Bank of America 500 Pit Note #16
Human Cannonball Attempts Record During Pre-Race – During pre-race activities for the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, David “The Bullet” Smith attempted to set a Guinness World Record for being shot from a cannon. Smith needed to achieve a height of more than 70 feet to achieve his goal.
Smith, who started in the family business at age 19, has 11 siblings, seven of which have been fired from a cannon.
“It’s really, really an honor to have been invited to Charlotte Motor Speedway to attempt this record,” said Smith. “My god, what a big event! It makes a big cannon shot look a little small, though. We are waiting on the official height. We have an unofficial height where we are right there at that 75-foot mark that I was hoping to reach. I wanted to be over 70 for sure. I think we got that. Boy, that was one heck of a takeoff.”
Smith described the process that it takes to achieve such a feat.
“It takes months and months and it all comes down to a four-second thing,” said Smith. “It’s really about a half-second takeoff and a half-second landing. The takeoff really had me kind of spooked. It is such a significant impact. And it is more important than ever for me when it comes to the landing that I am in the right position. If the cannon beats me up to where I can’t take that or numbs me in the air, I don’t have much recovery time to get turned over. So, [I had] months and months of preparation. On a cannon shot like that, much of a side breeze at all will carry me off that net, and you just can’t adjust for it.
“When I was a little kid, my dad taught me how to do this. He was the best there ever was. My dad really brought this from concept to what you see now. This [cannon design] is the eighth one. The design is hand-crafted and built in our shop. How the cannon works is the family secret.”
The Charlotte Motor Speedway atmosphere was amazing to Smith.
“It’s a huge thing for me. As a professional, as a showman, you don’t get a bigger event. You don’t get a place that has more pressure on you, where you have to perform. It’s just pressure. Hey, we’re at Charlotte Motor Speedway and everybody knows about Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
David Smith is not related to any of the Speedway Motorsports Inc. Smith family.