The second half of 2014 has seen Mike Garvey turn the corner and really start to make some noise in the southeast Late Model scene. After winning a race out at Revolution Park Speedway (LA), Garvey seems almost unbeatable having won at Mobile, Five Flags and most recently South Alabama Speedway in the Alabama Pro 125. The Alabama Pro victory was his sixth of the season with several weeks left to go.
Garvey started fifth and quickly worked his way forward. He rode around with NASCAR Nationwide Series point leader Chase Elliott, who was a surprise late entry to the event. Elliott won the race a year ago and was looking for a repeat performance.
Garvey made his move to the lead and held raw Pro Late Model rookie William Byron to get the victory. Justin South was third, Roger Adkins, Jr. was forth and Elliott wound up fifth with fender damage from a late-race tangle.
“People have been saying that we are really good with our Pro (Late Model),” said Garvey. “However in our last handful of races ether Pro or Super we have been no worse than third. We had the same setup under the car at South Alabama as we did at Pensacola a few weeks back and it worked.
“I’m glad we took the lead when we did. Track position was key and the end of the race me, the guy who finished second and Justin South were all pretty even. Had we not taken the lead earlier then we would have been second or third.”
Garvey didn’t even know who had finishes second, but the name William Byron will likely stick with him if the performances keep coming. Byron, a Late Model Stock Car regular in a Daniel Hemric-prepared Pro Late Model at South Alabama, was impressive all weekend.
“He ran very good, said Garvey of Byron. “He was fast from practice on Friday night. He did a great job was very fast and very consistent. Towards the end of the race when we passed him I really didn’t think I had to worry about him anymore, but he never went away.”
William Byron maybe knew to Pro Late Models, but he learned quickly.
“Mike Garvey was tough,” said Byron. “We could not get around him at the end. We had a strategy to save our stuff until late in the race and it worked well. Overall it was a great learning experience working with Daniel Hemric. I am so excited for the next race with then because this one went so well.”
Now Garvey will look to the next one as it’s a chance to win the All American 400 for a third time. Only Jeff Purvis is a three-time winner of the big race. From there, Garvey is also eyeing success during the Snowflake 100 and Snowball Derby weekend in December at Five Flags.
“We feel good about our chances right now,” said Garvey. “We beat Bubba (Pollard) a few weeks ago and we were running lap times with Chase Elliott at the end this past weekend so we will see come Derby time. We have the All American up before that and I like that Ricky Brooks is going as the tech man and I feel we have as good as a shot as anyone to win.”
– By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Operations Manager. Twitter: @Elgin Traylo