MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Audio, photo and story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman —
Once referred to as “the kid with a dream,” 15-year-old Garrett Jones has become a driver with a plan — and a very determined plan, at that — during his first season at the wheel of a Super Late Model.
Jones, the 2013 UARA-STARS tour Rookie of the Year and 2013 Pro Late Model track champion at Five Flags Speedway, began the season driving his family-owned ElectroFuse No. 88, but has recently moved over to pilot the Tracy Goodson-owned No. 1 Ford under the tutelage of respected short track veteran Mike Garvey.
The results of the new pairing have been staggering.
Jones has skyrocketed to fourth in the Southern Super Series points standings, the leading rookie contender, and has only finished outside the top five once since taking over the bright red-and-yellow machine.
“We’ve had a really strong, really consistent rookie year in the supers,” Jones said on Saturday. “Right after the first Montgomery race in the spring, me and Kelly Bires — my former crew chief — parted ways. It was just time for a change on that side of things. Mike and Tracy called me up, and actually wanted me to run their Pro [Late Model] and after that went really, really strong I jumped in their super and we’ve been fast ever since.”
The teenager, originally from Florida but living now in Mooresville, N.C., says his recent hot streak — and lessons from Garvey on the equipment and his driving style — have bolstered his confidence in a big way heading down the stretch run of the season.
“Me and Mike go back a little ways, actually — we’ve raced together since I started racing late models. I think he and I have very similar driving styles, and that helps me tell him what I need a little bit better. He helped us with our car the past two weekends when we’ve raced at Winchester and Concord, so it’s just a collaborative effort that’s going really well right now.”
“Mike’s taught me a little bit about managing what I’ve got and using it even a little bit better, and I think that’s really helped me out during the race a lot.”
Jones will compete in this weekend’s Alabama 200 before traversing to Pensacola, Fla. in two weeks’ time for the final Southern Super Series race of the 2015 season. His goal is to sneak up to third in the points standings by the end of the season.
“Obviously, you know, we’re looking at the Snowball Derby,” the youngest-ever competitor in the marquee event said. “That’s always a huge race to make, and it means a lot to me, being originally from that area and having a lot of success at Five Flags.”
“But as far as next year goes, all of my stuff [the 88 car] is still at our shop in Mooresville, and I’m working on building a new car now, so we’ll see what happens, but I’m excited for the future and hopefully you’ll see me back in the blue 88 next year. I’d like to do some ARCA and K&N stuff maybe as well, but the primary plan is to be back in the supers again.”
“It’s been a blast so far though. I couldn’t be happier to be where I’m at right now.”
For more information on Garrett Jones, visit his website at http://www.garrettmotorsports.com/.
Listen in to a cut of Race Chaser Online’s interview with Garrett Jones during day one activities of the Alabama 200 weekend:
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 21-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: firstname.lastname@example.org