| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Latrobe native competing in national racing circuit

Latrobe native Garrett Smithley recently finished 14th at Pocono while racing in the Automobile Racing Club of America circuit.

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

If there's such a thing as a home field in stock car racing, 21-year old Garrett Smithley has two.

Smithley recently began his career in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) circuit.

He moved to Georgia after spending the first five years of his life in Latrobe near his dad's family, but returned to Pennsylvania for his first two races at Pocono, where he finished a respectable 14th.

“The Pittsburgh area is absolutely home to me,” Smithley said. “I started racing in Georgia and graduated high school in Georgia, but it was a great experience to make my first big start in my home state at Pocono.”

His next race was Sept. 21 at Kentucky Speedway in his mom's home state.

“It just so happened that it worked out that way,” he said. “It was a really cool experience to have (my family) there for those three races.”

Smithley's family in Pennsylvania ended up getting the better show. He finished 26th in Kentucky after crashing with 39 laps to go.

“Racing is a sport that when you do well and you're up there winning, it's the highest of highs,” Smithley said, “but when something happens like it does in Kentucky, it's the lowest of lows. The highs and lows of racing are unimaginable.”

After the crash Smithley remained encouraged.

“I think it's just everything good that's happened so far,” Smithley said. “I get out of the car after a wreck and say, ‘You know what, I was here and I had a chance to do it.' ”

Drivers have to be constantly learning, both in and out of the car.

“Racing has changed so much over the years,” Smithley said, “and I joke all the time that I feel like I'm working a desk job like a businessman, rather than a racecar driver.”

Most of that time is spent trying to land a full sponsor. This has become increasingly difficult in recent years, but is key to climbing the stock car ladder, he said.

“Money is everything in NASCAR,” Smithley said. “It's totally changed from getting rides because of talent to getting rides because you either have a lot of money and resources from family standpoint, or lots of money and resources from a sponsor.”

Smithley believes focusing on and being confident in his four-year time table to reach the NASCAR Sprint Cup level will be the difference in accomplishing his goal.

“It's that kind of drive and the want to be motivated that separates the guys who make it from the ones who don't,” he said.

Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Burnett pitches well in farewell, but Pirates lose to Reds
  2. Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
  3. Pirates fans on edge as season again coming down to wild card
  4. Kessel addition, better health could have Pens scoring like it’s 1990s
  5. Alle-Kiski Valley PSSA assessment scores higher than state standards
  6. Are Pirates better positioned to win it all this postseason?
  7. Pitt holds off Virginia Tech in ACC opener
  8. Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell shrugs off Ravens WR’s comments
  9. Afghan charity hospital bombed; Defense Secretary Carter vows full investigation
  10. Penguins at a glance entering 2015-16 season
  11. Shaler man charged in death of girl, 6, not prosecuted in repeated alcohol cases