Tuesday, May 15, 2018

K&N EAST: Colin Garrett’s Cinderella run ends halfway through at South Boston

PHOTO: @Team_HSR18
by William Soquet
LASTCAR.info Guest Contributor

Colin Garrett scored the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR K&N East Series career in Saturday night’s Who’s Your Driver Twin 100s Race 2 when his #18 Propel GPS / Hunt-Sellers Racing Toyota fell victim to mechanical issues after three of 100 laps. The finish came in Garrett’s third series start.

Garrett, 17, is making quick work of racing divisions. He was South Boston Speedway’s Rookie of the Year in 2016, his second year racing. The following year, he broke the track record in the Limited Late Model Stock Car division and won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship. His 2018 schedule for late models includes various events at SoBo, Langley Speedway and Dominion Raceway, plus the prestigious ValleyStar 300 at Martinsville.

In addition, Hunt-Sellers Racing announced that Garrett had been added to its driver development lineup for three K&N Pro Series East races in 2018: an early-season venture at Langley, a mid-season journey out to Iowa Speedway, and a September trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The effort would be backed by Propel GPS, a technical solutions company helping companies that own or manage vehicles. News broke May 4 that the Twin 100s were added to the schedule, and Garrett’s personal website also lists the season finale at Dover.

The name Hunt-Sellers Racing may very well ring a few bells with followers of the sport. The team is co-owned by former drivers Sam Hunt and Peyton Sellers. Hunt ran the full K&N East schedule in 2012 and ran partial schedules every year since, while Sellers has had starts scattered across many years and series. On a high-profile scale, he most recently drove almost half a season for now-defunct XFIINITY Series team Obaika Racing in 2016.

The entry list had 17 drivers, none of which were debuts. Headlining the entry list were four part-time teams: two LASTCAR championship contenders in Chuck Buchanan Jr. and Justin Carroll, and two small teams returning with big drivers: Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Spencer Davis with the #82 Danny Watts Racing team, and Brandon McReynolds with the #74 Visconti Motorsports team. McReynolds came to the track Saturday after spotting for Noah Gragson for his Friday night Truck Series win at Kansas Speedway.

Buchanan's was the only car not to practice in the first session, leaving last to NextGen Motorsports driver Juan Manuel Gonzalez. The 87 got on track for second practice and proceeded to anchor the charts, more than a second off leader Tyler Ankrum’s pace. He also qualified last for the first Twin 100.

The first race had a last-place battle that was decided relatively quickly for a race with no "start-and-parks." Anthony Alfredo spun and collected seven or eight cars, dropping Dillon Bassett to last after 22 laps. After more attrition, Buchanan worked his way up to fifth around the midpoint of the race before fading to ninth, his first K&N Top 10. The first race claimed, among many, McReynolds, who was the only car to not return for the second race.

Buchanan once again trailed the field coming to green, but this time the last-place battle was even shorter. With no live feed and timing and scoring down throughout the night, Race Central Live was NASCAR’s only official news source. There, Davey Segal reported that by Lap 5, Garrett had gone to the garage because of mechanical problems. Almost simultaneously, a tweet from the team announced the end of their night just over an hour after driver wheeled car to a third-place finish.

15th went to Ruben Garcia Jr., who also fell victim to mechanical gremlins. Gonzalez was 14th, 55 laps down and the last car running. Connor Hall was the only crash attrition of the second race, as his night ended early after wrecking in both races. Buchanan rounded out the Bottom Five, eleven laps down at the finish.

16) #18-Colin Garrett / 3 laps / mechanical
15) #6-Ruben Garcia Jr. / 37 laps / mechanical
14) #5-Juan Manuel Gonzalez / 45 laps / running
13) #31-Connor Hall / 45 laps / crash
12) #87-Chuck Buchanan Jr. / 89 laps / running

1st) Bill McAnally Racing, Ronald Bassett Sr., Charles Buchanan Jr., Carroll Motorsports, Hunt-Sellers Racing (1)

1st) Toyota (3)
2nd) Chevrolet (2)


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