Quain Stott - A Self-Taught Racer

By Jim Luikens

Quain Stott
Every person that competes in drag racing, or any kind of racing for that matter, has their own reasons for participating. For some it is the technical challenge while for others it can be the sheer exhilaration of open competition or even the marketing exposure that motorsports provides. This is the story of Quain Stott, who got his start in racing by building a fast street car while still in high school in order to impress the girls.

Actually, Quain got his racing start even earlier than that when his dad, Bob, found a go-kart in a junkyard. Quain, and his younger brother Mitch, never had fancy things while growing up but they never lacked for things either. Their dad just found a way to accomplish what was needed with the resources that were available to him. Tragically, Bob Stott passed away last year after lingering injuries from a fall off a golf cart at a race track. The loss of his father has left one of the two great voids in Quain's life.

By the time Quain was 16 he had discovered cars....and girls. It wasn't lost on him that the guys with the fastest cars often had the prettiest girlfriends. As a result he found, and purchased, a box-stock 1967 Camaro that was powered by a 350 cubic inch small block hooked to a 4-speed transmission. As was to become the pattern for his racing career he hopped it up himself. The fact that he was working in his uncle's auto repair shop after school as a general mechanic no doubt helped this cause immensely.

Every person that competes in drag racing, or any Quain recalls that he raced his Camaro on the street for about a year and that he was mostly victorious. Looking for larger challenges he decided to begin racing at the track instead of on the street. He chose drag racing over circle track racing because horsepower was his "thing" as opposed to handling. He began bracket racing at Spartanburg Dragway, which was about a half hour from his home, and recorded elapsed times that were in the low 13 second range for the quarter mile.

Stott does a burnout at Grand Bend.
Just like on the street he was mostly successful but discovered that he just wasn't into bracket racing. Instead, Quain liked to go fast, with no limits placed on his performance. Having identified what he liked he built a Chevrolet Monza in the early 80s that would allow him to feed his need for greater speed, but we are getting ahead of our story here.

When Quain graduated from high school he opened a small chassis shop. He lived on the premises in a small 12-foot by 12-foot apartment that was housed inside the shop. As usual Quain chose to spend his money where it really mattered, on performance, and not on peripherals. His chassis shop flourished; no doubt helped by the fact that engine builder Gene Fulton was sending him a lot of customers.

Eventually Gene built a building in Spartanburg and Quain signed a three-year rental contract to operate his chassis shop there. Although business was good, Quain's overhead went up and he had to hire help at the shop for the first time. Quain stayed the three years that the contract called for and, when it was up, he moved on. Tommy Mauney took over the building as well as some of the Quain's tools and equipment. Walking away with a relatively small grubstake to show for his years of efforts, Quain took the money and invested in some rental property of his own.

Stott launches at Edmonton earlier this year.
Every person that competes in drag racing, or any To satisfy his competitive itch he began driving other people's cars. One of the most famous was a rather ragged looking Vega that was powered by a nitrous-assisted big block Chevrolet engine and used for high-dollar street races. The ragged looks were just for deception as the car was actually capable of mid-seven second elapsed times, which were very respectable for that day.

Meanwhile, after three years of property management he had turned his $20,000 starting investment into $50,000. After divesting his holdings he went to work at Tommy Mauney's where he worked for two years. While there he built his familiar burgundy Chevrolet Beretta, The Grand Illusion. Debuting the car in 1994, Quain ran a limited schedule with it while he prepared for the 1995 season.

Using a nitrous 665 CID Chevrolet engine for power, he recorded a fine 9th place finish, his first top ten points ranking, during his first full season on the tour. Among his other accomplishments that season was a new 218 mile-per-hour speed record that he set at Steele, Alabama. Even as successful as 1995 was it didn't take Quain long to burn through his nest egg. By mid-1996 he was behind on his bills, out of money and considering quitting racing.

He confided in Cynthia Philips, his girlfriend of 20 years and biggest supporter, that if he didn't qualify at the next event he was done racing. When he was a DNQ at the IHRA national event in Morocco, Indiana he prepared to put racing on the shelf and look for a real job, something he had never had since graduating from high school. Cynthia said, "No way, Jose!" Knowing what racing meant to Quain she loaned him the money to catch up on his bills and the rest, as they say, is history.

Quain Stott in Michigan in 2000.
Every person that competes in drag racing, or any Not long after that the Bug Eater Company came aboard as Quain's first major sponsor and they were followed the following year by Lee Boy Paving Equipment, a sponsorship that Quain enjoys to this day. In 1997 Quain built his first Corvette and slowly developed it into a powerhouse. He refuses to pay for a high dollar tuner, instead preferring to slowly learn the tune-up himself. That way he knows his tuner can never leave for another team.

By the year 2000, Quain had the dominant nitrous-powered Pro Mod but it wasn't enough. At one point in the season he reeled off three consecutive victories on his way to a #2 points finish, the highest of any nitrous P/M car. In 2001 he finished third, this time behind two supercharged Pro Mods. Unwilling to go broke chasing the blown cars with his nitrous combination, he knew he would have to build a supercharged car himself if he wanted to have a chance at being number one. Unfortunately, he also knew he would have to sacrifice at least a couple of years of results while he taught himself to tune a competitive supercharged engine.

Stott in his first blown car in 2002.
Every person that competes in drag racing, or any Quain finished 9th in 2002, his debut season with a supercharged car. Learning quickly, 2003 saw him jump all the way up to #3 in points. In 2004 he entered the final weekend of the season in 4th place before a devastating race at Rockingham saw him fall all the way to 7th in the final standings. On the bright side, Quain is thrilled with the maturity that young Brandon Howard gained last season. Brandon, his only paid employee, is head of maintenance for the team and Quain can easily see that he has the right stuff to be a crew chief one day. Dee Braggs and Greg Waldrop are volunteers on the team and Quain is grateful for the contributions that they have made to the team for a number of years.

As we approach the midpoint of the 2005 season Quain again finds himself in fourth place in points after being as high as first this year entering the event at Virginia. He remains optimistic for another good points finish this year but knows that his driving days are numbered. The best of the professional tuners earn more than what he netted last year from his racing operation. As someone that has never been afraid to do whatever makes financial sense, he realizes that his long-range future is probably as a paid tuner for some other team.

Besides losing his father, the other great void in Quain's life comes from the fact that his brother, Mitch, is not currently an active competitor in IHRA competition. After spending the time required learning how to make a supercharged engine competitive, Quain would love nothing better than to race against his brother, heads-up, on a regular basis. I'm sure that is something that the fans would love to see also.