Scott Blair, the founder of T.R.A.C.K. Auto Training & Network, is no stranger to creating solutions to issues facing the tire industry. He just can’t help himself – if he identifies an obstacle affecting his peers, through hell or high water, he’ll find a solution to it.
His problem-solving obsession began in the mid-90s when Scott worked as a wheel specialist with what was then known as Heafner Tires & Products (and later became American Tire Distributors through mergers and acquisitions). At the time, he noticed tire dealers working with custom wheels were having trouble knowing whether a tire would fit on a particular wheel for a specific vehicle – say, a cast wheel that’s built in several dimensions and with multiple offsets. Scott had to invent the solution: The Wheel Fit, a tool that can help the user determine the exact wheel dimensions needed to fit the widest tire possible without rubbing.
The Wheel Fit quickly became a hit with both tire dealers and consumer car enthusiasts, and Scott’s entrepreneurial spirit only ballooned from there. Today he runs four distinctive businesses: Wheel Fit; 2U Tire, a mobile tire service; 2U Mobile Solutions, where Scott sells mobile tire service vans as a non-franchised option to people wanting to get into the business; and finally, his most recent venture, T.R.A.C.K. Auto Training & Network – a tire, rim and chassis training program taught in-person, or virtually via Scott’s “LITE” program.
“As an independent TIA ATS Instructor, I had always offered certification classes. Well, over the last four to five years, and especially since the pandemic started, a lot of people from the hospitality industry came over to the automotive industry, because we’re consistent, we always have work. It was soon very apparent that these students were having difficulty grasping complex tire and wheel concepts because they never had any formal training. We were struggling to get people to pass an open-book test for the TIA program,” he says. “So that’s where the L-I-T-E came from, Live Interactive Training and Education.”
The virtual classes have become immensely popular thanks to Scott’s extensive, genuine field experience. In addition to teaching a regimen that he says helps students see their future in the tire industry, Scott has found success demonstrating his solutions to real-world problems.
“Did you know that are now making half-millimeter-sized sockets to take lug nuts off? It’s because with these cheap OE two-piece lug nuts if they get some corrosion and debris underneath them, they swell up to the point where you can’t put the correct socket on them,” he explains. “So, that’s exactly the kind of thing that I’m building into this program: How to physically get the job done. Here’s the problem that we’re dealing with and here are the solutions.”
Scott says the biggest issue facing the tire industry today is a lack of training – not just for someone new to the industry, but for veterans and multi-generational shop owners as well.
“They all need to engage in the fact that this is a highly technical industry, and it’s not just throwing any tire on a wheel in 15 minutes like they did 30 years ago,” he says.
Scott added that his training program is a necessary one for tire dealers wanting to create a succession plan for their business.
“If a tire dealer ever wants to enjoy business ownership and have an exit strategy, they must engage in this program to promote people from within to be ready to take over,” he says. “Otherwise, they will never be able to leave the shop to enjoy life.”