Driver Profile

Quick Info

HometownCorona, CA
Birthday4/5

Classes

410 Sprints - Non-Winged
360 Sprints - Non-Winged
Midgets

Driver Bio

Ronnie Gardner

About Ronnie

So you want to learn more about three time champion Ronnie Gardner, expecting the story you’ve read a million times; the driver has been racing their entire lives starting in go carts or quarter midgets!? That is not Ronnie Gardner’s story……

Ronnie was born on April 5th 1988 in Fountain Valley, CA. With racing in his blood on both his Mother and Fathers side dating all the way back to the late twenties early thirties. His Great Uncle Chester Gardner who ran Open Wheel cars and many Indy 500's. His Grandfather Jack Gardner was CRA Champion in 1954 and his Uncle Jack Gardner Jr. raced with the CRA in the early 1980's. Ronnie's Grandfather on his mother’s side Ronnie Duman raced open wheel cars in the Midwest in the late 50's and 60's winning many USAC races and racing in the Indy 500 through 1968. Knowing Ronnie’s background you’d think he’d have been put in a race car almost as soon as he could walk. This was not the case.

Ronnie battled with his weight for as long as he can remember. His Dad didn’t believe it was safe to put him in a car; while overweight. That could never keep Ronnie from a race track though as he spent most of his childhood in the stands and ultimately changed his life forever. With the kind of motivation that can only be perceived as Sylvester Stallone running up the stairs in Rocky, Ronnie lost ONE HUNDRED pounds over a three year period! Thoughts of getting strapped into a race car and the sound of the engine in his ears as his ultimate end goal. He was determined and up to the challenge.

At twenty years old and a hundred pounds lighter Ronnie finally got his shot to discover if the racing in his blood really did exist. Almost a decade later than most drivers have the opportunity to hear the roar of an engine, vibration of the track and power in your hands; Ronnie strapped in at Victorville Raceway for the first race of his life. With nerves and a sense of belonging Ronnie finished in eighth place in his family owned sprint car. Although Ronnie would only race one more time in 2008, he now felt racing in his veins.

No longer able or satisfied to just stay in the stands, Ronnie started his first full USAC/CRA season in 2009. From that first green flag it was obvious there was something to be noticed in the new driver. Ronnie was recognized as the National Hall of Fame Rookie of the Year as well as the Co Rookie of the Year in the USAC/CRA series.

Despite his recognizable first season 2010 through 2012 would prove to be difficult for Ronnie. By mid-2010 money became sparse and his family owned operation would be limited to just a part time schedule. He would spend those years jumping from car to car for any chance to experience the sound of tires on dirt. His competitive need paid off when he achieved his first ever main event win on April 17th 2010 at Victorville Raceway; the very same track that showed him his first ever race through the eyes of a driver. Ronnie would go on to win a second race in 2010 at what seemed to be his lucky track Victorville Raceway.

Ronnie’s first introduction to midget racing was one for the books, everything that could go wrong did! It was January of 2010, Pat Fly offered him a ride at Chili Bowl Nationals in OK with RJ Johnson as his teammate. Ronnie crashed in his heat race as well as the C. On main event night he started in the K main which he won but was unable to make the last transfer spot for the I main. To say his first time in a midget was discouraging would be an understatement.

Ronnie wouldn’t be able to drive a midget again until a year later in January of 2011. A coworker had a bent chassis that was supposed to be scrapped. Ronnie, his dad and two coworkers got to work with straightening and repair. He then packed up the now straight chassis to Tony Everhart’s shop who helped Ronnie with parts, an engine and finances! With a newly built older car Ronnie was off to Chili Bowl for his second time in a midget. His Chili Bowl curse from last year seemed to follow him as the car he had never driven before wouldn’t start for practice on Monday. Hoping for a little luck the car fired off on Tuesday, after a close heat and qualifying. Ronnie ultimately worked his way through the ranks to finish off the weekend in the C main; a far cry from the previous year’s J main finish!

In September of 2011 eight months after Chili Bowl; Ronnie trekked to Calistoga as a crew member for Josh Ford Motorsports. On Saturday Josh’s Dad told him if nothing happened to the car on night one, Ronnie could drive the backup car on night two. Ronnie had never driven a midget outdoors before but he was going to do everything he could to get in that seat! With a lot of luck Ronnie was in the seat on night two where he qualified 2nd, started 5th in the main and finished with an impressive podium of 3rd place. Not bad for a driver who had never been able to see the sky from his car before.

