Marvin Smith: Remembering A Legend
By Ben Deatherage
(Photo Courtesy of Madman Photography)
Of all the drivers to grace the Cottage Grove Speedway one of the most popular pilots was Marvin Smith. Marvin not only was well liked but he was also a very skilled driver. In his career he would achieve four championships at the Cottage Grove Speedway including the 1990, 1992, and 2005 seasons in the 360 Sprint division and the 2006 Limited Sprint title. He was also the 1990 Coors Silver Bullet Series champion which was a series that toured exclusively in just the state of Oregon.
Following in the footsteps of his father Lowell, who was also a flagger at Cottage Grove Speedway for a period of time, Marvin started his career sharing a car with his brother Dale. Starting in the Stock Car ranks Marvin eventually would get involved with the Sprint Cars in the 1980’s and travel across the Western United States, including running with the Northern Sprint Tour, to some of the biggest races in the country.
Marvin also had the role of car owner on a couple of occasions. He would get involved in Kage Kart racing by purchasing his daughter Kim an entry. In later years Marvin would have his brother Dale drive his Sprint Car. In 2013 he, along with his brother Dale, were inducted into the Cottage Grove Speedway Wall of Fame.
Throughout his career Smith would win a total of sixty-nine features which is second on the all-time win list of the modern era. On July 7th, 2006 he would pull off a rare feat by not only winning the Limited Sprint feature but also the 360 Sprint main event. The final time Marvin would race would be at the Cottage Grove Speedway on July 7th, 2012 for the Scott Bangle Memorial in tribute to his long-time crewman who passed away that year.
Throughout much of his career he would have his loyal pit crew standing by him and giving him the best car they could prepare so Marvin could win. In return Marvin never forgot to mention his pit crew members one by one either in victory lane interviews or postseason banquet speeches.
Don’t miss the Marvin Smith Memorial Grove Classic this Friday May 29th and Saturday the 30th at the Cottage Grove Speedway. 360 Sprints, Late Models, and Vintage Cars will be racing all weekend while the IMCA Modifieds are Saturday only. Both days the Pit Gates will open at 2:00 PM, Front Gates open at 4:00, and racing starts at 6:45. Tickets for each night are Adults $13.00, Seniors/Military/Juniors (13-18) $10.00, Youths (Ages 12-6) $5.00, and Children under the age of 5 are FREE. For more information log on to www.cottagegrovespeedway.com.