Alma High School student Brandon Garner takes focus being a racecar driver

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier

The races at Crawford County Speedway were canceled last weekend, and Brandon Garner is still ready to compete at the dirt track located north of Van Buren.

Garner, an incoming junior at Alma High School, primarily races at Crawford County Speedway but has also raced at nearby Tri-State Speedway just over the border into Oklahoma. He said both are fun tracks to race at.

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"You have to find that good land and hope for the best," Garner said. "You got to have skill too. You have to be focused on what you're doing, watch the other drivers and be prepared to sit for a long time. 

"Driving is a lot of learning, watching other drivers, and building off what they're doing."

Garner enjoys traveling, and with a number of race tracks within a three or four-hour drive of Alma, he enjoys most of them.

"I would like to go to NASCAR school, but I got a long way for that," Garner said. "I like racing, but I got to get school done, too."

Garner began with the Front Wheel Drive (FWD) class at the age of 13 and has moved up to the stock car class, Grand National, for this season.

With seven races under his belt, Garner is currently fifth in points (202) and is just seven points from tying for third with Cedarville's Charles Bently Jr.

"It's been pretty good so far. I would say," Garner said of the season. "There's also been some not-so-good spots. I'm still kind of learning."

Garner's highest finish was in his first year when he placed second overall in the FWD.

Racing is a family event as his dad, Jesse, had raced for the past 20 years and has recently gone into retirement.

"He may get out there a couple of times a year, but he's done," the younger Garner said. "He's helping me out. He may take the car around the track once and make sure everything is doing what it's supposed to be doing."

His uncle, Robbie Wiley, also races, and his older brother, Jesse Tyler, races and will compete in either the Grand National or the B Modified classes.

Garner defeated his brother only one time in the Grand National class this season. 

"I only beat him because his car messed up," Garner said. "I'll get another chance to race him."