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5.9.18

Sam Hunt Finding New Drive As An Owner In The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
 
If there’s any piece of advice Sam Hunt wants to impart on his young driver this season, he wants him to remember to never take any race for granted.

“Sometimes it’s all of a sudden, you don’t know when next one is,” Hunt said this week as his team prepared for Saturday night's whosyourdriver.org NASCAR K&N Twin 100s at South Boston Speedway.. “Or if there’s going to be a next one at all.”

Hunt, co-owner of Hunt-Sellers Racing, knows that firsthand. After a full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in 2012, the then 18-year-old Virginian ran partial schedules in each of the following two seasons. He’s never started more than two races in any of the three seasons since.

Armed with a business finance degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, Hunt — now 24 — saw another avenue for remaining in the racing game he grew up around. He started taking mental notes, even as a teen-aged full-time driver, about what set aside successful team owners. He obtained some cars that were in the Joe Gibbs Racing camp when that team exited the K&N Pro Series before partnering with Peyton Sellers to form HSR from the ground up.

It meant Hunt wouldn’t be a driver anymore, but he felt it was a step worth taking.

“I’d kind of come to terms that it was going to be tough to keep driving with my financial situation and the way the sport is,” said Hunt, who made two starts in 2017, finishing a high of ninth at Langley in September. “I had interest in having my own business and starting my own team.

“I love to drive. I’ve been racing my whole life, but I realized that if I’m going to run this team, I need to be all in as a team owner not a part-time driver and part-time owner.

“The pieces are coming together.”

Enter 17-year-old Colin Garrett, a fellow Virginian who made his K&N Pro Series debut with an impressive sixth-place finish at Langley in the series’ most recent race. Originally only slated to run up to four races in the HSR No. 18 Toyota, Garrett’s showing at Langley had his team — and Rick Burtner, owner of Garrett’s primary sponsor, Propel GPS — rethinking its goals for 2018.

Expect to see Garrett run the remainder of the K&N Pro Series schedule. Just a few weeks ago Garrett was gearing up for his first full year in the Late Model ranks with an ambitious 30-race schedule centered around chasing the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship at Dominion Speedway, where he’s already the point leader with one with in three early-season starts.

But, as Hunt suggested, you never know when the next race is going to be. For Garrett, it’s going to be the Who’s Your Driver Twin 100s this weekend at South Boston Speedway — the very track where he was the Limited Late Model champion last season.

“(Burtner) and my dad and the team all got together after the Langley race and it went from ‘We’re not running South Boston’ to 24 hours later and ‘We might make a run for the rest of the season.’ It was a big change in about 24 hours,” said Garrett, who spent most of the Visit Hampton VA 150 running inside the top five. “It’s pretty crazy when you think about it.

“I was already leading the championship points at Dominion. I just figured, ‘If we keep on smooth sailing, we’ve got this’ and then this (K&N opportunity) was like throwing me to the wolves instead. I’m getting adjusted to the new cars because everything is so different.”

Garrett realizes that he only began racing in 2015, and that the K&N Pro Series is a long way from Limited Late Models. But he has a couple of things going for him — the first is Hunt, who only a few years removed from trying to climb the NASCAR ladder as a driver himself can relate to what Garrett will experience this year, and the second is Sellers. The Sellers family has been hands-on in Garrett’s racing career since his entry-level days at South Boston, and Sellers has himself been a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion out of South Boston with on-track experience in the K&N Pro Series, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Garrett hopes that his experience at South Boston, coupled with the Virginia racing roots of both Hunt and Sellers, will pay off this weekend.

“It’s 20 minutes from my house. It’s my hometown track. It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s new pavement,” said Garrett, who grew up a passionate Jeff Gordon fan deep in Jeff and Ward Burton country. “At South Boston, I’ve got the track record in the Limited Late Models. Having laps anyplace is good — I know how car is going to react throughout the night.  At the very least, I have the upper hand of a few thousand laps around the place.”

For both driver and owner this weekend, their respective K&N Pro Series participation may be happening ahead of whatever schedule they laid out for themselves a few years ago, but it could already be paying big dividends.

“We’ve missed two (races), but I think it’s still realistic to get Colin into the top 10 in points by the end of the year,” Hunt said. “I think top-10 finishes for him and his family, that’s their ultimate goal. That would be a good way to really put some good things in place for next season.”

Tickets for the whosyourdriver.org NASCAR K&N Twin 100s, which also includes twin 75-lap Late Model Stock races, are just $10 in advance until 5 p.m. Friday.  Tickets will be $15 at the gate. And, as is the case all season, children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 877.440.1540.

An autograph session for all drivers will be held trackside from 6:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Pre-race activities start at 6:40 p.m. and the first of twin 100-lap races for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series east competitors will get the green flag at 7 p.m. Grandstands will open at 4:30 p.m.

Media Contacts:
Mike Smith
Relevant Public Relations
423.914.3009
msmith@southbostonspeedway
msmith@prrelevant.com

 

 


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