Walt Garrison is a true racer. Not only is he serious about getting behind the wheel, he’s collected wins along the way.
Garrison bought his first race car in 1999 and started racing in the Sportsman division at Beech Bend. He ran there until 2003, when he ventured south to Highland Rim, running the same car, also in the Sportsman division.
“I won my fair amount of races,” he said. “Later on, I drove a Sportsman car for Dale Bessett of Smith’s Grove, Ky. And then I got the opportunity to drive a Sportsman for Jimmy Chandler of Castalian Springs, Tenn.
Garrison drove for Chandler until 2011, when he left Chandler to drive for Randy Hulsey. Garrsion spend the 2012 season with Hulsey and then joined Kip O’Kelley — of O’Kelley Racing – at the end of 2012. He’s driven for O’Kelley since then.
For O’Kelley, Garrison has been piloting a Late Model, something he enjoys.
“I enjoyed owning my own car, but I do feel like I drive for someone more it has given me opportunity to dive better equipment and stuff I couldn’t afford if I had to pay for it,” he said.
Garrison said he’s always driven at Beech Bend and The Rim and doesn’t “have anything against Nashville, but I’d rather stay at The Rim. I love the short tracks. There’s more excitement and you do more work in the car. Plus, I cut my teeth there, grew up there, and I’d like to stay there.”
Garrison said he is driven to keep going out each week because of the approval and pride his friends, family and car owner has for him.
“They tell me I did a good job and that keeps me wanting to go each week,” he said. “The support of my family and friends is the reason I keep going. Especially my wife, Amanda Garrison.”
Garrison has a motto that drives his decisions, he said.
“I’ve always tried to would my grandmother be proud of me, and try to base decision off that,” he noted.
Over the years, he’s won 67 races and captured 53 poles.
“I’ve been pretty happy with it,” he said “I’ve given most of my trophies away to kids, sponsors, and car owners, but I kept my first trophy, my rookie awards and my fan favorite awards. I treasure them. I was in the running for fan favorite for two years at Highland Rim and won two times. That means the most to me.”
He finished in second place last year, just 20 back from the top spot.
Slightly superstitious, Garrison keeps four-leaf clovers in his wallet, but he said when he has a hard year, the desire “to work that much harder and put in more work than I ever did before” drives him.
Garrison’s sponsors include: OK Lawn Care, car owner, O’Kelley brothers Edwards Transmission, Beth A. Garrison Attorney At Law, My Racing Graphics (Dustin Hamlett).
Garrison’s crew members include Keith “Chzburger” Smith, Johnny Heatherly, Cody Heatherly and Aron Dorris.
For more information about Garrrison or O’Kelley Racing, visit their Facebook page at Facebook.com/O’Kelley Racing.