Jake Garcia is looking to follow the path of fellow Georgia drivers like Chase Elliott and Chandler Smith through the Late Model ranks in the southeast for a chance at the higher levels of NASCAR. The 14-year-old Monroe, GA native spent his rookie season in the Pro Late Model ranks tackling some of the Southeast’s biggest tracks and stiffest competition, and it has paid dividends to this point in 2019, finding himself in the thick of multiple points battles.
He heads into this weekend’s Show Me the Money Series race at Montgomery Motor Speedway third in points, just behind Augie Grill and Casey Roderick. He is coming off a top-five finish at the Masters of the Pros at Memphis International Raceway two weeks ago, his second with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour this year. His recent success has him excited to go to the Alabama half-mile Saturday.
“I’m feeling good, we’ll see how it goes,” Garcia told Speed51.com. “We’ve been running good at Montgomery lately so it should be a good time.”
Garcia’s 2019 season has seen him pick up his first Pro Late Model win at Crisp Motorsports Park with a three-wide pass for the lead. Along with running third in the Show Me the Money Series points standing heading into the weekend, he owns the points lead at Crisp and is third in points in the Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series at Five Flags Speedway on the heels of two third-place finishes. He attributes his success so far this season to a bit of good luck.
“We’ve had some good luck and not very much bad luck,” he said. “It’s been going good, we’ve been running solid when we’ve went, so I can’t really complain.”
He has spent his second full season with a broader schedule that has included a trip north to Michigan for the Money in the Bank 150 and starts at Bristol Motor Speedway and Memphis International Raceway. That has been under the tutelage of 2002 Snowball Derby winner Ricky Turner, who has served as crew chief for current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott and most recently, Chandler Smith. He stated racing at Montgomery and other tracks in the southeast with Turner is the chance of a lifetime.
“It’s awesome because you get to race with big names and good drivers like Casey Roderick and Bubba Pollard and all the top Late Model drivers in the series,” he said. “Ricky does a great job setting up the car and he also helps me figure out how to drive it. He does a great job with it and he’s awesome.”
Garcia will look to continue his string of good runs at Montgomery Saturday night in the Saturday of Speed 125. With Saturday’s race being 25 laps longer than the usual 100 with the Show Me the Money Series, he says he will have to take the race slightly differently than what he normally would.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he stated. “We’ll have to run solid and have a good qualifying run and save our stuff for at the end.
Saturday’s Show Me the Money Pro Late Model event from Montgomery Motor Speedway will be streamed as part of Speed51’s Summer Thunder TV series for Premium Members of the Speed51 Network. Click here to join the Speed51 Network today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo