Many people I meet and speak to within the automotive industry agree with the old saying, “Do what you love for a living and you’ll never work a day in your life.” A career in our industry doesn’t really feel like a job most of the time. But what happens when you’ve reached a level of success doing something you love that it becomes all-consuming and you find yourself wanting a change?
For two leaders in the high-performance industry that is exactly what happened and is the reason for a big announcement that will surely set the industry abuzz. Longtime competitors Ron Mowen of Vengeance Racing and Howard Tanner of Redline Motorsports have informed us the two are teaming up to bring big things to the industry. With this somewhat unexpected and exciting news, I reached out to have a conversation with the newly formed dynamic duo and hear how a collaboration of this magnitude came to be.
As competitors, Ron and Howard have grown their individual businesses and brands over the past decades to be at the forefront of late-model GM performance. “Ron and I have a bit of history going back to the very early days of the LS engine,” Tanner stated. “I think things really started getting spicy when the C6 came out in 2005. It was a new platform and we were all pushing for pole position.” More recently, after many years of friendly competition at various events around the country, Ron and Howard found themselves talking more frequently about their companies. “Over the last year, we have been running into each other at different races and find ourselves talking about our paths in the industry,” Ron recalled. “One thing led to another as we talked about our strengths and weaknesses as individuals and we joked about blending some of our ideas.”
What started as a conversation of individual powerhouses led to joking about joining forces, and that has led to the creation of an all-star team. After 32 years at the helm of Redline Motorsports as owner and operator, Howard informed us that he is winding down operations at his facility in Pompano Beach, Florida, and will be relocating to Cumming, Georgia, to join Ron Mowen at Vengeance Racing. That bit of news no doubt raises questions, to which Howard and Ron explained clearly in our conversation the reasoning and goals behind such a monumental change for both men.
“I really want to focus on my engine building and calibration program, and more importantly not moving at full speed 24/7,” Howard said. “I’m at a point in my life and career where I want to back off from certain aspects of the industry and put my focus on the parts that get me energized again. Over the last few months, Ron and I have been talking as individuals and felt we had an opportunity to work smarter rather than harder and be able to fulfill both of our goals.”
On the other side of that same coin, Ron has experienced tremendous growth with Vengeance Racing and understands that to continue raising the bar requires a strong team that will evolve with the industry. Ron explained his thought process this way, “Only a shop owner of a large company can really understand the overload of running these high-functioning companies and growing brands. Vengeance Racing has turned into quite a machine and we have big plans and goals on the table. Much like Howard, I am in a similar place, running a million directions all day trying to focus on the day-to-day operations and the next evolution, all while trying to have some kind of family life. It has been proven time and time again that there is indeed strength in numbers and multiple minds are better than one. Because Howard and I share the same views of the industry and we both have a lot of real-world experience the two heads are better than one theory is going to be a big benefit.”
So how exactly are two of the biggest and most respected names in the industry – two juggernauts – going to unite under one roof, working side by side as a singular brand to achieve mutual goals? The answer stems from the duo’s initial conversations that led to the realization that by strategically aligning as one, they could utilize each other’s decades of experience and knowledge to tackle and overcome any obstacles they encountered, while at the same time reducing the amount of stress and workload each carries as individuals. “It was actually a much less complicated decision than I initially anticipated if I’m being honest, ” Howard recalls. “While I love the relationships I have formed in Florida over the past 12 years, I constantly find myself wanting to head into the mountains carving corners in my Redline Motorsports creations. North Georgia mountains are a great place for this, as well as many other things I am not able to partake in South Florida.” A quick trip to visit the Vengeance Racing facility and explore the area confirmed everything Ron had told Howard about the area and it was everything Howard hoped it would be.
It’s safe to say that two people like Ron and Howard who have built successful companies in an industry as competitive as the high-performance automotive aftermarket tend to have Type A personalities that some may refer to as having a big ego. How will that play out with these two under the same roof? “Ron and I have spent much of the time talking about ourselves as people and where we can complement each other, Howard explained. “I have really enjoyed getting to know Ron better and we have so much in common, including our strong personalities. We both realize that you can’t run businesses like ours and not be a bit heavy-footed, but we know to be a winning team we need to respect each other’s experiences.”
Redline Motorsports began in upstate New York before relocating to South Florida in 2012. In business for 32 years, Redline Motorsports has always been a full-service late-model facility, much like Vengeance Racing. However, according to Howard his area of interest and particular expertise has always been engine building and final calibrations. It is this experience, knowledge, and passion that defines and fuels Howard’s new entity, HTR Performance and Engineering. “My dedication to engine development and engine management calibrations is what I truly enjoy,” Howard said. “Ron has done an impressive job building a team at Vengeance Racing and I look forward to being a part of continuing its growth using my technical skills and management background from 32 years with Redline Motorsports.” It is also worth mentioning that Howard and Ron invite all Redline Motorsports customers past and present, to give Vengeance Racing the opportunity to show them a whole new level of customer support.
Ron explained the new direction of Vengeance Racing this way, “Having Howard’s experience in calibrations is going to really help us with our program and, more importantly, with future product development. Ron informed us that in addition to teaming with Howard, he is ramping up Vengeance Racing’s full-race program going into 2024, which was a big part of his involvement in sponsoring the Streetcar Braggin’ Rights series at South Georgia Motorsports Park as well as many other races across the country. “We’ve got a big following of hardcore racers,” Ron said. “Having Howard on the team will really help us focus on that sector of the business while still providing our services to the customers looking at package builds.”
According to Ron, Vengeance Racing will be expanding the race shop side of the business in 2024 to provide even more services with Howard on board. “We will always continue to support our core clients looking for basic bolt-on modifications, as well as those with the 700 to 1,000 horsepower builds, as we have built the brand,” Ron said. “However, we are going to be leaning very hard on the competitive side more than ever to showcase the level of talent we have in-house at Vengeance Racing.”
With three decades of experience owning and running a similar successful business, it would only make sense to utilize that skill set in Howard’s toolbox, and that is exactly what this team is going to do to help lower the stress and workloads on both men while growing and reaching new heights at the same time. “I am wanting to regain some personal life and enjoy some time away from cars and with family. That is why I am more excited for Howard’s role as Operations Manager on the VR team,” Ron said. “It’s not often you find someone who understands exactly how all the gears work in an operation like this, and he surely does from his experience with Redline Motorsports. His business experience will help us work tighter internally.”
From our conversation, Howard is just as excited about the roles he is stepping into. “I am looking forward to working side by side with Ron knowing we can usually finish each other’s sentences and our commitment to top-level service and performance is on point,” Howard said. “Ron is a serious industry warrior, more so than me in many ways. I really love his fire for the fight, and I am happy being the mad scientist in the back these days. So we complement each other well.”
It is not often we see two industry leaders combine forces like what is happening at Vengeance Racing. It is an exciting experiment and it will be interesting to see what comes out of the Vengeance Racing/HTR laboratory. Some may say it won’t work with two captains on the same ship, but after our conversation, it is easy to see the energy, excitement, and passion renewed in both of these enthusiasts. Both are continuing to do what they love and now things can go back to not feeling like work. Stay tuned to see what Ron and Howard dream up and smash the industry with.