Athens Academy Sophomore Has a Need for Speed


Jake Garcia races down the track at Super Late Model Bristol Motor Speedway on June 27, 2020.

Connor Xie, Guest Writer

Ever wonder what it’s like to drive exceeding speeds of 200 miles per hour against forty-two other contestants? Well, this is the everyday life for Athens Academy junior Jake Garcia.

 24-7-365, Garcia can be found on the track perfecting his craft and growing his love for an activity that positively consumes his life.

“When Jake was only 18 months old, he would watch the NASCAR races on TV and race his Hot Wheels cars. We noticed he would make a race out of anything like paper clips, sugar packets, etc. So, his Dad was going to have him into dirt go karts. His first race was right after his 5th birthday,” Garcia’s mother Cecilia said.

With prestigious wins in events like the Alabama 200, 2020 Fall Brawl 100, and Spring Explosion 100, Garcia is only getting better. In these super-late model races, he’s always the youngest one competing against people twice his age or even professionals. 

This isn’t an easy life, though. Racing takes up all of Garcia’s free time. Missing school, juggling work, and maintaining straight A’s surely takes a toll on a young teenager’s life. Racing 30 weeks out of the year, and traveling up to 7 hours away each time, is not only hard on Garcia, but his parents, too. 

My parents are my number one supporters. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them. …They are the reason I can go to ACAD and pursue my dreams.

— Jake Garcia

Cecilia and Stevie Garcia’s life revolves around their son’s racing schedule. With little time at home and for friends, every day they sacrifice for their son. 

“My parents are my number one supporters. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them. Since I just got my license, they don’t have to drive me everywhere, which takes a lot of stress off them. I’m very grateful for their love and support. They are the reason I can go to ACAD and pursue my dreams,” Garcia said. 

This tough life has strengthened Garcia to become the person he is today. For him, racing is not only a sport, but a lifestyle.

“Through the years, I believe racing has helped to instill in Jake that hard work, determination,  and a willingness to learn can help you in every aspect of life… Even though racers compete against each other, they also help one another sharing parts, advice and assisting each other’s teams in pit stops. Racing has taught Jake how important it is to help others, care for others, and be happy for the success of others, as well as himself,” Garcia’s mother said. 

Though Garcia’s life is hectic, and constantly consumed with racing activities, he would never change it. He plans to keep on this track and eventually go pro, but if he doesn’t, Garcia’s family knows his versatility and diligence will get him far in life no matter what the future holds for this young prodigy.