IS PERRIS RACER ALYSSA SMITH UP TOO DURING
By Scott Daloisio
(Perris, CA, May 12, 2020)
Round #4 of interviews with
Perris Auto Speedway racers about what
they are doing during the coronavirus is
on the “Hot Rod Blonde,” Alyssa Smith.
When it comes to being affected by the
unexpected crisis, perhaps no PAS racer
has been more affected than her. Not only
has she been unable to race, but she is a
high school senior, and all her senior
activities, except for graduation
ceremonies, have been canceled. Despite
that, the effervescent teen has had more
than enough to keep her occupied.
Let’s start with the most obvious
question. What have you been up to?
Well, it sucks, but I have been trying to
stay as busy as possible and I have been.
My family has gone to the desert quite a
few times to go dirt bike riding. My
parents are still letting me go see
friends. So, I am still able to hang out
with my close friends. I have gone to the
beach a couple of times. The biggest thing
is I got a new puppy. That has definitely
kept me busy lately.
The pup was one of my later questions, but
since you brought it up, let’s talk about
her now. She was a graduation present from
your parents, correct? What kind of pup is
Smith: She was a graduation and
birthday present combined into one from my
parents. Since I was little, I always
wanted a Golden Retriever puppy and now I
finally have one. I thought now would be a
good time since we would be staying home a
lot. It is a lot more work than I thought.
I am having fun with her.
How old is she and what is her name?
We got her when she was eight weeks and
she is now nine weeks old. Her name is
Bristol. I always said when I get my
Golden Retriever, I wanted to name her
Bristol. Of course, it is after the
racetrack (Bristol International Raceway
in Tennessee) and I love the name.
This was going to be a great year for you.
High school graduation and all the
festivities that go with that and stepping
up a class to the IMCA Modifieds on the
racetrack. When you first heard about the
coronavirus, in your wildest dreams could
you ever imagine that it would affect you
as much as it has?
I definitely did not think it would get
this bad. Like you said, this was
definitely my year as so much in my life
was supposed to happen. When they first
said this is going down, I did not really
take it seriously and I did not think it
was going to stop the whole world. I did
not think it would stop racing and on top
of it hurt my schooling and everything
that went with it. My last day of school,
I did not even know it (that it was going
to be her last day of school). I was in
fifth period and they said we were going
to be off for two weeks. That two weeks
got pushed back to four weeks, then six
weeks and then they finally canceled the
school year. Now all of the events are
canceled, and it is unknown about
graduation. I definitely did not think it
would end this way.
Are they going to reschedule the senior
events that you have had to miss?
As far as events like prom, senior dinner
dance, and grad night, all of that is 100%
canceled and there is no going back.
Graduation? They keep saying they have a
meeting this week and then they say we
have nothing. As of right now, they are
saying they are pushing hard to have a
graduation in like August or something,
but it is still unknown, and they are not
letting us know. I don’t even think they
The PAS: How hard is it to have
those things taken away from you?
Smith: Honestly at first, I was trying to
stay strong with it like, whatever. The
more I have been thinking about it and the
more that stuff has been getting canceled,
it is definitely hitting harder than I
thought it would. I never could have
imagined that this could happen. It is
The PAS: Did you get the senior
sign to put on the front lawn?
I actually did not get one, but people are
Your senior pictures are very cool. You in
your cap and gown at the racetrack with
your car. Tell us about them and how it
Honestly, I always wanted to do something
with racing in my graduation pictures. It
kind of came out from me and my family
thinking about it. I have seen people out
there who have done it, but I have not
seen anybody I know do it. My mom got in
contact with the track (Perris Auto
Speedway) and they let me come and take
pictures there. We looked up some other
sports to get ideas.
PAS: I have got to tell you. They
are the best graduation pictures I have
Thank you! Racing definitely is the
biggest part of my life so, of course, I
had to put it in there.
You have raced motorcycles, speedway
sprints, factory stocks, and street
stocks. This year you are jumping up to an
IMCA Modified. Have you been able to drive
I practiced two times at Perris and got to
practice one time at Ventura. Those are
the only times I have gotten to drive my
car. I was definitely looking forward to
it. Moving up to modifieds has been one of
my dreams since I started racing. When I
was a little girl, I used to watch my dad
race a modified. It has always been
something that I have wanted to do. This
is the year I was going to be able to do
it and on top of that, I would have been
racing with my dad. Definitely, a big year
that has kind of gotten ruined.
How hard was it convincing your mom to let
you move up to a modified?
It was kind of tough. Still to this day
she is not sure about it. She is like, “I
don’t want to have family problems with
you guys racing against each other.” She
knows that one day I would eventually move
up, so she thinks starting me younger will
benefit me in the end. She knows that is
my passion and that is what I like to do.
She is okay with it.
In those three times in the car, what is
the biggest difference you have noticed
between the street stock and the modified?
It is a lot different. Everyone told me it
is different, but I was like, “I can do
it, I can do it.” Once you finally get in
the car it is 100% different. The way the
car stands up, the power is way faster. I
have not been in my first race yet
(modifieds) and I know the drivers in
modifieds are 100 times better and have
way more experience. It is definitely
going to be a struggle moving up, but I am
excited to start it.
Earlier you mentioned that you would be
racing against your dad. How does he feel
about racing against you?
He has not said a lot, but I know he has
always wanted to race with me. I am
excited. Me and my dad are excited to be
on the track together.
Your mom came up a few seconds ago in this
conversation. I must ask. Who is she going
to pull for when you are racing against
I don’t know, but it better be me. I am
just kidding. I am not sure. I guess it
depends on the day.
Here is a scenario for you. Turn four on
the last lap of the main. Your dad is
leading, and you are right behind in
second and you are faster. Do you pass
him? Do you bump him out of the way? Or do
you let him win?
I definitely would not drive him dirty. If
I have a chance to pass him, I am going to
race him like he was any other driver. He
has always told me that once we are both
on the track, we are both racers. We are
not going to rough each other up and we
are not going to drive each other any
different than we are going to drive
anyone else. I will race him down to the
end and I am sure he will do the same.
When do you think you are finally going to
be able to start racing this year?
In California, I have no idea. Me and my
dad have been looking online. We looked at
a couple out of state tracks that we are
thinking about going to. Nothing is for
sure right now. Also, my dad is still
Back to the family before we wind this up.
Your mom & dad, older sister, and little
brother are always in the pits with you.
It is really a family affair, isn’t it?
Since I was little it has always been a
family thing. My brother loves it. He is
always in the garage helping us out. He
does not want any part of racing (the
driving part) yet, but hopefully one day
he will. My mom is a big part of it, too.
I don’t think she has ever missed a race (
of Alyssa’s). It is definitely a family
thing for us.
What is your car number and who will your
sponsors be this year?
This year I will be the #31A. Sponsors
start with my mom and dad. They have done
everything to help me get to where I am.
Tom’s Fabrication, Communication
Innovations, S&S Racing, Inland Rigging,
CMS Metal, and Morten Construction. I want
to give a shout out to all of them for
sticking by my side through all of this.
They have helped me out a lot and there is
nothing I can really do to help them out
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