Former Central Valley High School basketball standout Garrett Sawyer is working through his freshman year at Walla Walla Community College where this season was preserved as a redshirt year. Not getting on the court for a game situation requires patience when practicing week in and week out.
Not so for Sawyer’s racing career as he returns home this weekend for the first of three Super Late Model races at Stateline Speedway. Starting with runs in the ICAR series, Sawyer has proven to be a natural driving talent following in his father’s footsteps. With many Northwest Modified race wins and championships, Tim Sawyer has passed his knowledge onto his son. Going straight to Late Model racing has been successful for the younger Sawyer, he noted. Being patient with the goals for the weekend is something Sawyer brings to the table from his basketball experiences, he added.
“Whenever we go out and race we always want to win the same as when our (WWCC) Warriors team takes the floor,” he said. “That’s why I race and play basketball. Our goals for this race will remain the same as they’ve been for the first two seasons I’ve been racing. We want to qualify as quick as we can and come race time take care of our car to be there at the end for a top-three finish if not better.”
At school, Sawyer is busy with studies and motorsports all wrapped into a tight schedule. Keeping up with the basketball team’s offseason workouts and the upcoming racing season while adding classes into a day is daunting, he explained.
“I start my days early with classes until midday. During a break I’m lifting weights nearly two hours, grab a quick lunch and then back to class again. Right now our basketball team is practicing for a few hours in the late afternoon before I come home, clean up, get some dinner while getting in some homework. Once that’s done I make a couple calls to be sure everything is lining up properly for the start of the racing season. It’s a hectic schedule but well worth it when we head to the track or while I’m on the practice floor.”
Teamwork, whether on the court or at the track, is an element that Sawyer understands all too well. Having success in basketball and racing stems from those and other traits, he said.
“There is a lot of teamwork that goes into both racing and basketball. Both sports take a tremendous amount of communication to be successful as well as hard work from everyone on the team. The only difference between the two is in one you’re trying to get a ball in the hoop and score more points than the other team. With racing you’re going as fast as possible trying to see that checkered flag fly first for you and the team.”
Sawyer’s first year at WWCC wraps up in mid-June then it’s a summer of racing and continuing to build towards playing time in the winter.
“This summer will definitely be busy. I’ll be getting up early to make it to the gym then going to work and then probably hit the gym again. I’m going to be sure to have time to enjoy my summer and be a kid with my friends while I still can as well. Then the race-car work comes in the evenings with the team as we prep for our upcoming races over the summer,” Sawyer explained.
The driver of the Westberg Advanced Engines/TK Construction Chevrolet continues his season with two more Super Late Model races at Stateline Speedway including the Idaho 200 and Inland Northwest Super Stock Association events at Spokane County Raceway.
Along with Sawyer, the region’s first Super Late Model event is expected to draw hotshoes Gary Lewis, Garrett Evans, Ryan Wells, David Garber, Braeden Havens, Blake Williams, Nicole Behar (fresh off her first career Super Late Model pole award earned last weekend at Hermiston, Ore.) and many more.
For weekend information log onto www.raceidaho.com