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TriStar Motorsports Owner Mark Smith Dies at 63

TriStar Motorsports and Pro Motor Engines owner Mark Smith passed away at the age of 63 on July 22 after a long and private battle with cancer.

Smith was an owner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series for more than three decades, but was better known for his engine building. He started out building engines for his brother, Jack, on the drag racing side of things in the 1970s.

The team released a statement on Monday evening to announce Smith’s passing. The news comes one day after driver Cole Whitt, who pilots the No. 72 TriStar Motorsports entry, placed 12th in the Brickyard 400, the best finish of the team’s season.

In over 12 seasons in Cup, Smith had 217 MENCS starts on his resume with a best finish of sixth (twice with Bobby Hamilton Sr. in 1991 at Rockingham Speedway and 1993 at Talladega with Greg Sacks). Smith also scored three poles as an owner in the Cup Series with his PME engines under the hood, all with driver Loy Allen Jr. in 1994, including the Daytona 500.

PME engines also claimed three Camping World Truck Series championships, including back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004 with Travis Kvapil and Hamilton, respectively.

NASCAR also released a statement Monday evening regarding Smith’s passing.

“NASCAR extends its deepest condolences to the friends and family of Mark Smith,” a NASCAR statement said via Catchfence.com. “For more than 30 years, Mark was a familiar and friendly face across all levels of NASCAR competition. He excelled as an engine builder, advancing from his roots in the K&N Pro Series to become two-time engine builder of the year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“He also was an integral team owner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series, with over 1,000 career starts across both series. Mark’s contribution to racing will not be forgotten, and he will be missed dearly.”

Bryan Smith, Mark’s son, will continue to run the team and PME. TriStar owns the No. 14 XFINITY Series entry driven by JJ Yeley, along with Whitt’s No. 72 Cup car.

“It was dad’s dream to own and operate a NASCAR team,” the younger Smith said in a team release. “He devoted his life to that dream and his family plans to honor his wishes by continuing our efforts in his memory.”

About the author

Davey is in his fifth season with Frontstretch and currently serves as a multimedia editor and reporter. He authors the "NASCAR Mailbox" column, spearheads the site's video content and hosts the Frontstretch Podcast weekly. He's covered the K&N Pro Series and ARCA extensively for NASCAR.com and currently serves as an associate producer for SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and production assistant for NBC Sports Washington. Follow him on Twitter @DaveyCenter.

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