VICTORIA, B.C. — The Shockwave Seats Canada 200 at Canada’s Western Speedway will be an unforgettable memory for late model racer David Smith in more ways than one.
Smith, the founder of Shockwaves Seats and backer of Sunday’s Canadian late model crown jewel, will strap into a late model and battle a star-studded field at the four-tenths-mile oval.
But that’s only part of Smith’s story.
Smith was diagnosed in Canada with aggressive and incurable Stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer, but instead of accepting defeat, he came to the United States for treatment options that were unavailable in his home country.
Dr. Charles Myers, based in Charlottesville, Va., oversaw Smith’s cancer treatment. It has led to remission for Smith and allowed him to compete in Western Canada’s biggest short-track race this weekend.
The Canada 200 will be televised in the United States via pay-per-view broadcast, through a partnership between SPEED SPORT TV and REV TV, and it’s an event that Smith desires deeply to have success in.
“Four years ago, I went through treatment and I’m not sure you could have seen any of this as being possible,” Smith told SPEED SPORT. “As I was coming out of treatment, I was very, very weak, but I went racing and liked the sport and the people, and one thing led to another. I later found myself at Western Speedway, back at my old alma mater, so to speak … and through that process I ended up meeting with Stew Young, who was an old childhood brand or business partner in our teenage years.
“Now he’s the mayor of Langford, but Stew asked me to help him revive the speedway. So Shockley — my company — started sponsoring the Canada 200 two years ago, and that’s how it really started for me with this race,” Smith continued. “Last year I bought a car and entered the race. And this year, of course, we had COVID happen to where the race wasn’t going to happen … but by the tenacity and hard work of a lot of great people, we’ve partnered with people like REV TV and SPEED SPORT TV to get it out there.
“Now it’s going to be a live televised event, and that’s remarkable; it’s what we’ve wanted.”
In tandem with showcasing the Canada 200, SPEED SPORT TV has also partnered with REV TV to air the hour-long documentary “Before I’m Gone” leading up to the race on Sunday.
“Before I’m Gone” chronicles Smith’s battle with cancer and his journey back to health and competing in the Canada 200.
“Certainly, this race has given us a platform to show the video. It’s unbelievable when the stars align for something like this,” Smith noted. “We had this video in the can … but we really didn’t know how it was going to work out or where we were going to show it.
“So it turned out to be a nice accoutrement to the race itself, but there’s a little bit more to it than that. It’s just a great platform that not only explains my cause and what happened to me, but I think it’s going to leave a feeling of what Western Speedway means to people and what racing means to people.
“It’s about the comradery that happens between racers as well and that’s something I feel is really important that came out of all this.”
As far as his health is concerned, Smith is currently in remission and “ready as ever” to put on his helmet and grab the steering wheel for 200 laps Sunday night at Western Speedway.
But he also acknowledged that it might not always remain that way.
“I live vicariously, blood test to blood test and month by month,” he said. “They say you’re in remission, but really no one that’s ever had cancer is in total remission. That may be what’s happening right now, but the cancer could come back at any time. And it’s just a case of staying on top of it and staying on top of your health, which is part of the reason why I keep racing, because it makes you keep exercising, eating properly, and resting properly. (Racing) keeps a positive attitude and a reason for life, for sure.
“Especially when you get to be my age — I just turned 70 — it just checks a lot of boxes for me.”
When it comes to his expectations for the Canada 200, Smith has no doubt that his equipment is capable of contending for a strong finish — perhaps even a win in the historic event.
“I think that we’ve got a top five car, for sure. Car wise, I think we’ve got one of the best cars,” he said. “I don’t think we lack anything there. If anything, I think driver-wise, I lack a little bit on the real fast guys, where I think I’m probably two or three tenths off. But I think our big advantage is we’ve got a good car.
“We’ve got a car that’s going to be easy on rubber and being easy on rubber and being in the running when it comes to strategy are just key components of doing well in the Canada 200.”
Smith also has a message to all those fighting through adversity in their lives, whether its cancer or something else.
“Never say never,” he stressed. “There’s always hope. There’s always a way. I found mine, and I want everyone out there to know that they can find their way through life struggles just as well.”
The Shockwave Seats Canada 200 late model race from historic Western Speedway in the city of Langford will be available for pay-per-view on SPEED SPORT TV Sunday night at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET).
To learn more about David Smith, check out the documentary “Before I’m Gone,” produced by M1 Films, available now via a limited free-view through SPEED SPORT TV.