PTC’s Smithley finishes 18th at Talladega

Garrett Smithley had a strong finish at Talladega. Photo/Garrett Smithley Racing

Peachtree City native and NASCAR hopeful Garrett Smithley in his first ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) start of 2014 finished solidly in 18th place in his No. 11 Goodwill Ford Fusion at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Ala. at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 May 3.

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers teamed with Smithley to “drive” donations in the month of April to help fund career services for U.S. military veterans. The organization has nine career centers throughout West Georgia and East Alabama. In honor of Smithley’s performance at Talladega, Goodwill will continue to accept donations over the next two weeks which will also go to fund career services for military veterans.

In an uncharacteristically clean race, there was only a single caution flag involving a two-car crash during the 200 mile/76 lap race on the 2.66 mile track, NASCAR’s biggest.

Smithley remarked, “I was waiting for the 'big one' (multi-car crash) that usually happens at the end of the race and it just never came. We were on pace for a Top 10 finish and in a great position to avoid the wreck and it just didn’t happen, but I’m happy for both Goodwill and car owner, Wes Gonder. We had a good finish and brought the car home with not even a scratch and the entire team was pleased with that!” Smithley was averaging 180 m.p.h. a lap on the 33 degree high-banked turns throughout the race.

Team manager Andy Woolgar said, “I am very happy with the outcome of the Talladega race. Garrett performed impeccably both in and out of the car. Wes Gonder Racing ran a tight team, with a great looking car and no mistakes all weekend. I feel this result will help propel Garrett’s career to the next level.”

Garrett Smithley is a 2010 graduate of McIntosh High School in Peachtree City and is a lead instructor for the Richard Petty Driving Experience, based at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Follow him on Facebook at Garrett Smithley Racing, his website; and on Twitter @garrettSmithley.

Smithley is 22 years old and has been behind the wheel of a race car since he was 15. He has raced in the Menards ARCA Racing Series twice at Pocono International Raceway and Kentucky Speedway and now at Talladega Superspeedway.

He is a strong supporter of U.S. military veterans. His contributions include sending custom care packages to members of the armed forces and providing moral support through letters, e-mails and Skype to those serving overseas.

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