Rod Short
July 1, 2009
Attending events with both an all-out race car and a street machine allows Team Garrett to better showcase its products.

With a pair of national championships, a list of event wins, and a fistful of national records, some people would have been content to call it a career when Sport Compact racing folded. Not so for Gil and Steve Bothwell, however, as this pair of gearheads joined with their sponsor to go looking for a new world to conquer. Still basking in the glow of their breakthrough win at the NMCA/NMRA Super Bowl at Joliet, you might say that these guys have found that the water's just fine in the Mustang world.

Gil and Steve have had their hands in many different forms of motorsports in the past--ranging from stock cars, midgets, off-road, and even boats. With their corporate connections at GM Racing, the team debuted a front-wheel-drive Pontiac Sunfire in NHRA Sport Compact's popular Hot Rod division, which was an early mainstay for the Honda crowd. Garrett hooked up with Bothwell Motorsports during the '04 NHRA Sport Compact season with driver Ron Lummus, who formerly ran an 8-second Volkswagen. Back-to-back championships in 2005-2006 established this team as the dominant racers of that era--and helped Garrett move a lot of product during that time.

"It's been a natural evolution with the development of our turbochargers," says Garrett, through Honeywell Marketing Manager Tracie Parker, when asked about the team's new venue. "First, we focused on the smaller-frame turbos, which naturally fit within the Sport Compact community. Then we went to the larger products with other racing series to grow the business."

Rather than race one series, Bothwell Motorsports and Team Garrett opted to race in a number of different sanctioning bodies with no intention of running for a championship. Not only did this provide the best possible exposure to as many different racers and fans as possible, but it also ensured they wouldn't be competing against customers in a heated points battle.

Compared to some of the other low-slung racers in Outlaw 10.5, the car driven by former NHRA Sport Compact champ Ron Lummus looks amazingly stock with its flat hood and relatively high ride height.

When the team's new Mustang debuted at the end of 2007 at the FFW Fontana, California, event, the team was already well into the steep learning curve that lay ahead of it. At the second PSCA event of 2008 in Las Vegas, they collected their first-ever win with the car with a 7.192 at 201.31 over Rich Zehring. The World Street Challenge in St. Louis provided additional experience and exposure for the team. At FFW Atlanta, the team made it to the semifinals with a 4.521 best while racing in an eighth-mile format.

Yet, it was the NMCA/NMRA Super Bowl that provided the highlight of the year. There, the team qualified number one with a 6.861 at 208.17 and went on to win the event over NMRA/FFW points leader Conrad Scarry. The fact that this was in a class sponsored by another turbocharger company made the victory that much sweeter.

"The guys I'm racing against here are older, they've been doing it for a while, and they're really serious about what they do," says driver Ron Lummus, when asked about the difference in the level of competition between the Sport Compact and Mustang crowds. "Sport Compact was more grassroots with up and coming younger guys. I could really get away with a lot of stuff and be in control of the race just because I'd been racing so much longer. Now these guys cut good lights, they know how to read a track, and they know which lane to choose."