Racing Towards Business

Scott Schroeder can't imagine attending any college other than Menlo. He enjoys the intimacy of a small campus size; finds the business curriculum both intellectually stimulating and practical; and appreciates the fact that he's granted enough time to pursue his true passion.

Scott, a 20-year-old Menlo junior, is a professional race car driver. “Menlo has been very supportive of my scheduling needs,” said Schroeder, who races for the Petaluma-based TRG team on the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. “A bigger college wouldn't have given me the time of day.”

The racing season generally intersects with the beginning and end of each semester, which means that Scott spends about a month's worth of time “making up work and getting ahead of assignments in anticipation of what the class will cover.”

Scott said it's worth the effort, though. TRG's 2008 campaign, which just concluded, was successful as the team placed two cars inside the top five and four inside the top 15 in the final GT class team standings.

Scott is majoring in business with an emphasis on marketing. Although finance and racing may sound mutually exclusive, he said the curriculum helps him better navigate the twists and turns of the profession off the track.

“Racing is highly motivated by sponsorship. Marketing has taught me how to deal with that.”

I established a race coaching business last summer and set up my own books and financial records based on what I learned in my accounting classes.”

The fact that Menlo has a notable racing alum, Formula One Grand Prix legend Dan Gurney, didn't hurt matters.

“Just like anyone on the football team, I have to work out and train to prepare for my sport,” he said. “The difference is just that this is more of an individual than team effort.”

The son of race car driver Paul Schroeder, Scott has seriously pursued the sport for five years. As a child, he watched his father race, but caught the bug at the age of 15 after receiving a Go Kart lesson for his birthday. Scott added that the Go Karts aren't the type people ride at amusement parks. “These go about 100 to 125 mph.”

At the age of 16 he started racing Formula cars, and by the time he was 17 Scott entered his first professional race with the Formula BMW USA Series.

The most challenging race he has faced to date is the “24 Hours Of Daytona” event, a day-long race that involves four team members driving the car in shifts. “I have a goal of driving the 24 Hours of Le Mans (endurance race),” he added.

Given Scott's drive and work ethic, it would be unwise to bet against him.