Bakersfield, CA - Mike Garvey is a name that many long-time short track racing fans are familiar with. But the younger generation my not be accustomed to hearing that name. Garvey will be returning to where he got his asphalt career started, hoping to remind his former home track fans of his successful career, while showing his talent to a younger generation by scoring a $10,000 victory in the SRL National “Betten Baker Money in the Bank 150” at Berlin Raceway (MI) on June 8th.
Garvey will be driving one of the Senneker Performance Super Late Models that Friendswood, TX driver Chris Davidson pilots. Garvey has been helping his friend and client for many years, and it was Davidson who was the impetuous for his Berlin entry.
“Chris doesn’t really excel at the track, and that’s where I grew up, so it was completely his idea”, Garvey explained. “He says, “Were going and you’re racing those two races”. I said “Okay”, and that’s how it came about, just like that.”
The choice to put Garvey behind the wheel of the Davidson Electric Chevy was made easier by Garvey’s record at the 7/16-mile. It was the first paved track at which he participated weekly, scoring double digit wins at the facility. In the ASA National Tour, he scored four top-five and seven top-10’s in only 10 events. Nine of the 10 were in the top dozen, in events that averaged well over 30 cars. The track is one that Garvey views with fondness, as he recalled.
“I love it, as that is where I grew up racing weekly. It has a fond place in my heart. You always want to go back to where you started. The first asphalt racing I did was there. It has so many memories from the start. It is a place were a lot of people have a lot of trouble with it, because it is so different. I want to go, and Chris has a hard time there, so there you go.”
The current Pensacola, FL driver was once one of the most successful drivers in Late Model competition across the country. He had 21 wins in the now defunct American Speed Association (ASA) National Tour, scoring the most season wins on three occasions. From 1999 to the series close in 2004, Garvey never finished worse than sixth in the championship standings, finishing third in that final season. Garvey was the NASCAR All American Challenge Series Champion in 1990, a predecessor to the NASCAR Southeast Tour Series, which began the following season. Garvey has wins in the All-Pro Super Series, X-1R Pro Cup Series, NASCAR Southeast Series, ARTGO Challenge Series, and USAR Hooters Late Model Series to name just a few. He has two victories in the prestigious All American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway (TN) and multiple big event wins.
But due to a back injury sustained in 2016, he has made only six Late Model starts since. The result of the injuries was a lingering numbness, from nerve damage in his legs. Garvey has made a slow recovery, while concentrating on his business MGR (Mike Garvey Racing), over the last several years. He has had the opportunity to turn a few laps at Berlin however, since his last ASA start in 2004.
“I have another guy that I help back in Chicago, Jim Weber, so I went over there and practiced his car a little bit, actually two times”, Garvey described. “His first race, I actually ran the race. I was up to fifth when the power steering went out. So, I have ran there just a little bit. Not a lot, but I can kinda understand where we are at.”
Garvey does have experience with the SRL as well, as one of those six starts was at the 2021 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series “All-Star Showdown 200” at Irwindale Speedway (CA). He came away with a good impression of the way the organization conducted their events, as he recanted the experience.
“I love it! They are so professionally run, and I love everybody and love the way it is so structured in time. Everywhere we go we are constantly walking around asking what is going on, what’s going on. With the SRL, we don’t have to do that. We can look at the schedule, it’s right out there. Us folks as racers are always told to rush, rush, rush, hurry, hurry, hurry in everything we are supposed to do. Then the racetracks can be an hour or an hour and a half late. It drives me nuts. I love the fact that the SRL runs a first class, professional, on-time, by the book series. I like that and I think it means a lot.”
Garvey’s race and qualifying results were not what he had hoped for at Irwindale, but he had a great time, transferring through the Last Chance Qualifier and racing his way through the field, before a halfway break mishap. It was his last start just over a year ago.
“I have not run any races since then”, Garvey stated. “I qualified so bad, and I didn’t understand everyone was going to run the bottom. But it actually made it fun because we started 31st and moved up to 10th, when we broke the lug nuts on the pit stop. I was having a blast and it made it more fun passing. Qualifying doesn’t matter anyway, and I just have more fun passing people, I really do.”
Garvey was thankful to Davidson for the opportunity to race at Irwindale, as well as the upcoming “Money in the Bank 150” and “Battle at Berlin 250”.
“I would like to thank Chris and Davidson Electric, as he is the one making it all happen. I would also like to thank Senneker Performance, Rocket Shocks Fabrication, who make our shocks.”
The “Money in the Bank 150” will pit some of the best Super Late Model drivers in the country against the unique track, as well as each other for $10,000 on Wednesday June 8th. The event will pay $1,200 to start as over 30 Super Late Models are already entered for Round #2 of the SRL National series. 29 cars participated at Citrus County Speedway (FL) with Ty Majeski beating Bubba Pollard to the line for the $15,000 win. The next event currently scheduled for the SRL National will be the $30,000-to-win “Battle at Berlin 250”, at the same facility on August 10th. minimum of $1,500 will go to each starter.
-SRL Media Press Release