Speed Gardner was born in East Liberty, Pennsylvania. He started racing in AAA in 1929 driving a Miller.
In May that year he first raced in the Indy 500, qualifying 28 and finishing in an impressive 6th. Chet Gardner (relationship, if any, unknown) drove relief for him in the race after having failed to qualify. It would be Speed's best finish. His next two trips to the Brickyard ended in retirement and on his last attempt in 1932 he failed to qualify when he crashed his Studebaker in practice.
Died in Bayonet Point, Florida.