The start of 2012 proved you should NEVER say no to a party! At a season opening celebration Ronnie formally met Mitchel Johnson who was talking to him about the fact that he had just bought a midget. Mitch had two different drivers lined up for two races but wondered if Ronnie wanted to give it a shot for the third race at Ventura. Ronnie couldn’t pass up the opportunity. In April; racing for the first time for team SIX8 Motorsports Ronnie won his heat and finished 2nd. Ronnie would win three feature events that year. After multiple podium finishes with SIX8 it was now June 16th at Ventura raceway for The Battle at the Beach, which would end with Ronnie’s first Midget main event win! That night Mitch asked Ronnie if he’d be interested in driving for team SIX8 full time.

2013 would prove to be the breakout season Ronnie had been waiting for. He managed to win thirteen races that season for SIX8 with a streak in July through August of five straight wins. He wrapped up the season with the USAC Western Midget Championship, Western Midget Driver of the year and VRA championship!

Ronnie would continue to win the 2014 and 2015 USAC Western Championships with his team SIX8 Motorsports, tying him with his hero Sleepy Trip for most championships won in a row.

Now here we are at the start of the 2016 season, the target Ronnie has his eye on is a 4th championship to set his own record. We are three races into the season and he has won them ALL becoming the first driver in the 30 year series history to win the first three races in a season. Who knows what the future holds for this talented, determined and some would say very lucky driver. But I can tell you one thing it’ll be exciting to watch!

Career Highlights

2017
- 1/13 3rd place Friday Night Prelim at CBN Nationals
- 1/14 9th place A main finish at CBN Nationals
- 3/11 Feature Win at Bakersfield Speedway
- 5/13 Feature Win at Ventura Speedway
- 6/17 Feature Win at Kern County Raceway Park (KRCP)
- New Track Record Holder at KRCP time- 12.313
- 30 Lap Track recorder holder at KRCP
- 16 in final 2017 Indiana Midget Week points
- 3 Heat Race Wins
- 2 Fast Time Awards
- 1 Hard Charger Award

2016
- 3/23 Feature Win at Placerville Speedway
- 4/30 Feature Win at Bakersfield Speedway
- 5/21 Feature Win at Ventura Speedway
- 6/25 Feature Win at Keller Auto Speedway
- 10/08 Feature Win at Thunderbowl Raceway
- 11/21 Feature Win at Bakersfield
- 116 Feature laps led
- 12 Top Five finishes
- 13 top Ten finishes
- 5 Fast time awards
- 8 Heat Race Wins
- 1 Hard Charger
- 2016 USAC Western Midget Champion
- 2016 Western Midget National Driver of the Year

2015
- 3/21 Feature Win at Bakersfield Speedway
-7/3 Feature Win at Santa Maria Speedway
- 45 Feature Lap Leader
- 8 Top Five Feature Finishes
-10 Top Ten Feature Finishes
-3 Heat Race Wins
- 2015 Three Time USAC Western Midget Champion

2014
- USAC Western Midget Over All Champion
- USAC Western Midget Dirt Champion
- National Western Midget Driver of The Year
- Feature win at Petaluma Raceway
- Feature win at Lemoore Raceway
- Track Record at Silver Dollar Speedway
- Track Record Petaluma Raceway

2013
- USAC Western Midget Over All Champion
- USAC Western Midget Dirt Champion
- National Western Midget Driver of the Year
- VRA Midget Champion
- USAC vs VRA Battle at the Beach Champion
- 13 Race Wins (Petaluma, Watsonville, Plaza Park, Silver Dollar, Bakersfield and Ventura)
- Track Record Petaluma Raceway
- 6 Fast Times (Petaluma, Bakersfield, Calistoga and Silver Dollar)

2012
- VRA Battle at the Beach Champion
- 3 Feature Wins

2011
- USAC/CRA Most Improved Driver
- Sprint Car Main Event Win at Victorville
- Set 2 Fast Time Records at Perris Auto Speedway
- Trophy Dash Winner at Perris Auto Speedway

2010
- First Career Sprint Car Main - - Event Win at Victorville
- Sprint Car Main Event Win at Victorville

2009
- National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Rookie of the Year
- USAC/CRA Co Rookie of the Year

2008
- Entered First Sprint Car Race

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