Thousand Oaks, California. The Widget Rally Team, comprised of driver Brian Scott (Phoenix, AZ) and co-driver John Dillon (Thousand Oaks, CA), is a serious contender on the U.S. rally racing circuit. Many successes dot the team's resume, including numerous overall victories, the 2004 U.S. National Open championship, the 2002 California Rally Series championship, and back to back Divisional championships. The team has received special awards such as San Diego's 2000 Rallyists of the Year, the 1999 Carl Merrill Sportsmanship Award, the 2000 Bill Moore Award and the 2003 Kenneth Zimmerman award for outstanding contributions to the sport.
Though the team has a strong reputation for their serious effort and high performance results, those who don't know the team members wonder at the whimsicality of the team's moniker. Where did this name come from? Are these guys really serious about rally?
First and foremost, yes, the Widget team is stone serious about rallying. However, they've found a way to remain professional and successful in their pursuit of victory while managing to also find the fun necessary in the effort. Let there be no mistake, to be a top rallyist requires dedication and hard work. The Widget team members have the motivation necessary to compete successfully at the top levels of American rally, and they do it with infectious enthusiasm.
Widget was born in the mid 1980's when a group of southern California entrepeneurs decided to go road racing at racetracks like Laguna Seca and Riverside Raceway. Together they formed the Widget International Racing Team. To eliminate the question of whether it was the car or the driver that won their races, they selected a class of cars known as Spec Racers to compete in. Being entrepeneurs, the drivers were fiercely competitive on track, but off track they proved themselves to be friendly and helpful, even to the point of assisting their toughest competitors.
Above all, however, the Widget racers were known as generous supporters of the Flag Marshals and others in the Worker Corps. These workers are a selfless group of volunteers who face blazing heat, icy rain, blustering wind, uncooperative computers, and a myriad of other obstacles in order to make racing possible. Widget recognized these volunteers with special parties, awards, cash, and barbecues where everyone could continue to have fun even after the racing was done for the day.
Over time several additional entrepeneurs began racing with Widget, from concert promoters, to high-profile defense attorneys, to specialty contractors, all of whom appreciated and supported the corner workers and other volunteers.
Then, in 1997 John Dillon, a corner worker himself, became the first Widget rallyist, creating the Rally Division of the Widget International Racing Team. As with the road racing Widgets, Dillon maintained the tradition of recognizing the workers. Always careful to thank them whenever they meet at a checkpoint (and working checkpoints himself when not racing), he gives out candy whenever possible to help sweeten their dusty day.
Since those first events, the Widget Rally Team has partnered with several other racing teams on the road to victory, including Fred Ronn (1998 Group 2 winner at Rim of the World), Anton Musev (1999 overall winner at Gorman Ridge), Bryan Hourt (2000 Group 5 winner at Prescott Forest ProRally), Lauchlin O'Sullivan (2000 and 2001 PGT winner at the Ramada Express International Rally and the 2001 Cherokee Trails International Rally and Prescott Forest Rally), Leon Styles (overall victories at Pike's Peak and Colorado Cog, Gorman Ridge and Prescott, 2002 and 2003 SoPac champion, 2004 U.S. champion), Gary Cavett (overall victory at 2005 Doo Wops), Ralph Kosmides (overall victory at 2004 Treeline and 2005 Reno rallies), and Blake Yoon (overall victory at the 2005 Prescott Rally).
The Widget Rally Team is now challenging for the overall championships in 2008 in the United States Rally Championship series (USRC). Scott and Dillon have the experience of racing around the country and have demonstrated the winning attitude needed to compete at the highest level.
With assistance from the right sponsors it's likely the Widget Rally Team, that serious team with the whimsical name, will prove just how dedicated and professional a rally team can be.
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