Randy Orme Racing
I saw my very first live auto race on Memorial Day weekend back in 2003. I was 14 at the time, and got a chance to march with Corydon Central (IN) High School's marching band before the start of the Indianapolis 500. When your first race happens to be the biggest race in the world, it leaves quite an impression. By the time I witnessed that amazing event at the Brickyard, I had already been searching for a way to get into the world of racing. I even had a rough sketch of a logo for the team I wanted to create. It was a silver oval with an American flag in the center and the letters R-O-R running through the middle. ROR, which stood for "Randy Orme Racing" and named after my Dad, finally became a reality in the fall of 2003. My Mom, Bonnie, got the gears in motion when she secured our first sponsor: Wooded Glen Retreat & Conference Center in Henryville, IN. With sponsor money in hand, we set out for Moorehead, KY to pick up our first racecar: the #3 Mini Cup.
After getting some fresh decals on our Mini Cup machine, we hit the track in early 2004. Along for the ride was our fourth inductee to the team, my cousin, Dickey Garmon. Dickey has been our mechanical technician since the start of the team, and has joined us on many adventures on the road. As a young team that really had no clue about the inner workings of a racecar, we had a bit of an uphill battle in the beginning. No one anywhere in my family had been around racing before. We had a lot of fans, but no former racers. Prior to my first race, I barely knew a ratchet from a socket. Once the season took off, we learned some lessons, hard and fast. By the end of our very first season that took us from Indiana, to Tennessee, to Pennsylvania, and back again, we had made enough noise to land 2nd in the MMRA Indiana State Championship and 12th in the MMRA National Standings.
Over the course of the '04-'05 off-season, my Dad and I rebuilt the #3 from the ground, up. It was a valuable experience, and one that payed off big-time. My uncle, Dal, bought us a new body for the car, which began our signature black & orange paint schemes that we would sport for the next several years. Our sponsor relationships also grew from 4 to 12. The season started a little rough in Nashville, TN with a bad fuel pump that took us out of contention, but when we returned home to do battle, we quickly became a front-running team. In August we traveled to the MMRA Grand National Race in Elkin, NC. We rolled in with our car on an open trailer with one spare tire, and parked in between tractor-trailer rigs with back-up cars, spare motors, and stacks of tires. After finishing 4th in the event, we secured a 5th place showing in the national standings. A few weeks later, we closed out the last Sunday race of the year at our home track, the Sportsdrome Speedway, with our very first feature win. At the end of the season we had 8 top 5's in 13 races and were ranked 3rd in the Sportsdrome Track Championship.
We made our first big transition in 2006, when we sold the Mini Cup and bought a 600cc Upright Mini-Sprint. The move from asphalt stock car style racing to open wheel dirt racing took some time. The only familiar thing between the cars was the #3 on the side. We made one start at the Waynesfield Raceway Park in Ohio, but the rest of our shows in '06 all took place at the Thunder Valley Raceway in Salem, IN. Despite the learning curve, and some mechanical issues and missed races at the beginning of the season, we finished 8th in Thunder Valley Points and won the Mini Sprint Rookie of the Year Title. By this time, the kid that had no mechanical knowledge whatsoever, had become the primary weekly mechanic on the car.
2007 was a long, busy season on and off the track. Over the winter, we launched our first website: www.ScottyOrme.Mysite.com. It was a fairly simple site, but helped with fan involvement and with marketing my name. I graduated High School in May, and shortly after, an article about our team was featured in the local newspaper, the Corydon Democrat. I spent the off weekends of the summer months in the pits at ARCA races, passing out my business cards. Though I had been writing some of our first marketing proposals before we even started racing, this was my first venture into self-promotion. Over the course of the year, we began to develop much more mature marketing packages, and by the end of the year, we had several potential sponsor contacts in several different states. On the track, we continued running our Mini Sprint with the wing at Thunder Valley. When Dickey's friend and co-worker, Mark Davis, became our setup specialist a few races into the season, we began to get the car sorted out. Mark and I communicated well, and it translated into better results. In between points races at Salem, we traveled to the small bullring in Linton, IN to run without the wing on top of the car. I quickly took a liking to non-wing racing and the amount of control that was put into the driver's hands. We finished my final season in the Mini Sprints with a 3rd place showing in the last race at Thunder Valley along with a 3rd place ranking in Thunder Valley points.
