Gardner leads the street stock in points to Grundy. On his heels? These wheels belong to Scott, his father. ‘It’s crazy.’ – Chicago Tribune

Perhaps the rarest father-son achievement at Grundy County Speedway happened in 2012, when Pat Kelly was the last model champion and Nathan Kelly won the street stock title.

An equally unique father-son feat plays out in 2022.

Scotty Gardner, 22, tops the street stock point leaderboard. With four points nights remaining, the closest competitor with a chance of catching him is his father.

Scott Gardner, 48, was the 2021 street stock champion.

Back to back, father and son?

“That would be awesome,” Scotty Gardner said. “It was my goal last year to win it all, but I had a few tough nights and it was kind of a downfall.

“After my dad won it, I was like, ‘Okay. It’s over, old man. I put in all the work during the offseason. It’s time to catch it.

Scotty expects no break from Dad while he completes the task. He doesn’t want it.

“It’s crazy,” Gardner said. “It’s still very early, although I know it’s really not the case. But you better believe he gives it his all every week.

“I told him to do it, and he promised me he was going to give me everything he had. So if I succeed this season, I beat the best.

The Blue Island native entered Friday night’s program with a 991-932 lead over his father. Randy Weese finished third with 891 points.

Scotty was the fastest qualifier on Friday night but suffered mechanical issues as he led with seven laps to go in the final. Shortly after, Scott Gardner passed Randy Weese for the win.

Scott Gardner was one of the top street stock competitors at Raceway Park in the late 1990s. He won the street stock title in 2000.

He cut back on his running activities in later years when Scotty became interested in baseball.

“When I started playing travel ball, my mom and dad were more concerned with helping me out so I could play,” Scotty said. “They actually sold their tow vehicle and downsized so we could travel more often.

“His hindsight on his races had everything to do with him being there with me, being a great dad.”

Scotty Gardner’s rise to the top of the street stock market rankings has been swift since his rookie season in 2020.

It brought out a renewed competitive fire – and noticeable pride – in his father.

“I’m especially proud of everything Scotty has accomplished and improved over the past two years, without his dad holding his hand,” Scott said. “The first year was me, all his uncles, his mother (Kathy) and our friends helping him and doing everything.

“Then he entered his second season, and he got really serious. Now he’s really excited about the points, and to see him aiming for a championship is incredible.

If it comes down to a few points on the last night?

“Oh, that would be really interesting,” Scott Gardner said with a laugh. “I can’t even imagine. You might want to ask Kathy about this.

Dominating DJ: Accumulating points was no problem for model division leader DJ Weltmeyer.

Racking up wins has been a tougher proposition.

“Absolutely,” Weltmeyer said. “Being consistent is usually the hardest part. But these guys are so close.

“We got a lot of top fives. We do things every night to make certain things finally fit together for a long time.

Southtown Daily

Southtown Daily

Twice a week

News from the southern suburbs delivered every Monday and Wednesday

Weltmeyer was masterful in Friday’s 30-lap feature, passing Larry Schuler on lap 17 and sailing from there to his second win.

“Larry was fast,” Weltmeyer said. “I always joke with him that he beats me by about a hundredth of a second every night in qualifying. He ran me hard and clean, and luckily we got a line on him.

Schuler held onto second place ahead of Jim Weber, Eddie Hoffman and Anthony Danta.

More likely: Kevin Murphy ended a streak of bad luck with a smooth ride in the 25-lap Midwest MASS Sportsman Challenge. Murphy passed Sean Matthuis on lap six and had no takers. Marqus Hoover finished second, ahead of David Einhaus, Clay Curts and Matthuis.

“Yeah, gosh, we couldn’t pay for luck here,” Murphy said. “We were in the lead a few weeks ago and we broke the rear. We just had a little trouble with some random elements.

“Feels good to finally break through and get one.”

Zach Chanda beat out Dan Schmeissing and Cameron Preisler in the 4-cylinder feature.

Back To Top