Cracks Top 20 at Legendary Talladega Superspeedway
Kannapolis, NC (May 6, 2014) – 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 #11 Goodwill Ford Fusion at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 on Saturday, May 3. Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers (Goodwill SR) 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 76 lap, 200 mile 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 10top ten 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.
Leading up Prior to the race, Smithley greeted fans at three area Goodwill SR stores with his #11 car to help drive in donations. On race day, Goodwill guests journeyed to Talladega from the Columbus, GA headquarters to get an up-close and personal look at the #11 Goodwill Ford on pit road. All were treated to a post-race Kentucky Derby themed lunch presented by GSR and Chef Tina Miller of Lexington, Kentucky.
GSR 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."
Talladega also gave GSR a great avenue to introduce its partners to the 2014 season! Garrett remarked, “Thanks to everyone who made it possible, Goodwill Southern Rivers, Zuma Films, Main Performance PC, Simpson Racing Products, Xelk Visual Communications, JDR Graphics, DJ Sting, King Of Chins Productions, Hastings Graphix, Racerboost Media Solutions, and Tigers Eye Racing.” GSR would also like to thank all of the fan and supporters who make this possible.
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; www.garrettsmithley.com and on Twitter @garrettSmithley.
About Garrett Smithley
Garrett 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. In addition to racing professionally, Smithley is also a lead instructor for the Richard Petty Driving Experience, based at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. 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.
About Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, Inc.
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers (Goodwill SR) is one of 165 independent community-based Goodwill nonprofits across the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., Goodwill SR serves 50 counties in West Georgia and East Alabama with free services such as job coaching, access to computers, and skills classes to facilitate job placement and advancement. These programs are made possible through your donations of gently used clothing and household goods that are sold at 13 Goodwill Retail Stores in Georgia and Alabama. For more information about Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, visit www.gwisr.org and Facebook.com/goodwillSR