Tuesday, July 17, 2018

K&N EAST: Colin Garrett can’t quite replicate the success of Russ Wheeler

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

Colin Garrett finished last for the second time in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East career in Saturday night’s King Cadillac GMC Throwback 100 at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park when his #18 Propel GPS / Russ Wheeler Throwback / Hunt-Sellers Racing Toyota crashed out after 26 of 100 laps.

The finish came in Garrett’s sixth series start and was his first since the second South Boston event, three races ago.

Garrett and his #18 Hunt-Sellers Racing team have come into their own lately, shifting from a part-time operation to running every race since Langley. Unfortunately, while the #18 upped its commitment to the series, it is still struggling for cars.

The rest of the field faced a similar issue. A mere 14 cars showed up on the entry list, making it the leanest field of the season. The list did, however, bring changes - lots of them. On the driver's side, Rette Jones Racing switched drivers for the second time this year, parting ways with Grant Quinlan (who replaced Tyler Dippel) to Tristan van Wieringen, whose sister Dominique also races. Marsh Racing tapped Modified ace Chase Dowling for a return to the K&N Pro Series after one race in 2016.

Other changes focused on the “Throwback” theme for the weekend, as paint scheme and number changes galore could be seen. Spencer Davis, himself a modified racer, honored the late Ted Christopher by running "T.C.'s" iconic #13. Chase Cabre switched to number 15 for a Geoffrey Bodine throwback, and his Rev Racing teammate Ruben Garcia Jr. switched to number 12 for Ruben Pardo. Ryan Vargas completed the trio with a “terrible” Tommy Ellis scheme. Other throwback schemes included Anthony Alfredo honoring Sterling Marlin’s iconic Silver Bullet car and Brandon McReynolds running a paint scheme driven decades ago by Cookie Visconti, patriarch of the Visconti Motorsports family.

Garrett's was one of the most distinctive of these "throwbacks," referencing the 1990 film "Days of Thunder." The Propel GPS sponsorship was altered to make the car resemble the gold-and-blue Hardee's Chevrolet driven in the film by Cary Elwes' antagonist Russ Wheeler.

Bill Hoff was on the initial entry list, but his #71 never turned a lap all day and wound up being listed as a withdrawal, unlike the DNS he was listed as at NJMP. According to Hoff's Twitter, the car started smoking and misfiring after something broke under the hood. If you want to support his team, a link to his Kickstarter campaign can be found here.

Dowling and van Wieringen trailed the two practice sessions, but both were within four-tenths of the leader, making the sessions some of the most competitive of the year. Tyler Ankrum, the championship point leader coming in to the event, started last after his time in qualifying was disallowed. Ankrum went in the style of Martin Truex Jr., going from last to first with a disallowed car to eventually win.

Unfortunately, one of the fan-favorite throwback cars wound up finishing last. Colin Garrett reported fighting a loose condition early in the race, falling from his third starting position to ninth within the first 20 laps before finding the wall in turns three and four on lap 27. His Hunt-Sellers Racing team determined the damage was terminal, and "Russ Wheeler’s" night ended early.

Ronnie Bassett, Jr. fell out with brake troubles after 69 laps, the only other car not to finish the race. Van Wieringen, Vargas and Garcia rounded out the Bottom Five, all on the lead lap.

13) #18-Colin Garrett / 26 laps / accident
12) #04-Ronnie Bassett Jr. / 69 laps / brakes
11) #30-Tristan van Wieringen / 100 laps / running
10) #2-Ryan Vargas / 100 laps / running
9) #12-Ruben Garcia Jr. / 100 laps / running

1st) Toyota, Chevrolet (4)

1st) Hunt-Sellers Racing (2)
2nd) Bill McAnally Racing, Ronald Bassett Jr., Chuck Buchanan Jr., Carroll Motorsports, Danny Watts Racing, Hoff Racing (1)


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