It’s safe to say that Robert Lutz, Bishop Grimes’ alumnus class of 1987, maybe the only alum to reach speeds upward of 175 mph in a car on a regular basis. A Syracuse native, Robert Lutz grew up working for his family-owned business, assisting in the development and maintenance of D.I.R.T Motorsports in Weedsport, NY. At Bishop Grimes Lutz enjoyed being a member of the wrestling team and now appreciates his favorite teachers, Friar John and Mr. Glisson. Robert says, “Bishop Grimes taught me at a young age the importance of meeting deadlines and the importance of researching and preparing which I have carried on into my career.”
After graduating from Bishop Grimes Robert Lutz attended both Onondaga Community College and Cayuga Community College before moving to Charlotte, N.C. in May of 1990, where he accepted the position of Marketing Director of Fast Track High-Performance Driving School. Lutz left Fast Track to start a new business, the Richard Petty Driving Experience, which became the leading stock car driving experience in the United States, holding locations in Charlotte, Atlanta, Las Vegas and at Walt Disney World.
In October of 1997, Lutz sold his share of the company which led to the creation of his newest company, Driving 101, LLC, in the fall of 1998. Driving 101, LLC focused on improving the driving experience concept and allowed auto racing fans, corporate clients, and non-fans alike the opportunity to experience open-wheel racing. In just six short years Driving 101, LLC expanded to nine locations nationwide.
In 2004 Lutz partnered with Mario Andretti to create the Mario Andretti Racing Experience which sought to create the fastest driving experiences for consumers. In 2005 Lutz partnered with four-time NASCAR Champion, Jeff Gordon to create the Jeff Gordon Racing School, which offered the opportunity to NASCAR fans alike to drive on a super speedway. Lutz continued to grow and expand his company, purchasing American Racing Academy in Las Vegas, NV in 2007, which added a fleet of race-prepped BMW Z3’s to his expanding list of experiences. In 2009 Lutz rebranded the Jeff Gordon Racing School to the NASCAR Racing Experience (NRE). Of all of his accomplishments Robert shares, “I’m most proud of re-branding the racing experience, formerly Jeff Gordon Racing School) to NASCAR Racing Experience. In the motorsports industry, NASCAR is by far the leading brand. And with NASCAR Racing Experience we are truly appealing to all NASCAR fans, thrill seekers, corporate America and not just fans of particular drivers.”
Robert Lutz’s perseverance wasn’t going to stop with just these acquisitions. In 2012 he purchased the Myrtle Beach Speedway which was formerly the training grounds for some of NASCAR’s biggest names, including Jeff Gordon, all four generations of Petty’s and three generations of Earnhardt’s.
More recently Lutz acquired Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure and just this year purchased the Richard Petty Driving Experience back, coming full circle from the initial business he started. He now has more than twenty racetracks around the country, providing opportunities for fans and thrill-seekers alike. Today, Driving 101, LLC is the leading experiential racing company in North America. The biggest challenge Robert has faced, he shares, is “growth. Growth is a good thing, but can be logistically challenging managing multiple locations across the US.” Due to this growth, Lutz is working on getting his pilot’s license.
Lutz’s would like to share with current Bishop Grimes’ students, “do your best.” He goes on to share, “No matter what you do for work in life, whether it’s changing the oil at Quick Lube, creating a new app for Apple, or working at a Doctor’s office, you must always do your best. Consistently doing your best will take you on a route in your career path that you would never have otherwise not traveled with mediocre job performance.” It is evident that throughout his career, and for years to come, Lutz has not and will not compromise on the premise of doing your best.