INDIANAPOLIS – Carson Garrett will join the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series this year in a third KO Motorsports car, chasing rookie-of-the-year honors in the No. 15.
Garrett will be a teammate to Chase Stockon and fellow series rookie Paul Nienhiser. He is a standout with the Rocky Mountain Midget Ass’n and a three-time feature starter with the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series.
A 19-year-old Metro State University sophomore from Littleton, Colo., Garrett made a pair of Midwest Sprint Car Series starts for KO Motorsports late last year at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., where he and his family have deep roots.
Garrett’s mother lives 20 minutes from the Haubstadt track and his father is originally from nearby Evansville, Ind., just within earshot of the KO Motorsports shop.
“We raced our midgets out there at Haubstadt two years ago and they had their sprint cars out there that same night,” Garrett recalled. “They’re actually family friends of ours, and they came up to us and said I should get in one of their sprint cars at some point. We didn’t really think anything about it at the time, but my dad and I ultimately thought it would be a good idea to get more experience in a different kind of car.
“They’ve got a really good team, so we called them back, talked about some stuff and that’s what we decided to do. After racing their car the two times that I did, we did pretty good,” Garrett added. “I thought it would take a little more time to get comfortable in the car, but it went really well.”
Meanwhile, KO Motorsports’ team manager Kent Schmidt’s connection with the Garrett family goes back to his high school days.
“Carson’s dad was born and raised down here, and went to Gibson Southern High School, before they moved to Colorado,” Schmidt said. “Little did I know, come to find out, Carson’s grandpa was my driver’s education teacher in high school too. It’s weird how it all comes full circle.”
Garrett, prominently known for his midget racing exploits, finished as the runner-up in Rocky Mountain Midget points last season.
The family-owned midget will still make appearances from time-to-time at some of the marquee events on the schedule, but the main focus is on the sprint car for the upcoming season.
The initial plan for Garrett is to compete in all the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series events through the middle of the season, then evaluate where the team is and take it from there on whether to finish out the entire tour as a series rookie-of-the-year candidate.
Garrett will alternate his address between Indiana and his home state of Colorado this season where he continues his collegiate studies, majoring in business.
However, Garrett plans to make Indiana his residence for the summer as he chases the USAC tour with the team that won a pair of USAC races and the Indiana Sprint Week title this past year with Stockon at the controls.
“I have a lot of confidence coming into this season, especially with this team,” Garrett said. “They’ve been really successful these last couple years, especially with Chase. For me, I’m not really that nervous about it. I was pretty comfortable in one of their backup cars and they’re building me a new piece for me this year, so I’ve got a lot of confidence going into it, and I think it’ll be really good for both the team and I.”
Schmidt is a fan of what he’s seen and is highly anticipating Garrett’s arrival to the team this year, which starts during the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series opening weekend Feb. 11-13 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.
“Carson’s a gasser and he seems to be kind of a calculated gasser,” Schmidt noted. “He’s one of those guys who will let it all hang out but won’t put himself in trouble.
“I like that, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”