One of the surprise entries for Saturday night’s CARS Super Late Model Tour race at Hickory Motor Speedway was Dylan “Mamba” Smith, who will compete for the first time since 2018.

Smith, 28, has not been in a car since attempting a race at Five Flags Speedway in December 2018.  Now, the driver who goes by the nickname “Black Mamba” is excited about getting back in the car in a deal that’s both been in the works for a long time but also came together quickly.

“It’s been a minute,” Smith told Race22.  “Man, there’s really no words for it.  It’s hard in this day and age to find funding to race and that’s before COVID.  To be able to race during COVID is a blessing in itself for so many reasons.  I just feel so lucky for the opportunity to get to go do it so I’m stoked.”

Smith will race for Mark Reedy and Reedy Racing on Saturday night in the 125-lap Super Late Model portion of the Catawba Valley 250.  Smith and Reedy had been in talks since last November, but the coronavirus pandemic that has crushed the United States economy halted those plans until recently.

“Me and Mark Reedy have been talking for a while about putting something together,” Smith explained.  “He’s a racer.  He just wants to go race and compete, and I want the same thing, so we really tried to hit it off on that.  We were working on some sponsorship stuff and COVID happened and squashed all of it, so that kind of sucked.  Then, he came to me about running this race and how much it would cost and luckily, with some of the things I’ve been doing with RacingFanZone.com and Experiential Events Group, working with those places has opened some doors.  The Moyer family, they own some businesses and they came together with three of them and put them on the car, so it’s been really cool.  Got some help from other parties as well.”

Smith has competed in Late Model Stock Cars as well as in Pro Late Models and in the American Canadian Tour (ACT) but has never raced in a Super Late Model or in the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour.  He’s hoping to make a splash on Saturday and score a win in his first-ever CARS Super Late Model Tour start.

“I think we have a good car,” Smith said.  “If we put ourselves in position, we’ll have a chance at it.  We don’t go to the racetrack to not try to win.  There are a lot of variables into winning so just putting ourselves in a position to win is the most important thing.”

Despite racing off and on throughout the years, and winning some heat races, Smith has never scored a feature win in a Late Model car.  If he were to do so on Saturday, he says there would definitely be a party in the Catawba valley.

“Oh man, somebody better drive me home because it’s going to be a party,” Smith stated.  “It would mean the world.  It would mean everything.  I moved down here from Vermont to drive racecars and to finally be able to put one in the win column in NASCAR country would mean everything.”

Smith has previously participated in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and won Rookie of the Year honors at Thunder Road Speedbowl in 2009.

Saturday’s Catawba Valley 250 will commence at 7pm at Hickory Motor Speedway.  The event will be broadcast live on the CARS Tour TV subscription streaming service.