Race Highlights - 2012
August 3, 2012
Garrett qualifies 6th out of 15 cars on a hot Friday night at Ace Speedway - his best qualifying effort of the year at this track! Starting 6th on the field, Garrett quickly found his way to the inside groove, making his way up to 5th at one point during the race. However, his night ended early on the wrecker. "We had the best car I have driven at Ace tonight. I'm just real disappointed that we got caught up in the wreck. From where I was sitting, the 2nd place car came down on the 3rd place car and those guys were spinning out. Ace is really tight and they guys in front of me had no where to go. We all gathered up in turn 1 and had come to a stop. Then, a back marker car decides to gas it up and take the high side. There wasn't enough room and he nailed me in the right rear. That ended our night and will put all of my guys to working overtime during the next week getting the car ready to race again next Friday."
June 30 2012
Garrett captures his first win in a late model stock car at Dillon Motor Speedway! With many friends and family in attendance, Garrett dominates the Challenger Southeast Limited Late Model Series race held in sweltering heat in Dillon, South Carolina. After qualifying 3rd, Garrett shows the skills of a veteran, being patient to take the lead. "It is great to be in Victory Lane", commented Garrett. "My car was great, my team was great and I brought this Chevy to victory lane!" Garrett captured the fan's attention and heart's as he stood on the door of his number 88. Additionally, the media grabbed the opportunity to recognize Garrett as well with articles following in Late Model Digest and others with titles such as "12 Year Old Shocks crowd at Dillon Motor Speedway...
Back on Track! - Altamahaw, NC
Aug 10, 2012
Ace Speedway. Garrett rebounds and takes the pole at Ace Speedway! "After last week, I was just glad to get the car back on the track! The guys at Performancenter Racing Warehouse and my Dad and me worked real hard getting the car back together. We took it out Friday morning and turned some fast laps.I felt good about tonight, but to be honest, I didn't think I was going to get the pole. I was last to go out in qualifying, so I knew what I had to do. I just drove it off in the corner deeper than I had ever done before and the car stuck...
Dillon Motor Speedway, Dillon NC
September 3, 2012
Garrett qualifies 6th out of 18 cars at the Annual Labor Race in Dillon. Although he was running with the lead pack in 6th on Lap 50 when the rains came, Garrett was fighting an ill handling race car. "I could run as fast as the leader, but my car was tight in the center. I had to use all of the track to keep pace. I was looking forward to pitting at midway of the 100 lap race. Greg Marlowe made some great adjustments that I think would have put me up front. I guess we will have to wait and see how our car will be in the last 50 laps since the bottom fell out of the sky just as we went back on the track. I'm confident in my team and my car. I think I have a shot at this thing when we get back." The race at Dillon will be completed on September 15. Cars will line up in the same position they were in at the time of the rain delay.
Coastal Plains Raceway, Jacksonville NC
October 13, 2012
After being fastest in last practice, Garrett qualified 3rd in the Challenger division, finishing 2nd in the 16 car field! Garrett commented, "the car was fast and the track was different from any other track I've raced on so far! The tri-oval was definitely different. The speed you carry in the corners is a lot higher. It was a lot of fun." Garrett also raced in the Pro division, qualifying ninth and making it up to 5th before engine problems left him down 8 laps. Garrett's next points race is in Myrtle Beach, SC on November 16-18.
Myrtle Beach Speedway, Myrtle Beach, SC
November 16, 2012
Garrett wins the 2012 SOUTHEAST LIMITED LATE MODEL CHALLENGER DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP despite having engine troubles in the last practice. After finishing a day of practice, while coasting into pit road, Garrett's engine let go coming down pit road. "I couldn't believe what had just happened," stated Garrett. "We had practiced for several days getting ready for this race and after consistently posting practice speeds in the top 5 all day on Friday, my motor let go. I thought my weekend was over and the championship was out the window! But, my team, Jonathan Davis and Jared Fryar and absolutely everyone associated with Performancenter Racing Warehouse in Statesville, NC, was determined to give me the chance at claiming the title. Without their help I'd be loaded up in the trailer headed home!" Garrett made the most out of the situation finishing 12th in a 17 car field, enough to capture the 2012 Challenger title. "Roger Johnson and Greg Marlowe told me my car would be really tight since the weight of the motor we put in was heavier than the crate engine that let go. They were not kidding! While I am very thankful to win the championship, I have to say that I am a little disappointed that I didn't have a shot to win. We'd been fast all day. I guess in these situations, you've got to be proud for what we accomplished this season. And, I am very proud of my team. My team won this championship without a doubt!"
