PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The heartache of continually struggling at the Snowball Derby is starting to weigh heavily on veteran Super Late Model competitor Mike Garvey.
Garvey started his 12th Derby on Sunday afternoon but completed only 11 laps before dropping out with an engine failure. It was his second blown motor of the weekend after the Tracy Goodson Racing team lost one during final practice on Friday before qualifying.
Garvey remains confident in his engine package but admitted that he and his team have to find a solution over the next few weeks.
"We haven't looked at it yet," Garvey told SB Nation after the race. "We'll take it back to the shop and see what happened. It just started tightening up on me. We had our oil lines squeaked but obviously we have a problem to address.
"Grant (Enfinger) ran our other car and finished (second) but he was down a cylinder. So I don't know what the issue is. The motors are good motors but I don't know what keeps happening.
The race served as a snapshot of Garvey's career in the prestigious Snowball Derby. His 35th-place was his 10th finish outside of the top-20 in 12 career starts, remarkable given his championship credentials, leaving the 1990 All-American Challenge Series champion feeling crestfallen.
"It really is frustrating," Garvey said. "You've got to finish this race. You've got to run more than 20 or 30 laps. It's very frustrating to come down here and to put so much effort into this program and at Tracy Goodson's expense. It's heartbreaking."
Another poor result in the Derby following a season of so many malfunctions and missed chances even has Garvey considering retirement.
"I don't even know if I'll keep racing or where we'll race or even if I'd go back to consulting and working on cars when it's this frustrating."
While full-time retirement seems unlikely for Garvey, such a decision would see him complete a career that has seen him win Late Model championships, two victories in the All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville and having made starts in all three NASCAR national divisions.