After scoring five top-10’s last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Colin Garrett will return for a sophomore season partnered up with Sam Hunt Racing. The Virginia native recently took some time to share his thoughts on the upcoming campaign with POPULAR SPEED.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts entering the season?
COLIN GARRETT: It’s going to be my sophomore season in the K&N Series, and it’s my first time going to New Smyrna and Bristol – I missed those two races last year. I think we’re going to have a pretty good shot to be competitive this year and run up front. Last year, you know we didn’t have the best equipment but we were able to work with what we had and kept on chugging on through the year I guess is the right way to put it.
But this year, we had the winter reset and just get everything sorted out so we don’t have as many mechanical failures and stuff. We’re just trying to cross our Ts, dot our Is – all that kind of stuff.
PS: What are your goals and expectations?
COLIN: Well I’d like to definitely win a few races this year. Last year was a really long year between all of my cars. I ran late models, supers, K&N – and we only won one race last year. So it really sucked. Last year was a really long year, but overall, it was an overall good learning year.
So if we take everything that I learned from last year and put it into this year – and like I said, having the winter to reset, I think we can be a contender to win and hopefully go for the championship. We just need to get to that point throughout the season. It’s only 14 races, but it’s a long eight months.
PS: What’s the biggest thing you learned last year that you feel will benefit you this year?
COLIN: Really, just how to race these cars. These cars have 650 horsepower, but they’re so heavy and really tall; it’s kind of like racing a school bus with a jet engine. It’s just a really big bulky car so you have to learn how to drive it, especially on these short tracks. It’s all about who has the most speed through the center; it’s a big long drag race down the straightaway with whoever can get the power down.
We ran several short track races and we qualified third at Thompson, but we ended up having a really loose car. I think just from everything I learned from that will help for New Smyrna. For the big tracks, I’ve been to the big tracks now so I can be able to use that knowledge with how the air works, how not to use much brake, and that stuff, and going to these tracks for the second time is going to help a lot.
First time I went to New Hampshire, we qualified 13th or something like that. But the next time we went, I qualified sixth, a tenth off the pole. So it definitely helps going to these tracks for a second time.
PS: So having said that, what track are you most looking forward to?
COLIN: As much as I hate this track, probably New Hampshire. We ran really good there last year. So I really don’t like New Hampshire, but it’s probably my favorite track with the success there now. That’ll be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to getting back there. Thompson is going to be a really fun track – like I said, we qualified third there. Then of course my hometown track, South Boston.
PS: How did you get started in racing?
COLIN: We really don’t know. We’ve been trying to figure that out because none of my family races. It was all me that started it. We think maybe back to a family reunion 15 years ago or whatever it was, I was watching a race or something; we don’t know. Like, I’ve just always loved racing. Jeff Gordon was my favorite driver growing up. It’s just something that I’ve always loved since I was a kid – NASCAR, Formula 1, all that kind of stuff. Formula 1 is my more favorite, but we’re not really in a place where Formula 1 is so NASCAR is definitely the bigger way to go around here.
PS: What’s been the most memorable career moment to date for you?
COLIN: Probably my championship from a couple years ago – the 2017 Limited Sportsman Championship at South Boston. That was really big for my team and for me. I just got into racing two years prior and to go out there and win five races or something like that, plus winning I think two late model races and two poles. I think that was the biggest – that whole year was pretty big.
PS: What is your advice to others looking to get started in racing?
COLIN: Start your expectations low, especially if you haven’t been racing a lot. Just set goals for yourself every week. Maybe just like top-10 this week, top-eight the next week, top-six the next week and so on and so forth. That was my biggest thing. I came off the 2017 year having just won the championship at South Boston and that was pretty big, and it just kind of went down hill rapidly. We got one other win in 2018 at the beginning, but when it came down to it a couple races later, we were struggling really bad.
So that’s the biggest thing – just set each goals each week for yourself. I was entered the year expecting to win every week, and then when we weren’t able to do that, it really sucked.
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