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On the job with ... Andy Gardner, stunt driver

Don’t try this at home: Waldorf driving school instructor Andy Gardner can drive his car on two wheels — passenger side only and has won fame in the industry by appearing in films and commercials as a stunt driver.

A Mechanicsville resident, Gardner said he has been in the movie and film business for more than three years, receiving 14 film credits and a bunch of commercials as well.

Gardner said he drove in “Love and Other Drugs” starring Anne Hathaway, and in Garth Brooks’ “Unanswered Prayers.”

Gardner said he also has appeared in BMW commercials, independent films and training films.

However, don’t expect to notice Gardner, as he said people never see stunt car drivers.

“We’re always called the actors with no dialogue,” Gardner said.

Gardner said he has been honing his stunt car craft since he was a child.

“It’s been a passion of mine since I was 8 years old. I couldn’t get it out of my system,” Gardner said.

Gardner said that stunt car drivers in “The Dukes of Hazzard” trained him, and encouraged him to go into the film industry.

Show me your moves: Gardner said he has mastered driving on two wheels, where only the passenger-side wheels are on the road.

In order to get onto two wheels, Gardner drives onto a ramp. After getting nearly sideways, Gardner said the way he stays on two wheels is through a “balancing act.”

The move is not used very often in films anymore, Gardner said, but was popular in the 1970s and 1980s in shows such as “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “Charlie’s Angels.”

Gardner said that his other stunts include “fire burns,” or driving through explosions, and can vary depending on what the director wants, but the most dangerous act in his opinion is when a film acts out regular car crashes.

Gardner said that the stunts require precision, like having to slide up to a $50,000 camera and stop.

“We’re precision drivers basically,” Gardner said.

Local support, supporting locals: Gardner is also a local driving instructor with Best Driving Academy in Waldorf, but don’t worry, parents. The only lesson he carries over from stunt driving is safety.

Gardner said he hammers home the importance of wearing a seat belt.

He has received several sponsorships from local businesses to support his stunt-driving career.

Gardner said he also comes to local fundraisers, offering rides in his stunt car to passengers feeling the need for speed.

For insurance purposes, the Mustang has a fifth wheel hanging off the passenger side for passenger rides so that the car cannot completely turn on its side, Gardner said.

Gardner said originally he did stunt driving for himself, but after a fundraiser with the Mustang Club of Maryland that raised funds for a girl with a spinal disease, he began to appear at more fundraisers.

Gardner appeared recently at Archbishop Neale School in La Plata for a fundraiser in remembrance of the 10th anniversary of the 2002 tornado that hit La Plata.

Gardner said he is offering his services to organizations who are looking to raise funds or hold events.

“I’m reaching out to other car shows that are holding events and fundraisers. It’s an added attraction to their fundraising,” Gardner said.

Gardner’s website is www.stuntstang.com, he said.

PAUL S. WARNERGot an idea for someone to profile in On the job? Send your suggestions to Angela Breck at abreck@somdnews.com or 7 Industrial Park Drive, Waldorf, MD 20602. Call 301-764-2847.