for Short Track Warriors —www.shorttrackwarriors.com
by Joe Dunn
At the age of 8 A.J. Garber got his start in racing, helping out on his Dad’s (Tony Garber) Late Model. Later dad had moved on to Open Wheel Modifieds driving for the Green Brothers, and AJ kept working and thinking about his future driving a race car.
At 18 he got his first chance at racing at Baxter (Tennessee Motor Speedway) in a Mini Stock. After two years in the Mini’s he moved up to the Open Wheel Modifieds, where 2007 was his second year. His home track is Crossville, but he has also raced at Clarksville. AJ is looking forward to 2008 and Crossville going back to Friday nights as this will enable him to also run at Clarksville on Saturday nights as he vies for the regional and national points in the UMP OWM class.
AJ looks at himself as a developing driver with a long future ahead of him. In his first 2 years he has not won a feature yet, but has managed to take the win in 3 heats so far. Like most young drivers his age (23) he sometimes dreams of a future in Nascar, but he is really happy running his Garber Construction Company / Rocky Hooten Logging Open Wheel. He is secure in this class and plans to stay with the OWM as long as he keeps racing on dirt. His Dad moved south a while back and now races OWM’s in Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. As the class grows in the south and more series develop there just may be some opportunities for some father son battles on the track in the future.
Rolling into the track on a race night, AJ’s major pit crew is his wife Leslie who jumps in helping him with the car. On a good night there are a handful of fans in the stands cheering him on and a few more friends in the pits. The hardest part of racing for AJ is getting the ‘Set Up’ right for each track. It is an ongoing project that never ends, but never stops the team.
If there were one thing that AJ could change in the local racing scene it would be to have better track preparation and maybe the chance of a more consistent surface at all of the tracks. With the season over and winter looming, he will be taking more time to get the car just right for the 2008 season. Race fans keep an eye out for AJ and his white #70 at both Crossville and Clarksville next year.