It’ll be hard to blame Wayne Smith if he’s seeing dollar signs as he circles the track at Scotia Speedworld on Saturday.
The Timberlea stock-car racer — known locally as the Oval Outlaw — can move one step closer to earning an eye-popping $50,000 bonus from the Carquest Pro Stock Tour at this weekend’s Atlantic CAT 250 just outside Halifax.
The bonus is part of the tour’s new Triple Crown series, and Smith is a third of the way there after winning last month’s IWK 250 over NASCAR stars such as Regan Smith.
“I’d probably take the winter off work,” joked Smith, of what he’d do if he can reel in the big prize. “That’d definitely help pay the bills. You spend a lot of money out of your pocket (on racing), money you don’t realize you’ve spent.”
Smith is the defending Carquest champion and has a record five Maritime titles during his lengthy career. He figures he barely breaks even on most weekends, averaging less than $1,000 in earnings despite his frequent top finishes.
That said, winning the tour title last summer — a $10,000 prize — was a big boost. But it puts in perspective what a $50,000 bonus would mean for any driver on the tour.
“It’s a good deal, it’s big money, and it’s good that one of the locals is in contention,” Smith said. “If one of the Americans had won (the IWK 250), they wouldn’t have been back so the hype for this race wouldn’t have been here.”
Smith’s victory at the IWK 250 was his only checkered flag of the summer. He is fourth on the tour and just 16 points off the lead with three points races remaining.
But with only show points up for grabs at the Atlantic CAT 250, this weekend is all about chasing the big money.
“It’d be nice to win, but that $50,000 ain’t nothin’ ’til you win this weekend,” Smith said cautiously. “You have to win this weekend before it’s something to talk about.”
The final Triple Crown race is the Peterbilt 250, scheduled for Sept. 6 at Speedway 660 in Geary, N.B.