Scott Stephany has been a racer in the central Indiana region for much longer than he has been known as Santa. Now, when we say Santa, we don’t mean just a dude sporting a beard and wig made of cotton…we mean just before he dons the helmet to climb into his Mustang, the small children at various local dragstrips take a second glance at “Santa Claus.”
Back in the late ‘90s, a 34-year old Stephany started bracket racing his 1978 Mustang II Coupe. The ‘Stang may not have been a terror as its very first pass was a 14.20 on the Indianapolis Raceway Park 1/4-mile, but it has been “Scottie G’s faithful racecar for over 20 years. His nickname, given to him by local racers, has stuck through the years, above and beyond Santa. Surrounded by buddies who are Chevy racers, they started to call the lone Ford driver “Scottie Glidden,” after area legend Bob Glidden. That eventually was reduced to “Scotty G,” which is now a permanent nickname.
About five years ago, the Mustang was getting quicker by each racing season, but something else was also transpiring. Known for his standard “buzz cut” hairstyle that had a little white in it already, he allowed it to grow longer, and would you believe, it was predominantly white.
“I kept growing it out, and it became a joke as people told me that I need to become a Santa,” jokes Stephany. “I always enjoyed Christmas so much, so I gave it a shot. I continued to grow my hair and beard, and I first attended the Northern Lights Santa School in Atlanta four years ago.”
Scott attested to how inspiring it was to be surrounded by so many Santa’s who have been doing this for so long. He exclaims how amazing it is to just talk to them and learn. Classes at the school include observing from another room. At the same time, experienced teaching Santas show them the best ways to interact with special needs children and adults, along with language refinement, improv, makeup, and more.
On top of his day job, Stephany is gung-ho to continue spending his free time consumed with drag racing in the summer and portraying the jolly Saint Nick during the holidays.
His mild Mustang has graduated to a back-halved chassis with a full cage, Bogart racing wheels, and 32×14 Mickey Thompson slicks. The Mustang retains the stock front suspension with QA1 adjustable coil-over shocks and a 4-link rear suspension that uses QA1 18-way adjustable shocks and an anti-roll bar.
A Steve Schmidt Racing Engines-built 347 with a Dart Machinery SHP block holds JE Pistons domed gas-ported pistons and a COMP cams solid roller .691-inch lift cam. A pair of one-off Profiler 245 raised port heads have 2.08-inch titanium intake valves and Jesel shaft rockers. A Nitrous Outlet Stinger nitrous kit helps with the lower e.t. slips.
Santa, er…Stephany recently updated to a JW Transmission Ultra Bell-equipped Coan Engineering Powerglide and converter when breakage from his previous trans was plaguing him. Compared to the first 14-second pass in the late ’90s, the Mustang currently runs with a best motor-only pass of 6.42 at 104 MPH in the 1/8-mile. Scott gives thanks to the Contingency Connection for its sponsorship, along with TJ Hall, Brent Davis, and Tony Sheehan, who have been major help over the years.
Super Pro Santa is also getting interest from professional racing teams whose base of operations resides in the Indy area, and he has been contracted to appear at some. He hopes that when gatherings open wider from COVID restrictions, he will have the opportunity to do more appearances that might require a little additional “racer language.”
The general news media claims that good Santa’s helpers are getting more difficult to come by. With his authentic looks combined with a sleigh powered by a cackling Ford powerplant, we have a feeling Scott Stephany will be in high demand around Indy, the racing capital of the world.
“When I finish the Mustang with the Santa wrap, it will be great to pull into any holiday event with 1,000 reindeer, or horsepower making noise. I am even going to have my helmet wrapped to appear as a Santa hat with the beard wrapping around the helmet’s chin area along with a red and white firesuit,” Stephany chuckles, with a ho-ho-ho.