We were on the verge of securing sponsorship to start a team in a Midwestern touring series months before the '08 season when, the deal fell out from under us. By this point, we had already committed to moving out of the Mini Sprints. We made a last-minute change of plans and acquired an old '85 Monte Carlo Street Stock that needed quite a bit of work. With help from team sponsor and fabricator, Louis Touchette of L. Touchette Fabrication, we turned the run-down pile of junk into the sleek black .38 Spl. Even though we missed out on the sponsorship we were looking for, we took the #38 to the track with 18 local sponsors decorating every spot on the car. There were only two races remaining by the time the car was done. They were both huge pavement events that we knew we would be very much out-classed in. The first was at the O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, and the second at the high-banked Salem Speedway for their annual Halloween 200. Sixty-Five cars started that 200-lap marathon. Both races were at the biggest tracks we'd ever been on, and would be valuable experience for any level of racing that we would move to.
In a recurring theme, mechanical problems plagued most of our 2009 season with the Monte Carlo. We were extremely competitive on dirt, usually running in the top 3 before some unwanted breakdown hindered our results. Late in the season, I posted a "Driver For Hire" ad on IndianaOpenWheel.com. The very next day, I was contacted by UMRA TQ Midget team owner, Michael Koontz, of Bloomington, IN. After meeting with him at one of the races and then at his shop, we made a deal to run the final two races of the UMRA season in his #18 car. Everyone was happy with the arrangement, so R.O.R. and Koontz Racing joined forces for me to compete for the 2010 UMRA Rookie of the Year Title in Michael's #16 car.
My first season as a hired gun in 2010 was an amazing ride. We secured our highest amount of sponsorship funding yet, launched the new-and-improved ScottyOrme.com, and even got to do some charity work with the ASPCA. We traveled over 9000 miles throughout the state of Indiana, racing in 21 races at 10 different dirt and pavement tracks. To add icing to the cake, we learned that the Rookie of the Year award would be sponsored by former UMRA driver, Tony Stewart. The season started out as ours usually do, with some mechanical issues that put us 57 points behind in the Rookie Standings heading into July. By the end of the month, we were leading for the Rookie Title by 12 points. After a neck-and-neck battle that went all the way to limping across the finish line with flat tires, missing shocks, and bent rims at the finale in Kokomo, I was crowned the UMRA's 2010 "Tony Stewart Rookie of the Year." Our season's story was well documented in the Corydon Democrat Newspaper, with an article in May before the first race and another in November after the last. I finished 7th overall in points in UMRA's 50th Anniversary season, while Michael earned a career-best 4th place showing. R.O.R. was voted by board members as the recipient of the UMRA's Sportsmanship award.
In 2011, it was time to seek a new direction for Randy Orme Racing. While I did run a few races in the Goff Racing #2 TQ Midget, the majority of our efforts were focused on the future of R.O.R. In the last couple of weeks of 2010, we decided to change the team's status from a driver development team for myself, into a professional racing organization. With our experience in open-wheel dirt racing and the fact that we are located in the heart of Sprint Car country, it was easy to decide what direction to take. We purchased a Sprint Car roller and began the process of building our little team into a full-blown Sprint operation, with hopes of growing into one of the premier multi-car teams in the future. Unfortunately, despite months of pounding the pavement, the shaky state of the economy made securing any substantial funding next to impossible. Prior to the 2012 season, we made the decision to postpone our Sprint Car efforts in favor of a more managable move to 1000cc Lightning Sprints.
In 2012, we put one of our own team-owned cars back on track for the first time in 3 years. The black and red #03 Lightning Sprint brought a renewed sense of excitement to everyone on the team. During the pre-season, we teamed up with Racing2Cure: a charity in which racers across the country spread awareness and raise money to "Fight Cancer One Lap At A Time". When the season began, we stepped out of the box strong with our new ride. Over the course of the 9-race season, we scored a feature win at Linton, 3 heat race wins, and 3 runner-up feature finishes. In August, we teamed up with Oogie Goff once again to pilot the #2 TQ Midget at our hometown fair race in Corydon, IN. In September, I ran my 100th feature. By years end, we all agreed that 2012 was perhaps our best season to date. Our efforts were made possible with the continued support of our loyal sponsors, who were joined by Evans Waterless Engine Coolants and Nitro Hog BBQ.
The team celebrated it's 10th Anniversary season in 2013. We wanted to do something special to mark the occasion, so we decided to pool our efforts towards running another full points season and trying to win the championship at Thunder Valley. For the first time we were able to upgrade our car during the off-season and not just repair problems, so we came out of the gate strong. The 10-race season was a fittingly dramatic battle. Two hard wrecks nearly dashed our title hopes, but 3 feature wins, 2 heat wins, and 4 runner-up finishes were enough to secure our place at the top of the standings and get us the 2013 Thunder Valley Raceway Track Championship! We continued to campaign the Lightning Sprint in 2014, before selling the car and purchasing an asphalt Late Model Sportsman to race beginning in 2015.
After a decade of learning and growing, we have developed into a competitive and professional organization capable of taking an under-funded team to the track and running with the best in the business. We've come a long ways in a short time, and we don't intend to stop growing any time soon.