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LETTI BOZARD’S “OTHER” PERSONA
By Kara Pound
Photos by Mark Cubbedge
She’s really a popular figure around the place.” That’s something that you hear a lot about Letti Bozard. The successful businesswoman has her hands in a lot of charities and organizations in town and is a popular figure in the community. How could she not be? Her winning smile and bubbly personality, coupled with a laser-like business focus and drive make her a pleasure to be around.
Let’s talk about that drive. A drive to stand out has made Bozard Ford, which she co-owns with her brother Bo, the most successful Ford Dealership in the nation. A drive to be a positive force in the community has led her to become the sponsor for countless festivals and charity organizations. It can be said that the same drive that led her to break out of the mold led to an incarnation which is rather… unorthodox, at the very least.
Meet Letti Bozard, Down in the Dirt…team co-owner, Revolution Racing. Yes, dirt car racing.
“She’s really popular around the place…” says Jack Spencer, father of Bozard’s team partner, driver Blake Spencer. And when Jack says “place,” he’s not talking about some gala or festival…he’s talking about the race track.
Since its inception in the mid-to-late 1800s, auto racing has remained a male-dominated sport. Drivers like Jeff Gordon and Mario Andretti have ascended to the top of the field with the kind of determination, passion and skill that only a race car driver can understand.
“For me, an actual win is what drives the driver,” says Letti Bozard. “They want that. They’re competitive. They wouldn’t be race car drivers if they weren’t competitive. These are strong-willed people and need to get in those cars. For me, the win is for them.”
Bozard is working to debunk the longstanding notion that racing should be left to the boys. In June of 2015, Bozard and her racing partner, Spencer Blake established the aforementioned Revolution Racing. They race in the late model, dirt division and are looking forward to a gangbuster 2017 season.
“We get approached all the time for sponsorships of everything from Little League teams to big level sponsorships like extreme sports,” Letti says of Bozard Ford’s community involvement. “We’ve been approached hundreds of times for car racing, powerboat racing and motocross racing because car dealerships are just kind of a logical fit for that.”
The marketing guru behind Bozard Ford, a company that’s been in the family for three generations, Letti saw the opportunity to put the dealership’s name in front of thousands of potential customers at race events; but she wasn’t sure how to execute it.
“Racing was in my sights, but I couldn’t find the right fit because I didn’t want to just be a logo on somebody’s car and not be a part of how we were represented,” she explains. “Obviously, it’s very competitive and they travel from track to track. There’s just a lot of moving parts in the dirt racing world on the operational side.”
With several dirt tracks in South Georgia, Ocala and down south towards Daytona, Bozard decided to pursue that niche of racing.
“A couple of years ago, I met Blake Spencer at a fundraiser. He had a dirt late model, a personal car that he worked right out of his garage. It was just a hobby, but he’d been in that “He was connected and he understood the sport, but he wasn’t so embedded with anybody that I couldn’t go in there and say, ‘I want a Bozard Ford car.’”
Over the past two years, Bozard and Spencer have built a strong dirt track racing team. Bozard handles the marketing while Spencer handles the operations and drives most races.
“We collaborate very well,” says Spencer. “As a female getting into the racing industry, she’s adapted very well. We became bigger, faster than we could have ever expected. The pace has been accelerated as we’ve gone from relative beginners to racing a full-blown schedule.”
Over the past two years, they’ve rounded out the team with crew chief Justin McGauley, crew member Gilbert Niehaus and the assistance of Spencer’s parents, Jack and Ruth Spencer.
“I think sometimes you can be a super bullheaded woman and get things done, but a lot of your success comes from working together with people and being allowed to take your strengths to the table and being excited about what you can bring to the table,” says Bozard. “Blake was one of those people and we great work together.”
Racing season runs March through November and Bozard spends as much time at the track as she can while juggling her responsibilities at the dealership with those of raising two daughters.
“I don’t have to be at the racetrack, but I have come to completely love it,” she says. “I’m totally obsessed with it. If I can go, I go. It’s fun. It’s exciting and it’s very family-oriented. While the racing is very competitive, once it’s over, everybody sits around together and tells stories. There’s a good camaraderie there.”
So, if you don’t find her at the dealership, and she’s not hanging with her daughters, attending and/or helping out with a Sunshine Rotary/ festival/charity event, go to the nearest dirt track race. It’s a good bet that you’ll find Letti there, getting her hands dirty with the rest of the boys.