His goal was to hit 200 mph during the 65th anniversary of Speed Week at the Salt Flats.
The team was so determined to hit the mark Friday, that they worked on the car late into the night, leaving only after officials told them they had to go.
"We were really close to getting to 200," he said. "We went through the first three traps faster than we had gone before, but they start timing in the fourth trap and that's where I spun out on Friday."
Gardner, who won the Eastern Storm finale at Port Royal in 2012, is the current USAC/CRA points leader.
"The big focus was 200," he said. "It was a realistic goal and even though we didn't get there, we are still excited about how fast we put the car together and what we did accomplish."
Gardner noted the team had a two-year commitment and their chase for 200 will continue next year.