Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — JUPITER, Fla. — Scott Gardner, the longtime owner and promoter of Cordova Dragway Park, has been named president of the International Hot Rod Association.
The announcement was made Thursday by IRG Sports & Entertainment, parent company for the IHRA and multiple motorsports facilities. He replaces Aaron Polburn, who stepped down as president and general manager of the IHRA for personal reasons. Polburn had led the organization since 2004.
“It’s a great honor and a huge responsibility to take over the position of president of the IHRA,” Gardner said. “The IHRA brand is something I have always felt was a viable drag racing organization. I am confident I can bring new ideas and renewed energy to the table while staying true to the sportsman racing at the core of the organization.”
As part of the move that will see Gardner lead the IHRA from its Norwalk, Ohio, office, IRG will acquire Cordova Dragway Park as part of its portfolio of motorsports facilities and take over the management at the end of the 2014 season.
Cordova Dragway Park, home of the World Series of Drag Racing and former Nitro Jam national events, will return as an IHRA-sanctioned member track. Gardner will pass the day-to-day management of CDP to his wife and vice president of CDP, Laura Gardner, and Chris McMahan, director of operations.
Also under Gardner’s co-ownership, Eddyville Raceway Park in Oskaloosa and Cedar Falls Raceway will also become IHRA-sanctioned member tracks. With the addition of these three member tracks, the IHRA now sanctions 112 facilities in five countries.
CDP will host the 12th event on the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series 2014 North American Tour. The IHRA recently announced that the NJDRS 2014 North American Tour will feature a number of enhancements for the upcoming season, including the addition of a national points fund, the return of traditional drag racing and a new Fan Zone pit experience.
“With Scott leading the charge, the IHRA’s national touring series will be reinvigorated and revamped along with other exciting developments coming in the near future,” said Jason Rittenberry, CFE, president and chief executive officer of IRG
Ever since he went racing with his family at 8 years old, Gardner has had a passion for drag racing, and he has been involved in drag racing promotions and management for more than 20 years. He raced in and served as vice president of the United Drag Racers Association, followed by a stint as general manager of Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wis. In 1995, Gardner purchased CDP and later became co-owner of both Eddyville Raceway Park and Cedar Falls Raceway. In 2002, Gardner was honored with the IHRA Man of the Year Award, and in 2004, he received the IHRA Track Operator of the Year Award.