Colin Garrett and Sam Hunt make quite the NASCAR duo. Two young Virginians scrapping to make it in the rough and tumble world of stock car racing.
“Luckily, I’ve made a relationship with Colin (Garrett) and his dad,” says Sam. “We’ve become more of a family and they’ve worked with us to where we’re at now. His dad, the sponsors trust me even at 26 to make the most of that we can with the money we’ve got.”
Rogers Heating & Cooling made their NASCAR debut June 29 on the hood of Colin Garrett’s #24 Sellers Racing Chevy at the Whelen Late Model 200, South Boston Speedway’s Fan Appreciation Night. Rogers brought heat to the track in the form of Garrett’s new car wrap and cool to the fans with the 250 fans and 250 koozies they handed out.
“The entire event at South Boston Speedway was fantastic and the turnout was great,” stated owner Joseph Rogers. “We’ve had customers calling and coming into the office all week stating they called because of the race sponsorship. They’re saying how much they appreciate us giving back to the race community and doing the race ticket giveaways last week that gave them the chance to win.”
Alyssa Rogers handles the company’s marketing and said “this has opened our eyes to a whole new world of marketing and we hope to be able to do it again in the future. We’re already seeing that it’s expanded our customer base and has been a great conversation starter all week.” To make the most of race day she planned an integrated marketing campaign leading up to the race, including newspaper ads, Facebook Live interviews with Colin, and ticket giveaways.
The sponsorship also provided an opportunity for company fun. Rogers does quarterly outings for employees to show appreciation for their hard work, and the race was their “Kickoff to Summer” event. The company rented the VIP Suite in Turn 1 for employees and their families and had 30 people cheering for Colin.
Derick Vicks, Service Leader, said “being at the race with the entire Rogers Heating & Cooling team and my son, Austin, was such a fun experience – it was neat to see the company’s logo going around the track.”
“It was fun to be at the race and was a more exciting experience to be able to cheer on a car with the logo of the company I work for – Colin did great!” added Becky Lloyd, Customer Service Leader.
Rogers Heating & Cooling also has something to remember the race by – the firesuit Colin raced in that day, branded with their logo and now showcased on display in the office.
When asked about their future NASCAR plans, Joseph Rogers said “we’re happy we chose Colin to be our driver for our first race sponsorship, and we hope to be able to sponsor him again in the future.”
Garrett added, “it’s always fun to bring in a new sponsor and show them that NASCAR isn’t just about a logo going around the track. It’s about building employee morale, connecting with the most loyal fanbase of all pro sports in the US, and actually seeing a return on your marketing investment. Rogers Heating & Cooling was great to work with, and I’m looking forward to running more races with them.”
Colin Garrett qualified second for the Memphis 150 with a 23.501 and started the race with high hopes for a win.
The race itself was disappointing, though, when mechanical problems early on resulted in what he described as a “really bad vibration at the end of the straights going into the corners.” Fighting the car the rest of the race, he brought the Sam Hunt Racing #18 Racing For Heroes Chevy across the finish line in P11.
This weekend Colin Garrett will be driving the #18 Sam Hunt Racing Chevy in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Memphis 150 presented by AutoZone. Sam Hunt Racing is partnering with Rette Jones Racing in a technical alliance for the race.
“Colin Garrett and Sam Hunt Racing are quickly becoming players in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and Rette Jones Racing is proud to be a part of their rapid growth, especially after their recent performances,” stated Mark Rette, one of the owners of Rette Jones Racing.
“Colin is a talented race car driver and with the two teams working together, I think everyone will be impressed with the results,” he added.
The race is scheduled for Saturday, June 1, at 10am Central Time, making this the third year in a row at Memphis International Raceway (MIR).
Stands in for competitor in Race No. 2 and moves him up 3 places in K&N standings.
Colin finished P6 in Race No. 1 of the WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100s at South Boston Speedway on May 4. Just as Race 2 was being postponed after Lap 20 due to thunderstorms, his #18 Racing For Heroes Chevy was wrecked by Hailie Deegan, knocking his car out of the race that was completed Sunday.
NBCSN interview before Race 1 with Colin at 7:17 “Next Generation.”
His competitor, Ruben Garcia Jr., had another race Sunday, so Colin agreed to drive his car for the remainder of the race.
Starting at P11 for Garcia, Garrett drove his Rev Racing car to a P7 finish, moving Garcia from P12 to P9 in the K&N East point standings. Garcia got the points for the fifth-place finish as the driver that starts the car gets credit for the point
Garrett’s official finish for his own wrecked car in Race 2 was 14. He came into SoBo 4th in the K&N East points and leaves in 8th, ironically helping his competitor gain ground on him in the points standings.
“It was weird to start a race in my own car and finish the race in somebody else’s car,” Garrett said. “It was pretty cool. Those Rev Racing guys put together a good piece. Did the best I could with it, ran my own race and just tried to bring it home in one piece for those guys.”
“I was glad to come out here and kind of give Ruben some points,” Garrett joked. “Tried to not do too well, still gotta race him the rest of the year … funny story, I was sitting in the hauler about 30 seconds before he came in and they were talking about how he may need a relief driver. And I was like, ‘Nah, I’m not doing that.’ Then he walked in and was like, ‘Will you do it?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ I was happy to do it for him.”
Back in the winter, Colin Garrett’s racing future looked as bleak as the weather.
