By James Essex
Scott Taskey of Columbus is maybe more well-known for his realty success than his racing endeavors that took place some 40 years ago, but occasionally, someone will stop him and tell him they remember him racing.
Taskey caught the racing bug at an early age, religiously attending races at the 25th Street Speedway in Columbus.
“I went there all the time. Some of my favorites were Gene and Russ Petro, Jack Owens and Bill Kimmel, who would come up to race as well,” said Taskey, a 1975 graduate of Columbus East High School.
The following year, after graduating from high school, Taskey got the opportunity to race. He never got to race at 25th Street because it had closed after the 1974 season. He first met Russ Petro in 1975, and after attending a race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, with Petro, he knew he wanted to start his own driving career.
So he and Petro built a race car out of a 1969 Roadrunner that Taskey had.
“Russ built the motor and put the roll cage in, and the next thing we knew, I was off to Brownstown to race,” Taskey said. “I had no trailer to haul the car to the track. I used a tow bar. I had to put safety lights on it, plus a license plate. When I pulled into the track, I am sure a lot of people were like, What is this guy doing?’”
In April of 1976, Taskey made his racing debut at Brownstown without a pit crew. In his third race, on May 1 of that year in the Hobby Stock division, he won the feature race.
“Man, I thought this is pretty easy,” Taskey said. “Here I was a guy that had no money and no trailer, and I beat all these guys. I thought from then on, I could win every race.”
After that initial victory, Taskey went on to win three more feature races and finished third in the points behind champion Ed Covey and runner-up John Mull.
“I had a good chance to win the points in my first year, but I didn’t race for three weeks during the summer because of my obligations to the Army Reserves,” Taskey said.
When Taskey returned to the track after his weekend duties, he focused on finishing the season strong. Besides winning four races during the season, Taskey won enough money to buy a pickup truck and trailer for the next season.
The 1977 season was the best in Taskey’s four-year career. With his newly purchased truck and trailer, Taskey was now able to travel to several different tracks. Even though Brownstown remained his home track, he could get to some new venues for him including Bloomington, Paragon, Whitewater Valley in Liberty and Twin Cities in Vernon.
During the season, Taskey scored the biggest win up to that time in his career at Whitewater Valley Speedway.
“It paid $400 to win, and I thought, ‘Man, this is cool,'” he said. “I don’t remember what I did with the money, but the next week at Brownstown, some of the other drivers started calling me ‘Luckey.’ I didn’t know why until I saw one of the weekly racing publications that was available back then and they had a photo of me and my dad in Victory Lane, and it said, ‘Scott Luckey won the feature race.’ It was funny.”
After winning several features at different tracks in 1977 Taskey ended up fourth in points at Brownstown.
During the year, it also marked the first time that he had driven for someone other than himself. He drove some races for Kelly Eisele of Brownstown, and they combined to win at Brownstown, Bloomington and Paragon. He also won two “Driver of the Month” awards during the season at Brownstown. The award that was voted on by the race fans.
In 1978, Taskey went Late Model racing. With the help of Bob Brewer, and Art and Russ Petro, Taskey raced an old Plymouth Duster asphalt car.
“We weren’t as successful in the Late Model like we thought we could be,” he said. “We did run Salem Speedway, which was a dream of mine for years. Russ also drove the car once.”
Following a disappointing 1978 season, Taskey hooked up with Bob Olmsted and Butch Ruddick to run a Camaro back in the Hobby Stock class.
“By then, the cars had gotten a lot faster, and there were some very good drivers running them,” Taskey said. “That was the time when Russ (Petro) and Herman Burton had that Chevelle, and they were unbeatable at that time.”
The 1979 season turned out to be the final one of Taskey’s career.
Taskey then continued his full-time work for Conrail, working on the railroads for a total of 13 years until leaving in 1988. Taskey then ran a chlorine-free pool system company until 1994, when he met realtor Rex Breeden, and after that meeting, his life and career-path changed forever.
Taskey became a real estate agent at that point, joining Breeden’s Century 21. In 2007, it was the first time he was named the No. 1 realtor in the Indiana for Century 21. In 2012 and 2013, he was the No. 1 agent for Century 21 in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. In 2014, he was No. 1 again in Indiana and Ohio.
“The four years I raced was a blast,” he said. “Being that young and having the success I had, I thought I could race forever. There were people coming up to me and saying, ‘Man, you are going to run NASCAR someday.’ But I had no money at that time. All the money I won, I put back into the car.
“When people recognize me, I figure they had seen my picture in our real estate ad, and they are wanting to buy a house. There are those on occasion where they say ‘Hey, I remember you when you raced. You were pretty good.’ It makes you feel good that people noticed you, even to this day.”
James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Republic. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.