On a picturesque Saturday afternoon, hundreds of fans flooded the front stretch of the Orange County Speedway for a pit party — and a wedding.
This was no ordinary wedding, and the day was not filled with your normal pre-wedding jitters.
The smell of burnt rubber, sweet-smelling 110 octane racing fuel, and fried funnel cake filled the air.
Track announcer and Providence Baptist Church Preacher, the Rev. Dennis McDonald, performed the short heartfelt ceremony on May 23 as Street Stock driver Michael Smith and Cecilia Jones married at Orange County Speedway.
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Smith, geared up in his brand new, fire-resistant driving suit, had his 11-year-old son Kristopher by his side. His bride Cecila, smiling in OCS victory lane, held a bouquet of flowers.
After saying their vows, the couple were given their first ride as a married couple by Reidsville’s very own 72-year-old legendary local short track racer James Turner. Notorious for his burnouts and showmanship,Turner wheeled Smith’s No. 25 machine around the track, while the couple sat at the passenger side window, waiving to the crowd.
Just a little over a month before on April 11, 2015 Smith was involved in an early practice crash. The crash would leave Smith unharmed, but only able to complete in six of the scheduled 25 laps of the season’s first race.
That was still on the mind of the bride to be hours before the wedding.
“I was nervous knowing he was practicing before the wedding,” Jones said, “But I knew God had Michael. It’s what Michael loves do.”
Smith would race on his wedding night and finish seventh.
When asked about their choice of venue for the wedding Cecilia responded, “Both of us grew up around racing and love it. I remember watching racing with my dad since I was young and Michael’s dad is a racer.”
Smith, a Cedar Grove resident works for the Orange County school system and has been racing off and on at OCS for nearly 12 years. He gained his first ever career win last year in the Second Annual Pergerson/Bowen race. After finishing fifth in the 2014 points race, he is currently sitting sixth in the Street Stock division.
When asked about his goals for the 2015 season Smith laughingly stated, “My main goal is to just finish a race this year. I race for fun. It’s kinda in your blood. It’s like my dad says ‘Once it gets in your blood. It doesn’t get out, and there is no cure.”
If it weren’t for sponsors like CC Enchanted Trinkets, Gibbs welding, Mincey’s Graphics and Smith’s Body Shop, he wouldn’t be able to race. Smith is also searching for additional sponsorship for the 2015 season.
The next race at OCS will be Saturday, June 13, for Kids Ride-Along Night. Children will have the opportunity to come out to the race track and take a pace lap with their favorite driver. The night will also include Late Models, twin Limited Late Model races, Pure Stocks, Street Stocks, Super Mini Trucks, Legends, and vintage Sportsman. Qualifying is scheduled to start at 5:40 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m.
General Admission tickets for regular OCS races are $10. Tickets for Senior Citizens 65 and older are $8 with I.D . Fans with military, university, fire department or law enforcement I.D. can also gain admission for $8. Kids 10 and under are only $1. There will also be a limited number of VIP seats located above the Turn Four Tavern and in the main tower are available for $20 per seat.