getting down to business w/Scott Gardner

Scott Gardner has owned, co-owned and operated several successful drag racing facilities and is a past president of the International Hot Rod Association. He is the proprietor of Gardner Race Track Consultants, a member of the Motorsports Strategy Group. He can be reached through email at office@gardnerrtc.com

He’s got some explaining to do

I received a lot of phone calls after the announcement was made that I entered a partnership agreement with businessmen JJ Koehler and Doug Stringer with the Parts Plus, Strutmasters Top Fuel Dragster driven by Clay Millican. Most of the callers started the conversation by saying something on the lines of “What the hell were you thinking?” or “Have you gone crazy?” Very appropriate questions for anyone to ask that wouldn’t know the reasoning behind my decision. With that, I’m compelled to explain my motivations to enter the manic and expensive world of NHRA Top Fuel racing.


With the grace of God, some lucky breaks, and incredible support of family and friends I had found myself in a position that allowed me to use my skillset, energy and financial resources within this new business partnership. A mere 45 days ago, I never envisioned I would be interested in such an opportunity or that one would even exist, but that was before several pieces of a jigsaw puzzle came together. This new business opportunity would also allow me to continue with my consulting work with various track operators, other race team owners and sponsors.


Many of my goals are likely similar to other professional racing car owners in securing sponsorship, winning events and the NHRA Mello Yello Championship. However, that is where some of the similarities probably end. One of my additional goals, equally shared by my partners, is to give back through the sport that’s been our life’s work. I’m sure you’re thinking, what the hell does that mean? It’s pretty straightforward to say that we will strive to positively affect society, consumers and employees. We recognize the level of commitment it takes to win races and a championship but refuse to operate our company against the best interest of people. Furthermore, it’s imperative that we develop a philanthropic agenda. If you are not familiar with that phrase and its meaning, it’s empowering others through the process of education, training, and other support but not through direct welfare. Simply put, helping others to have successful well-adjusted lives within the structure of our business and/or the marketing of the Top Fuel dragster.


Some people might think that is a senseless agenda. However, for me it’s important when my life ends that I have left a mark that was a true benefit to mankind. While it wouldn’t be a bad thing if my tombstone read I was a good person, track operator, and a creditable race team owner, that’s not my ultimate goal here. It’s much more important to me to enter heaven and hear the Lord say 'Well done, good and faithful servant.’ That means I did what was expected with the God-given talents I was provided, and for me that will be though drag racing.   


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