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‘Top Gear’ Host Tanner Foust Tells Us How He Paved His Own Road to Success:
My Way

‘Top Gear’ Host Tanner Foust Tells Us How He Paved His Own Road to Success

My Way My Way

My dad had this yellow Porsche 912. It had sheepskin seat covers and camel leather inside. He bought it when I was three years old, right when my folks got divorced. I would spend the summers in Denver at his house. I remember when I was about five years old, my dad was turning right—I literally can smell the car thinking about this—from Colorado Boulevard onto Hampden Avenue. It was probably a second-gear corner, and he got after it a little bit, and the tires squealed. I’d never heard that before. I’d never felt that before. I was just hooked on cars from that day on. I was the annoying one who called out the type of car by its headlights. By the time I was 10 I could fully drive a stick.

In college at the University of Colorado, I ended up doing a pre-med major called environmental, population and organismic biology—which was really hard to say without saying “orgasm.” In the meantime, I worked for this guy named Bill Kitchen. He invented amusement-park rides. It was the first time I thought about making a living doing something fun rather than having a job and a hobby. I worked for Bill for my last three years of school and a little while after that. He moved his company to Florida. After graduation, I went and worked in Orlando for three or four months, but I missed the mountains. I flew back to Colorado, not really having much of a plan. On the plane I was thinking, what the hell am I going to do? I got good grades and put in all this effort. There were a lot of questions from my family. What’s next, med school? I’d done everything because everybody told me to, but now I had no clue what I really wanted to do. I just happened to be sitting next to the window. When we were landing, I looked out and saw Second Creek Raceway. I drove there straight from the airport.

When I got there, this guy told me to step away from the track. His name was Rich Dahl. He had a team of club racers, so I volunteered for his team. I was a terrible mechanic. But from my time working for Bill, I was good at business and organization. I helped Rich do stuff on his computer, put stuff into Excel spreadsheets. I worked for him for eight months. Out of that I got enough driving time to get my license and eventually do one race.

Whatever skills you have, even if your only skill is Minecraft, just get into that industry. If you maintain interest and are thinking about it as soon as you wake up and thinking about it as you go to sleep, then you’ll get good. And if you start from the bottom up, you’ll be well-rounded. You’ll have some foundation in the business and some security.

At about the five-year mark, I heard from the family, “Well, I guess you’re going to stick with this.” And you know what? Now I own that exact Porsche my dad drove me around in. I bought it from him. I probably paid a little over the Blue Book value. He knew he had me.


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