Scott Gerkin, best known as the longtime crew of 20-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Steve Kinser, has died at the age of 62.
Gerkin became associated with the legendary Kinser family at an early age when he was introduced to Larry Kinser. After graduating high school, Gerkin gained an introduction to sprint car maintenance by working with legendary Dizz Wilson.
He later spent time working for car owner Richard Briscoe and driver Chuck Amati, earning double-digit victories in 1981. Randy Kinser took over the car in 1982 and ’83 and the success continued with 15 victories.
In 1984, Gerkin went on the road full time, partnering with Mark Kinser to chase the World of Outlaws circuit. Mark Kinser shared the World of Outlaws rookie crown with Greg Wooley that year.
The pairing of Gerkin and Mark Kinser would continue until mid-1986, when the pair parted ways. He later landed with the Gohr Racing team owned by Dick Hammond, operated by Galen Fox and driven by Kenny Jacobs.
That pair was so successful that Karl Kinser called Gerkin to bring him back into the Kinser fold. With Gerkin leading Karl Kinser’s engine program, Steve Kinser dominated from 1988 to 1994, earning eight championships, five Knoxville Nationals titles, two Kings Royal wins and more than 250 victories in total.
Fast forward to 1995 and Steve Kinser was returning to sprint car racing after an aborted attempt to compete in NASCAR. Steve Kinser reached out to Gerkin, asking him to spearhead the creation of a new sprint car program for him.
Gerkin agreed and by season’s end they’d won 18 races, including the Historical Big One and the Knoxville Nationals. They stayed together until midway through 1998, when Gerkin willingly stepped aside to allow Guy Forbrook to take over as crew chief.
Gerkin returned to focus on building engines for Steve Kinser. He was back on the road with Steve Kinser in 1999 and in 2000 he led Steve Kinser to the World of Outlaws championship as a crew chief.
The duo collected four more World of Outlaws titles from 2002 to ’05, two more Kings Royal wins and another Knoxville title.
After a few disappointing seasons, Steve Kinser and Gerkin joined Tony Stewart’s sprint car program in 2010 and they found success again with another Kings Royal win. Gerkin was also honored as the Crew Chief of the Year that season.
In 2014, with Steve Kinser ending his full-time career with the Outlaws, Gerkin received the Ted Johnson Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sprint Car Racing.
He spent a portion of the 2015 season helping veteran Jason Sides, but he retired from the sport shortly thereafter.
“It was just so much fun,” Gerkin said in his National Sprint Car Hall of Fame bio. “I got to spend 30 years doing what I loved to do. Thinking about all the people I hung out with and learned from, not to mention all the friends I made, it has truly been an amazing ride. But what’s even more amazing is that my wife has somehow stuck with me through all of this. It really doesn’t get any better than that.”