of-a-kind pre-race shows at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but the stunt
scheduled for the Oct. 15 Bank of America 500 will send Smith soaring
skyward to new heights.
In a first-of-its-kind attempt, Smith will try to set a Guinness World
Record for the highest recorded human cannonball shot. Will it be
Bruton Smith? Will it be Marcus Smith? Well, no.
It will be world-renowned human cannonball David "The Bullet" Smith
who will attempt to soar 90 feet in the air before the green flag
flies on the only Saturday night race in the Chase for the NASCAR
Although this David Smith is not related to the Speedway Motorsports
Smith family, like Charlotte Motor Speedway President Marcus Smith,
David became involved in the family business at an early age.
He began his cannonball career at the age of 19, mostly out of
necessity when his father, David Sr., a lifelong human cannonball,
sustained an injury.
"My dad called and said 'son, I need you in Madison, Wisconsin in two
days,'" the junior Smith recalled. "I got to Wisconsin and took a
practice shot in the morning and did my first live show that evening.
I was terrified and nervous, but very excited."
That first cannonball shot was 75 feet in length. Since then Smith's
attempts have gotten significantly longer. He set his first Guinness
World Record for distance fired from a cannon in 1998 at 181 feet, 4
inches. In March this year Smith smashed the original attempt and
remains the current record holder, with a launch of 193 feet. During
the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway he's setting his
sights on a height record, which is currently not on the books with
"Setting a height record is quite a challenging prospect on many
levels," said Smith. "Any time that I venture into uncharted territory
the biggest questions are will the cannon and the landing net perform
accurately and safely under new stresses and will I be able to
accurately account for things like wind drift and the rebound bounce
in the netting.
"A shot this big will require almost perfect accuracy, yet that
accuracy will be harder to come by than ever," Smith said. "I intend
to fire out of the cannon at Charlotte Motor Speedway with an
incredible amount of force both during launch and at the impact in the
landing net. One hard truth about a cannon shot like this one is that
there is very little grey area between success and failure."
Smith has performed all over the United States, including weeklong
shows at Disneyland in Calif., as a part of the Vans Warped Tour, on
"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "The Today Show," and on
"Senseless Acts of Video" on MTV, where he shot over part of the Grand
"Figuring how to set the netting and to keep the cannon from rolling
down the cliff were challenges," Smith said of the Grand Canyon
attempt. "Also, adjusting to the incredibly strong winds and cold
weather was difficult too, but we did it!"
Smith has also taken his act internationally, performing once at the
Sultan's festival in Oman and at four Royal Shows, an annual fair held
Smith comes from a family with seven children, each of whom has been
fired from a cannon and four of whom have become professional
cannonballs. Smith himself has four children and his five-year-old son
Maverick has already expressed an interest in following in his
father's and grandfather's footsteps.
Smith earned the nickname "The Bullet" from his friends. He guesses
that he has been shot out of a cannon more than 5,000 times.
"It's in my blood. I love this," Smith said. "The challenge, the
adrenaline, the adventure, the roar of the crowd.
"I'm honored to have been invited to Charlotte Motor Speedway to find
out just what I can do with a human cannon," he continued. "I'll
improve as long as I can and then maybe pass it down to the next
generation. I can't wait to see what they can do, but I'll probably
have to cover my eyes."
Fans can purchase two frontstretch tickets to the Bank of America 500,
with the best views of Smith's human cannonball launch and the world's
largest HDTV, for just $99. Tickets for all October races at Charlotte
Motor Speedway can be purchased online at
www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket
office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).