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.