IHRA racer Greg Fowler uses race trailer as his own personal sleigh to deliver gifts for Christmas
By IHRA Media
Dec 19, 2012
Before digging too deep into the life of Greg Fowler it is important to note one crucial and undeniable fact – Greg is not Santa Clause.
Despite the noticeable glow of white sprinkled throughout his beard and a laugh that can certainly be classified as jolly, Fowler lacks the pudginess and, quite frankly, the magical powers to qualify him for the most famous role of the holiday season. No, Fowler is just a regular guy from a regular town who likes to do good.
And go fast. Really fast.
By day Fowler is an employee of the school system in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. By night Fowler spends his time working on his 1980 Chevrolet Camaro, which he races in Hot Rod on the IHRA circuit.
Throughout the year Fowler travels around the country chasing points on the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour and he has had great success over the years, winning a number of races and even a championship while qualifying for the Tournament of Champions and Allstar competitions. He also spends his spare time taking his car, splashed with the blue and gold colors synonymous with the state’s largest university, around to schools promoting tobacco prevention while at the same time teaching children a thing or two about the sport of drag racing.
But at Christmas time Fowler likes to put his racing endeavors aside and focus on another job that is close to his heart – part-time Santa.
While it was pointed out earlier in the story that Greg is certainly not the big man himself, he does a nice job filling in for him by using his race trailer as his own personal sleigh. You see, Fowler is involved in a very unique Christmas program sponsored by The Greenbrier resort, a National Historic landmark in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, that has hosted distinguished guests from around the world since 1778.
Every year Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier, makes available $1 million worth of toys for the children of West Virginia that get distributed to needy communities around the state. And for the second year in a row Greg applied for and received 800 of those toys for the youth of two counties in his home state.
To qualify for the gifts Fowler and various community members completed 42 volunteer hours wrapping and preparing the toys for distribution. Not long after Fowler was on his way back from the resort pulling a race trailer filled with toys.
“To be able to use my truck and car trailer to transport these gifts to youth who normally would not receive much if anything at Christmas time is very uplifting,” Fowler said. “This is a great program created by Mr. Justice and The Greenbrier. I am really happy and honored to be a part of it and provide for the needy youth of our communities.”
While Greg does a lot of volunteer work during the year both with and without his car, the Christmas toy drive is always a special moment in his life.
“We as racers enjoy competing and winning on the track. But there is life outside of racing and for me, being able to provide for youth in need, especially at Christmas time, is a joy and a privilege,” Fowler said.
And Fowler is not alone. Each year hundreds of IHRA racers and staff members take part in various Christmas programs that help bring cheer to needy families around the globe including Christmas toy drives right in the IHRA’s hometown of Norwalk, Ohio.
But once the temperatures start to rise and the racetracks in the northern states begin to unthaw Fowler will be throwing his red suit in the closet and will be right back at it, using his personal sleigh to once again haul his 140 mph machine to glory on the IHRA trail seeking the one thing that has eluded him over the years – a world title.
“I love to race. It is what I do,” Fowler said. “And as long as I can keep racing while helping steer children in the right direction then I am not quite sure when I will slow down.”