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Peachtree City driver speeds to success in NASCAR

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NASCAR Xfinity driver and former Peachtree City resident Garrett Smithley discusses with his crew chief before the Rinnai 250 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season. Smithley has gotten a lot of attention after a pair of top-ten finishes at restrictor plate race tracks, including a tenth place finish at Talladega Superspeedway this past weekend.

NASCAR Xfinity driver and former Peachtree City resident Garrett Smithley discusses with his crew chief before the Rinnai 250 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season. Smithley has gotten a lot of attention after a pair of top-ten finishes at restrictor plate race tracks, including a tenth place finish at Talladega Superspeedway this past weekend.

Lilly Carter

Lilly Carter

NASCAR Xfinity driver and former Peachtree City resident Garrett Smithley discusses with his crew chief before the Rinnai 250 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this season. Smithley has gotten a lot of attention after a pair of top-ten finishes at restrictor plate race tracks, including a tenth place finish at Talladega Superspeedway this past weekend.

Caylee Cicero, Staff Writer

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Former Peachtree City resident and current NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Garrett Smithley has been making headlines after a series of notable finishes this racing season. He currently drives the #0 Chevrolet Camaro for JD Motorsports full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Smithley’s excellent results have not only put a spotlight on himself but also his racing team.

When you have attention on you and your race team, it means you’re doing well.”

— Garrett Smithley

When you have attention on you and your race team, it means you’re doing well, so I love it,” Smithley said. “I feel like the more pressure on me, the better I perform.”

In the last NASCAR Xfinity race, the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway, Smithley finished tenth marking his second top-ten finish this season. Earlier this season, Smithley scored a fifth-place finish in the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway, the best finish of his Xfinity career.

It [placing in the top ten twice] is special for us,” Smithley said. “Whenever we can outperform where we are expected to run, it’s important to us, for team morale and for sponsors. This is a performance-based sport, so when you perform well it’s a really good thing.”

Smithley moved to Peachtree City in middle school and decided to pursue a career in racing after a trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway. Even as a high schooler he set his goals high and always knew he could become a NASCAR driver. His ultimate racing goal is to win in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Cup Series and become inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

I feel like the more pressure on me, the better I perform.”

— Garrett Smithley

I want to keep improving,” Smithley said. “ We are competitors. We’re racers. We want to do the best we can. Obviously after a 5th place finish, now we want a win which is incredibly difficult with our small team, but possible. We also want to make the playoffs. We are 17th in points, and the goal is to be 12th or better by the end of the regular season. It will be hard, but it’s possible.”

Even though Smithley and his team are more than happy with this season’s highs, celebrations in the racing world are shorted-lived with focus quickly shifting to the next week’s race. Smithley credits his success so far in his career to “hard work, dedication, and passion” and hopes to further achieve his goals through these.

There’s not a substitute for those three things [hard work, dedication, and passion] in anything you do,” Smithley said. “It took a lot of support from a lot of different people and a lot of money and sponsors, but having the dedication and passion for [racing] put me in the right opportunities to succeed.”

The next time Smithley can be seen racing in the Xfinity Series is this Saturday in the OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway. FS1 will broadcast the race starting at 1:30 pm.

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