|09/27/23||In the Pits with Makenna and Gracie Crocker|
|09/19/23||In the Pits with Lane Christensen|
|09/12/23||In the Pits with Gavon Veach|
|09/06/23||In the Pits with Kaeden Ballos|
|08/29/23||In the Pits with Nathan Lyons|
|08/22/23||In the Pits with Joel and Jack Smith|
In the Pits with Gavon Veach
The Kid with the Mullet. That is what Gavon Veach is known as around the track. He started playing baseball and basketball, but after an injury, he's become a third-generation racing driver. Starting in quarter midgets, Veach has moved from Bandoleros to Legend Cars in 2023 and has more podium finishes in his sight before next season. One day, he hopes to have a career like Kevin Harvick, competing for victories into his 40s, but he knows patience and sometimes going slow is the fastest way to victory lane!
Hometown: College Grove, Tennessee
Division: Young Lions
Team: Team GVR
Favorite Car Color Scheme: Anything Blue on it
Favorite Candy: Snickers
1. What’s your favorite thing to do in Nashville?
Probably going to the Fairgrounds, even if we’re not racing. We’ll watch the Late Models race or something else that is running that weekend at the track.
2. How did you get your start in racing?
My granddad and my dad grew up racing. I just followed in their footsteps once I got a little older. I started in quarter midgets and then ran Bandoleros for three years. Now I’m running Legends.
3. What made you want to do racing over other sports?
I actually grew up playing baseball and basketball, but I ended up throwing my shoulder out in baseball a couple of times. The doctors told us I can either get surgery to fix my shoulder and see if I’ll be able to play again or I could quit playing baseball in general. We elected to quit playing baseball and find something else. Then I found racing and bonded with my family's history in racing. I actually had a great uncle who owned some quarter midgets and I chose to do that because it brought our family closer together.
4. How have you learned to become a better driver from your family?
I’ve learned one of the most important things is to have patience. Not everything is going to come to you in your first season in anything. It takes time. You have to learn the ins and outs of the car and the different tracks. You also have to learn from the people and make relationships. You have to talk to people. You have to want it in this sport. They taught me a lot about how to grow on my own as well. Patience is what I learned the most from it all.
5. On social media you're a big advocate of the mullet. What inspired the look and would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I would. There are not many people out there that rock a mullet. Honestly, I don’t really know what inspired it. I got it cut like this in seventh grade and I’m going into my junior year in high school now. I’ve had it ever since. People at home around the track know me as the kid with the mullet, so I’m going to stick with it.
6. How has racing changed your perspective on life and have you learned any valuable lessons from it?
Honestly, it’s kind of ironic but you have to take things slower sometimes. Obviously, this is the fastest sport in the world. Through that, I’ve been able to learn that you have to take things slow because if not, you might miss them.
7. What’s the best race you’ve ever driven?
It would have to be last September at Highland Rim Speedway in the Bandolero division. It was actually my first race back in our backup car. We call it the gray car. We completely rebuilt it after I had a flip last July at Huntsville Speedway. We had to completely rebuild the car, so we were going into this race blind. We only had a couple of practice laps with the car. We showed up, practiced, qualified, and ended up starting outside the pole. I drove from the outside to the lead taking green to the checkered flag to flag and winning the race. I had some stiff competition that was right behind me the entire race. It was definitely one of those moments where it made you feel good inside.
8. Out of all the tracks you’ve raced, what is the best to drive on?
Huntsville Speedway is the best track with a Bandolero. Because it’s a banked quarter-mile so you’re flying, you're not using any brake so you can roll the car really easily. In a Legend Car, I’m learning that flat quarter-mile tracks are easier to tackle, so I would prefer the Fairgrounds over Huntsville or any of the banked tracks.
9. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Bad drivers on the road. Interstates are bad, but early-morning people heading to work are terrible.
10. Who is a retired driver that you looked up to?
Would have to be between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Both of them came from a little town out in the middle of nowhere and no one really knew who they were. They got pulled into the top series in NASCAR and made a name for themselves. Jeff won all of his championships and Jimmie won seven. Now they are who they are. That’s my life goal.
11. How have you improved on your driving within the last year?
Just making laps. I’ve learned with Bandoleros and Legends, the more laps you get and the more seat time you get under your belt, the easier it’s going to come to you to understand the car and the track that you're at. Just talking to people around me and other drivers trying to learn from them and taking in anything I can.
12. What do you want to improve on before moving up from the Young Lions Division?
Right now, I’m hoping to have a couple of podium finishes to cap off the season. Continuing the consistency that I’ve been on and hopefully running up front the rest of the season.
13. For people who don’t race, how would you explain the components of having a good car?
You’ve got to have a really good set up and you have to know the basics of how to drive a race car. I like to say set up is 95 percent of it, driver 4 percent and mentality is 1 percent.
14. Who is an upcoming driver in NASCAR that you think will have the most success in the future?
I’d probably go with my boy Willy B (William Byron). He’s already in the Cup Series now, but he’s still newer compared to most of them.
15. What do you like to do outside of the track that not a lot of people know about?
Outside of the track, I’m actually heavily involved in my school's FFA program (Future Farmers of America). Along with being a third-generation racer, I’m a fourth-generation beef cattle. We own a four-generation long beef cattle farm. Beef cattle involves finding some good head and you want to start with some calves. Start with a bull and a heifer. Get a calf, get them raised well, and multiple them from there. That’s another family operation that we have going on. We help out as much around the farm as we can besides racing. I take part in my FFA program helping out as much as I can. Especially when school gets to starting back, then I’ll be 100% involved again.
16. What’s the biggest accident that you’ve been in?
Last week I believe, would have been a year. We were at Huntsville Speedway running a Bando race. It was a loaded competition and we were fighting for second. Coming off of turn two, there was a slower car ahead of me, and the car just unloaded and shot full speed head-on into the inside concrete retaining wall. I actually hit it, went up in the air, flipped, barrel-rolled twice, and landed up on all fours.
17. How do you see your racing career panning out in the next couple of years?
We’re going to run Legends as long as we can, trying to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. We’re going to travel a lot with Legends. We’re going to go to a lot of different places and meet a lot of different people. From there, we’re going to follow the local racing pyramid. Hopefully, we’re going to get a late model in the next couple of years and do some testing with that. In a year or two maybe. From there, try to get my name out there and see what opportunities come my way. I would love to make a full-time career out of it. I would like to be one of the Kevin Harvick’s where I’m getting late 40s and I’m still fighting for wins every Sunday. That would be my goal in life to just go as far and as long as I can go with it [racing].