Garrett was also entered to race in the Southeast Limiteds Pro Division race to be held on Sunday, November 18th. This 100 lap race was to be the opening event for the 20th Annual NASCAR Late Model Myrtle Beach 400. After fighting an ill handling car on Friday night en route to win the championship, Garrett was anxious to utilize the practice session Saturday morning to get his car back up to speed. Garrett commented, "Last night my team did what it had to do to get me in the challenger race. We didn't have enough time or any practice to adjust the setup in the car. The car drives a little different entering and exiting the corners with the built motor as compared to the crate motor. This morning we got the car dialed in and I got more comfortable driving it." Posting his fastest time of the weekend, Garrett qualified 15th out of a 31 car field. "I thought we had a top 5 car, but it was still a little tight in the center of the corner and that made me loose on exit. I couldn't get back in the throttle quick enough. I got faith in my team though. We'll get her dialed in and be set for tomorrow!" But, the rains came and Garrett did not have a chance to race! The race has been postponed until March 2013.
"I had a great weekend all-in-all. We proved our team can overcome adversity. I am really proud of what we have accomplished this season and I am looking forward to 2013," comments Garrett.
Five Flags Speedway, Pensacola, FL
December 1, 2012
Garrett has a strong run in a Pro Late Model at the famed Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida to wrap up his championship season! In a car borrowed from Performancenter Racing Warehouse in Statesville, NC, with a team that had never participated in a race at Five Flags Speedway, 13 year-old Garrett Jones of West Palm Beach, Florida qualifies for the Snowflake 100 over drivers much older and with more experience! "I knew I had a tall order to come to the biggest short track race in the country and make the field. We tested a few weeks ago and thought we had enough speed to make the show, but the competition is the best of the best from all over the country. With my Late Model schedule in the Carolinas, I couldn't get down here to race a saturday night show before this big event. We decided, what the heck, lets go down to Pensacola and give it a shot," stated Garrett. After a few days of practice, Garrett qualified 29th, enough for him to make the field of 36 cars that raced. "I've got to tell you I was sweating a little as those last cars went on the track during qualifying. My crew chief was calculating where we were and my Mom was calculating where we were at. It was hectic for a few minutes there for sure! Our qualifying order was 26th, about middle of the field. Right before I pulled on the track, the guy that went out before me lost it coming out of 2. I was hoping he didn't leave any fluids or debris on the track because I had to go. We had fought our car the last 2 days trying to get some speed out of it. During the last practice right before qualifying we hit on something and that gave all of us some confidence going into qualifying. If I could back that time up in qualifying, we all thought I could make the field. I went out and drove it into turn one, I knew we were going to be close. The car was tight and I couldn't run the line I needed to. I couldn't get back into the gas quick enough. When your car is tight it won't turn. There's not a lot you can do. You can try to arc the corner a little, but mainly you just got to wait on it to turn before you stand back in the throttle. If loose is fast, tight ain't! We lost 2 tenths in qualifying, and knew that it was going to be close. When that last car rolled out to qualify, we could all breathe easy again. I made the 2012 Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola - on my first attempt!" Garrett and his team, a wily bunch of veterans from North Carolina, didn't relax very long. They knew Garrett would have his work cut out for him during this prestigious event. As the green flag dropped, Garrett would be making his first lap at the speedway under race conditions. As the race progressed, Garrett wasn't able to push to the front as he hoped, but he held onto the lead lap. After the first caution, with the cars tightened back up, Garrett hoped to be able to move forward in the line up. But, as the cars entered turn1, the cars in front of him began to pile up. Garrett got on the brakes hard and was okay until a car from behind literally tore the entire left side of the body off. Without wasting any time, Garrett limped his car to pit road to assess the damage. After changing the left rear tire and removing what remained of the left side of the body, the crew taped everything together with 200mph tape (or duct tape as we call it here). Maintaining pit road speed, Garrett pulls back on the track still on the lead lap, but nearly a 1/2 lap back from the field. "I was racing for my life to stay on the lead lap after leaving pit road. I knew Chase Elliott was fast and he was coming. I ran as hard as I could hoping for a caution to come out. We ended up 23rd. Me and my team are very proud to make this race on my first attempt and I'm not taking anything away from that! It's a big deal to show up here and be in the race. But, we did want to run better. I know we can. Before I parked the car in the pits after the race, we were talking about what we were going to do differently for next year's race. What I will say is that this number 88 will be making many laps at this track in Pensacola during 2013! I've got to thank my crew, Greg Marlow, Roger Johnson, Kim Kurzejewski and Aaron Volf from Performancenter Racing Warehouse in Statesville, NC, as well as, my crew that goes with me everywhere I race, Jonathan Davis and Jared Fryar (grandson of Freddy Fryar who won the Derby in 1979 and 1982 as well as many victories in Jackson and Laurel and across the country). These guys worked harder than anybody at the track to give me the opportunity to be in the race. We are just a big family! I also have to thank my Granddaddy, Granny, Papaw, Mamaw, and especially my Mom and Dad and sisters, Meredith and Allison. They take care of me at the track, doing anything that needs to be done. I also have to thank my sponsors for this race. Without their support we would not be here. My sponsors for this event were Burroughs Companies of Laurel, Mississippi; Larry Jones Trucking of Laurel, Mississippi; Baggett Transportation of Birmingham, Alabama; R&B Transport Refinishers of St. Petersburg, FL and Mooresville, North Carolina; and Nelson Specialities of Mooresville, North Carolina."