“I really wasn’t supposed to race anything this year. We didn’t have anything,” said Garrett. “But my dad worked and worked and put some things together.”
On May 4 the 18-year will roll into South Boston Speedway, his home track, for the whosyourdriver.org NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Twin 100s on a hot streak. Two races into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule he is fourth in the series points standings, just 11 behind leader Sam Mayer.
After struggling at times a year ago as a series rookie, he has back-to-back top 10 finishes and led 64 laps in the season-opener at New Smyrna Speedway after not leading a lap the entire 2018 season. He finished seventh on the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway in his first trip there in his last outing.
“I feel like we’re about where we should be (this season). I would like to be a little better. I would have liked New Smyrna to have gone better, but all-in-all for where we were last year, it’s a big improvement,” said Garrett, who just two years ago won the Limited Sportsman championship at South Boston Speedway. “We really just have our stuff together.”
At this juncture a year ago his newly-formed team had just decided on running the entire schedule after not attempting the first two races of the year. The 2018 whosyourdriver.org Twin 100s was just his second K&N race. He responded well, finishing third in the first 100-lapper before suffering mechanical woes in the second race. That third-place finish turned out to be his only top five of the season.
“We were only supposed to run a few races last year and then we had a mad dash to get things together,” recalled Garrett. “It was a group of guys who didn’t know each other, didn’t have cars or equipment but worked hard. We moved everything to Charlotte midway through the season and that helped a bunch.”
Team owner Sam Hunt and his bunch kept working hard over the winter. They come into the May 4 South Boston event with two cars race-ready and a year’s knowledge under their belt.
Garrett has gone from not expecting to race at all this season to racing every weekend in an assortment of divisions including K&N, Late Models, Super Late Models, Pro Late Models and actually made a start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Richmond Raceway a couple of weeks ago.
“I’m definitely a lot better as a driver this year,” said Garrett, who is sponsored by EMRYS Properties, Racing for Heroes and Propel GPS. “I’ve been running tons of races … Supers, Late Models, Xfinity …seat time is so important. That has helped me so much. I’ve learned how to save my stuff. I feel so much better (in the car) than I did last year.”
It doesn’t hurt Garrett’s chances for South Boston success that he’s returning to the track where he has logged more laps than anywhere else. It is home for him.
“I’ve been racing there (South Boston) for four years and into a fifth,” said Garrett, who ran a Late Model at South Boston last Saturday night. “It’s my hometown track. I’m going into it knowing I’ve been there forever. I don’t want to be cocky, but I feel really comfortable.”
In addition to the twin 100-lap NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races on May 4, there will be a 30-lap Budweiser Pure Stock race and a 15-lap Budweiser Hornets race.
Grandstand gates will open at 4:30 p.m. with qualifying scheduled for 5 p.m. An autograph session for drivers from all divisions will be held on the track at 6 p.m. with the first K&N 100-lapper taking the green flag at 7 p.m.
Tickets are just $10 in advance and $15 day of the race with children 12-and-under admitted free with a paid adult. Advance tickets may be purchased by calling 877.440.1540 or by stopping by the South Boston Speedway office 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.
Colin Garrett made his Xfinity Series debut in Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway, driving the No. 66 Racing For Heroes Toyota for MBM Motorsports.
Qualifying was cancelled due to persistent rain, resulting in the field being set by owners points. Colin started P24 and steadily gained positions until issues with tire pressure caused him to start moving back.
This race was the second for Colin to run the Racing For Heroes logo. Sadly, a friend of RFH committed suicide just days before the race, proving that Racing For Heroes mission of combating Veteran suicide is critical. Colin ran a memorial to this fallen hero, SSG Eric Patton, on the back of the car.
Colin Garrett will make his Xfinity Series debut Friday at Richmond Raceway driving the No. 66 Toyota for MBM Motorsports, the team announced Wednesday.
Garrett, 18, will make his first start in a national NASCAR series event. He has 14 starts in the K&N Pro Series East since last year with one top five and seven top 10s.
Garrett won the 2017 NASCAR Limited Sportsman Division championship.
A native of Elmo, Virginia, Garrett will be sponsored this weekend by “Racing For Heroes,” an approved 501(c)3 charity that empowers Veterans through motorsports, health, wellness and employment opportunities.
“I’m super stoked to be running with MBM Motorsports for my NASCAR Xfinity debut,” Garrett said in a press release. “I’m going there to gain experience in one of the top three national series, and to finish in the top 20 would be a great day for us overall.”
Colin Garrett and Sam Hunt Racing debuted the #18 Racing For Heroes Chevy in Saturday’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series-East Zombie Auto 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway, finishing with a strong P7. He started 12th in the lineup and completed all laps of the 150-lap event.
This was the second K&N East race of the 2019 season, and the second Top 10 finish in a row for Garrett and the #18. After the Bristol race, he’s currently fourth in the 2019 K&N East point standings.
Mike Evock, founder of Racing For Heroes, and three of his RFH group joined the team for the race. Photo: Sam Hunt, team owner, is 3rd from left; Mike Evock is far right.
From catchfence.com: “It appears that their technical alliance with Rette Jones Racing paid off for Sam Hunt Racing in Thunder Valley. The popular driver from Virginia didn’t qualify strong on Friday night and didn’t have the best No. 18 Toyota Camry during the early stages of the race – but as the race laid out, Garrett’s car came to life and the driver maneuvered back-to-back top-10 finishes to open the 2019 season.”