From Kansas City - the Missouri side of the town rather than in the state of Kansas itself - Grant developed an early interest in chemistry and after finishing high school went to Iowa State University of Science and Technology near Des Moines to study for a degree in chemical engineering. When he graduated in 1972 he joined Goodyear as a trainee and after spending some time in the aircraft tire development department he joined the engineers in race tire engineering in 1973.For the next six years he worked as a compounder, devising new tires for a variety of different areas of the sport. Grant was closely involved in the development of slick tires for the use of the big NASCAR stock cars and helped with the development of tires for Indianapolis which would be capable of running at over 200mph. He also worked on the development of drag racing rubber which was used at speeds of 250mph.In 1978 he became the chief compounder and continued in that role until he was promoted to become manager of all race tire development programs in 1983, working under the company's racing boss Leo Mehl.In 1991 he switched to production tires becoming manager of Passenger Tire Programs for three years and then being transferred to Goodyear subsidiary the Kelly Springfield Tire Company in Cumberland, Maryland, as manager of light truck marketing in mid-1994.That job lasted just three months before he was called back to Akron to become director of race tire sales and marketing. When Mehl announced that he was retiring from Goodyear in March 1996 Grant was designated as his successor, becoming General Manager of Worldwide Racing - the top job in Goodyear competition departments.