 100%. This makes things much more predictable. The worst part...I don't know I have never thought about it...Probably have to be that there is no Air Conditioning in the racecar, and it can sometimes reach temperatures in excess of 140 degrees F.

What got you started in racing?

My dad used to work on Off Road Trucks, so I got to go to races all the time. But my dad did it as a hobby, and I thought it would be cool if I could it for a living. My dad taught me how to drive the "PreRunner" when I was 10 years old...I couldn't push the clutch in and shift at the same time, so dad had to help.

What kind of sacrifices have you had to make to continue living this dream?

Sacrifices...what sacrifices...I am living the dream. Actually the only real difference is that there is not a lot of security in my line of work, therefore I have had to be very conservative in the way I live...nothing to extravagant, not to many vacations either.

*Submitted by Naomi* Has any part of your body ever gone numb while driving?

Just my realize real quick if your seat is not mounted correctly, or there isn't enough padding...haha...

*Submitted by Aaron* What are your prospects for moving into the Big 3 in NASCAR?

Well, it really comes down to sponsorship. HASA and I have talked about doing some Truck or Nationwide races when they come to the west, to basically get my face out there. But that is a big step financially, I would definitely need to find some additional funding. I am keeping my fingers crossed.


So I know you go to all of Moses' races. How does that affect your life?

Well it makes me very very busy; but I must say that the affect has always been a positive one. Traveling to the races can be grueling. Sometimes we have three races in a month. nevertheless, I love NASCAR, I love racing, and I really adore my two sons.

It can be tough getting to the track at six in the morning and not leaving until after midnight, but the rewards are well worth it. I cherish the feeling of accomplishment I harvest from being part of the team, part of the racing community. Every achievement Moses reaches on the track is considered a team triumph. The team was delighted when Moses finished second at the NASCAR Camping World Series West season opener on March 14th. The activity does not stop on race weekend. I do a lot of my son's PR stuff also. I am in charge of his website, help process his hero card request, help with press releases and author my own blog NASCAR Race Mom. Like I said upfront, racing keeps me very busy!

You seem like a very supportive and dedicated mother. When you go to a race, how do you look at things as a driver's mother and as a race fan?

That is a very interesting question. In the beginning I approached my role more as a protective mother. Moses was on a 'pit crew' by the time he was three. He and his father would work long hours for Off-Road racer Malcolm Vinje. Moses started competing in organized go kart races at the age of twelve. Right off, I was struck by the level of competitiveness out there at the go kart track. I felt it was my role to level Moses' playing field, so to speak, by making sure everything was on the up and up. However, Moses has been on his own since he was eighteen. He has not only progressed as a driver, but as an astute businessman as well. He no longer needs his mother to protect him. So while I will always be a driver's mother when I am at the track, I do not mother him at the track.

It is hard for me to be a race fan when Moses is racing, because honestly, I never watch the race, I keep my eyes on Moses. I become the race fan when I watch a race that Moses is not participating in.

Is it hard knowing that when he climbs into the car he might not climb out?

Your choice of the word car (instead of race car) is very insightful. My thought on the matter is that Moses is probably safer in his #16 Hasa Pool Products/White Flyer Toyota Camry on the track than most of us are on the freeway in our family vehicles.

That is not to say that I do not worry. As a mom, I worry about my sons all the time. They still have to call me and let me know they made it home safe after a trip. However, I feel much better having Moses in NASCAR. It is nothing like Moses' Star Mazda Formula Mazda series races. Open Wheel racing can create some wicked crashes.

What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make to support Moses' career?

We are a working class family with modest means. So we have never been able to support Moses' racing financially. Even in the very beginning, Moses had to race with used equipment and on a tight budget. I personally feel it made him a both a better person and better driver. He knows how to race what he has - good or bad.

I really cannot think of any sacrifices I have had to make. My husband and I have always enjoyed watching Moses work towards his goals. While we have not made 'sacrifices' Moses has. He puts his all into his craft and has forgone a lot of the luxuries in life to pursue his profession
in auto racing.

story and photos originally posted on NASCAR in my own words

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