Casey Smith has always been a contender everywhere he’s gone over the years but the Texas Super Late Model standout has taken his game to the next level this season, and is one start away from clinching his first career regional championship in the Southern Super Series on Saturday night.

Smith leads fellow veteran Donnie Wilson by 62 points entering the 150-lap SSS season finale on Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway. Pending the results of qualifying, which also pays championship points, Smith will likely only need to finish in the top-20 in the Deep South Crane 150 to clinch the crown.

Despite the comfortable margin for error, Smith says he isn’t taking the situation for granted but didn’t mask his excitement either.

“It’s been awhile since we won a championship,” Smith said. “We won some track championships in Texas and won the Mobile track championship this year but to close this out would be a dream come true,” Smith said. “Super Late Model racing is tough. And coming from Texas each week, we don’t get to test. All we get is practice so I feel like it says a lot about us that we’ve been this competitive.

“It’s like I said, this would be a dream come true. I really hope we can close this out because it would be special.”

Dating back to his time as a regular in the Texas based United States Racing Association, Smith has been a contender and a perennial winner. But his performance dipped somewhat from 2007-to-2010, something he attributes to the changes Hoosier made in its tire compounds.

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He also switched to a Port City Chassis in 2013 and Smith says it took a little bit of time to build a notebook on his new car.

“The switch to Port City has really been good for us,” Smith said. “Working with (Port City’s) Butch VanDoorn has really helped us. We’ve worked on the car several years now and the technology is constantly changing on us.

“So that has given us a few sleepless night but has allowed us to get better and better and now you’re really seeing the results of that work.”

Through 12 SSS races this season, Smith has posted two victories (100 lappers at Mobile and Montgomery), a 100 percent top-10 rate and nine top-5s. He’s also led 214 laps — second most in the tour behind Bubba Pollard.

Most impressive to Smith is that he’s been able to accomplish that feat in what he believes is the strongest Super Late Model tour in the county.

“The thing is, I believe the series is at least equivalent to CRA or the CARS Tour,” Smith said. “But really, you have to look at when Bubba or Donnie travels like they do and they’re the guys to beat. We have a diverse set of drivers that can get it done no matter where they go.

“I really feel like we have the strongest set of Super Late Models in the country.”

And assuming Smith closes out on Sunday night, winning the Southern Super Series championship will make a statement to the country that he is amongst the best of the best.

The Southern Super Series Championship Race is set for Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway. It will be the main event on the card that also features local racing. The entire event will be broadcast for FREE by

Southern Super Series championship standings

  1. Casey Smith Ldr.
  2. Donnie Wilson -62
  3. Casey Roderick -190
  4. Garrett Jones -203
  5. Kyle Grisson -231

It’s worth noting that a win pays 100 points. Up to 15 points can be accumulated in qualifying.