|Mitch Stott - Bob Glidden, Here I Come
By Jim Luikens
|Each student in his high school was given one sentence in their school paper to describe either their past or their future. For this student the choice was easy since he already knew what he wanted to do with his life. This is the story of the 2003 IHRA Pro Modified World Champion, Mitch Stott, whose sentence read Bob Glidden, here I come.
Mitch had no way of knowing then that Bob would be long-retired from the drivers seat by the time that he made it to the top or that his career path would take him into a drag racing eliminator that was not even in existence at that time. What he did know was that he wanted to be a professional drag racer and that he wanted to do it exceptionally well.
Mitch looked to his heroes, Scotty Cannon, John Force, Warren Johnson and the aforementioned Bob Glidden for inspiration and motivation. Not only were they successful, they never lost their drive to succeed. Now, Mitch wants to handle success the same way. Last years championship ring is already forgotten according to him and his only goal is this years goal, to repeat as the IHRA World Champion, winning it by a larger margin than last year.
To pursue his goal of a second consecutive title he is using the same Tommy Mauney-built 1963 Chevrolet Corvette that he has used for the past three seasons. The only change for the new season is a new paint job. He did have an idea last season for a change that he wanted to try, but was unwilling to risk a change that could have upset the combination during this championship run.
Currently he is very happy with his race car and only makes changes that can be reversed. In fact, he wouldnt make any changes at all if he didnt have to. When the time comes inevitably that he must replace his trusty Corvette there is no doubt in his mind who will build its successor. The very same Tommy Mauney and TM Race Cars that built his current car will build its replacement.
In addition to his race car virtually everything else from his championship season has returned for another go-round. His full-time crew chief of five years, Ted Chavarria, is back as well as Jimmy Rector, the teams engine tuner. Long-time sponsor, Radiac Abrasives can also again be found on the flanks of the Corvette. In addition to being the teams driver, Mitch will continue his focus on sponsor relations.
Mitch feels that it is important to cement sponsorship relationships during the good times so that a team is better situated if something eventually goes wrong. He also feels that it is never good to rest on ones laurels but instead should always be looking for new and better ways to bring additional value to their sponsors.
Radiac Abrasives uses every race as a way to provide client entertainment for their customers. They are a 103 year-old company and the second largest in the world in their field. Although they couldnt be happier with the Stott team right now it hasnt always been that way. In fact, during the lean days just before he switched to his current supercharged engine combination Mitch had been given just one more year to get competitive with his existing nitrous combination.
Also behind him is the infamous spat he had with his racing brother, Quain. Mitch and Quain shared information for many years and when Mitch chose to share their engine combination information with Mike Ashley in an attempt to make the nitrous engine combination more competitive, Quain took offense. In retrospect, Mitch feels that it was fortunate that it happened because it allowed for the separation of the two. Mitch says that he enjoys racing his brother now that the feud is put to rest.
Away from the track, Mitch is a family man and religious person who feels that he has been well-blessed. Married for 18 years to Joyce, he claims that she knew what she was getting into when they married. They have two children, a son and a daughter. Their daughter Abby, 14, has raced a junior dragster in the past and even won a couple of events. However, she has now lost interest in racing herself so it will be up to Donovan, their son, to carry on the family racing heritage.
In the past Mitch has had Harleys and he enjoyed riding a hard tail chopper-style cycle. However, the throttle action bothered his wrist and he was eventually forced to give them up. His current passion is dune buggies. After having three different buggies, he and Ted carved a plug for a new dune buggy body of his own design. Using a traditional style dune buggy as the starting point, they created a family-friendly buggy that is actually comfortable to ride in, especially for back seat passengers.
The first fiberglass body was pulled last year and the new design is now ready for production. The bodies will be made at the fiberglass and carbon fiber shop that Mitch owns adjacent to his race shop. Currently the 1500 square foot fiberglass shop eclipses his 900 square foot race shop. He has plans, and enough land, to eventually build a 100 foot by 100 foot race shop.
For now however, a new shop will have to wait as Mitch and the team prepare for another taxing season on the road. In addition to their IHRA events, the Stott team participated in every NHRA event last season that wasnt affected by rain. Despite being forced to miss three events they still finished third in the 2003 NHRA Pro Mod points chase. A similar plan, but with hopefully less rain, is scheduled for this year.
Despite his outgoing demeanor, Mitch claims to be a pretty simple guy. No changes are planned for this year just because he won a world championship. Just more of the same and perhaps another title or two, to join the one he won last year. Its too bad that he and Bob Glidden competed in different eras. It would have been interesting to see them compete for the same title over the course of an entire season.