Smith Heritage Invitational: Looking to be more than a concours

Photography by Tim Suddard

The stated dream for the Smith Heritage Invitational is to grow it into an American Goodwood Revival of sorts with a concours event as well as track day-type activities. The event is pictured as a legacy for Bruton Smith, longtime owner of Speedway Motorsports (which owns Charlotte Motor Speedway), and fueled by his son, current Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith.

Marcus Smith, CEO and president of Speedway Motorsports, which owns Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Ray Evernham and Wayne Carini have been brought in to assist making this dream a reality, and this year they moved the idea a step closer. The April 6 event operated as part of the Charlotte AutoFair, a long-running, three-day swap meet and car show that is hosted by the Hornets Nest Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America. Despite the 22 very high-end cars on display, anyone with a ticket to the AutoFair could see the Smith Heritage Invitational for no additional cost.

These cars were displayed in the infield of the oval, right in front of the start-finish line. Thousands of folks used to seeing swap meet parts and antiques were treated to Ferraris, Duesenbergs and other rarities.

While every Smith Heritage Invitational entry received a lovely carved aluminum participation trophy at Saturday night’s banquet, there were only two top awards given. Ralph and Adeline Marano won the Chairman’s trophy for the d’ Elegance class with their 1930 Packard Super Eight Boattail Speedster. Well-known Porsche restorers Cam and Rory Ingram won the Chairman’s trophy for sports category with their 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder.

The banquet was emceed by Evernham and featured a lively discussion about the Cannonball sea-to-sea runs of old. Influencer Ed Bolian talked about his more recent cross-country record in a Mercedes Benz CL 55 AMG.

While the whole thing is an interesting idea, and it was a lot of fun to take in, the juxtaposition of low-end and swap meet with a dab of Pebble Beach cars and its people did seem a bit challenging to embrace. Still, we’re eager to watch this event grow into something, as hoped, that’s even bigger.

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JustinSchroder New Reader
4/12/24 9:21 p.m.

I REALLY wanted to attend this event. Thank goodness it's annual. 

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
4/15/24 10:40 a.m.

In reply to JustinSchroder :

While it doesn't have the quantity of cars like some other concours have, it makes up for that with quality. Plus, if you enjoy a wide variety of vehicles, the Charlotte AutoFair, which the Smith Heritage Invitational is part of, has that, too.

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