It’s been a busy year for Colin Garrett. And it’s about to get a lot busier for the 19-year-old South Boston driver.
He’s made 28 starts in six different types of race cars in 2019, including debuts in both the NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoor Truck series. He’s competed at tracks from Florida to Canada to Las Vegas and lots of stops in between.
The next stop will be almost in his own backyard: Saturday afternoon’s autosbynelson.com 250 CARS Tour championship at South Boston Speedway. He will be competing in the Super Late Model half of the doubleheader.
It will be the 13th Super Late Model start of the season for him in a car fielded by veteran car owner Jamie Yelton.
A year ago, Garrett, the 2017 Limited Sportsman track champion at South Boston, made his Super Late Model debut in this race. He’s much more prepared this time around.
“Last year we tested three times before we raced, and I was comfortable in the car, but I wasn’t that comfortable around other cars,” said Garrett, explaining the Super Late Models are wider, lighter and much faster than the Late Model Stock cars he was accustomed to driving.
“We were fast, but I had no idea how to pass. This year we’ve been racing them, and I feel much more comfortable.”
The steering has been the biggest adjustment for Garrett in the Super Late Model.
“The steering is so different. It feels awkward when you come out of Late Model stuff. You have to slow down your hands so much. You don’t have to turn the wheel nearly as much,” said Garrett, who will be sponsored by Emerys Properties and Racing For Heroes Saturday.
He has nine top-10 finishes in a dozen Super starts in 2019, including three fourth-place finishes. He also made eight starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East tour and a handful of Late Model starts along with the Xfinity and Truck Series races.
“It’s all about seat time. Seat time is so valuable, and I was able to get a lot (of seat time) this year,” said Garrett. “Being able to work on the race cars, to learn things like saving tires, it all works together for experience.”
Earlier this week, Garrett and his K&N East Series car owner Sam Hunt announced they would be teaming for a full NASCAR Xfinity schedule in 2020, using a somewhat novel approach of crowdfunding to fund the team.
“We are trying to create a program where the fans are involved with us, trying to make it where the fans are part of our journey. We want them to feel they have ownership in it,” explained Garrett. “We are going to try and go about it backwards from the normal model. Instead of selling sponsor T-shirts, we’re going to be selling Collin Garrett T-shirts and then show potential sponsors how many people are behind us.”
Garrett has at least two more starts this season: in the Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Miami-Homestead in a couple of weeks. He’s shoved that and his bold 2020 plans out of his mind for now and is focused on this weekend.
“It’s South Boston. It’s my home track. It’s a Super Late Model,” Garrett said explaining why South Boston is the big stage this weekend.
The CARS Tour will have an open practice session for both divisions from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday that will be open to the public at no charge.
Grandstand gates open at noon for the autosbynelson.com 250, which features 125-lap races for both the CARS Tour Late Model Stock and Super Late Model divisions. Qualifying is set for 12:40 p.m., fan appreciation trackside at 1:55 p.m. and the green flag at 3 p.m.
Advance tickets for Saturday’s autosbynelson.com 250 are $10 in advance until 5 p.m. on Friday. Advance tickets may be purchased by calling 877.440.1540 or at the South Boston Speedway office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.