Hantz Pushed Ross to the Limit in 2001
Salem, IN (December 7, 2001) - Even though Scott Hantz finished second in the 2001 standings, "The Hurricane" experienced his best season in the Kendall Late Model Series while pushing series champ Brian Ross to the limit. His final 2001 numbers include, four wins, leading 671 laps (most in series), one Contractors Underground Pole Award, 10 top-five finishes and 11 top tens.
Matt Hagans (9) and Scott Hantz (72) in the Sunoco 150 in September
"We had a better year this season as compared to the 2000 season," said Hantz. "We won more races, finished runner-up on more occasions and were able to lead a bunch of laps, but mechanical failures hindered out chances to win back-to-back titles. Brian (Ross) was consistent every week and didn't have many problems until the end of the season."
Peter Cozzolino (6) races with Scott Hantz (72) at Anderson
Hantz and the Richard Poe Motorsports team were able to win both events at Angola Motor Speedway in dominating fashion as the number 72 Chevrolet led all 300 laps at the .375-mile oval.
"It was great to win both events at Angola. Dick Poe has given me everything I could ever want from a car owner. He lets me build and maintain the cars and I make all the calls. If there are any problems with the car or the setup is off, I'm the one to blame. It's a dream situation for me."
Scott Hantz in victory lane at Angola in 2001
This season in July fans were treated to back-to-back great duels with Brian Ross and Hantz battling for victories at Plymouth Speedway on July 8 and the following weekend at the inaugural event at Illiana Motor Speedway. Hantz in the EMF Corporation Chevrolet held off Ross' number 42 machine at Plymouth after they battled for much of race and at Illiana the duo put on a great battle. After nearly running side-by-side for ten laps, Hantz was able to prevail winning for the third time in a row.
"At Plymouth, I knew I had to get out in front of Brian or it would have been tough to get by him. The first race in May I let him go and that was a mistake. The victory at Illiana was one of the best races I've ever driven against Brian. It was a great battle. I figured out a different groove than everybody else and can't wait to go back next year!"
"The Hurricane" Prepares for Battle
After finishing second at the season finale at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Hantz has been pretty busy competing in a couple season ending late model specials at Thunder Hill Raceway in Texas and most recently at Southern National Speedway in North Carolina.
In Scott's Words:
"Texas was a sad story from the beginning. We had a decent car in practice and then had our qualifying time disallowed. We went through pre-qualifying tech had no problems, but then after qualifying they said the car was a quarter-inch to low. That forced us to run the last chance event. We were able to make the race, but got a flat tire 5 laps into the race, which put us a couple laps down. After we got back on the track the scoring was a little confusing. It was a pretty weird deal, when the would yellow come out they would put us back two spots and one time they sent us five spots back. With it being a first-time event at the track, hopefully it will continue to improve. We're then going to just pull off and got collected and that ended our race."
On December 2 at Southern National Speedway, Hantz had a great showing
finishing in third position in the 200-lap event.
"The whole racing program got rained out the week before. The following week, the car was pretty strong in practice and in qualifying we gained three tenths and were pretty happy with our time. Then a bunch of the guys ran times 6 tenths faster and we ended up 17th quickest. Once the race started the car was pretty good and I could pass high and low. Near lap 100 we're in sixth and decided to pit. The crew did an awesome job and got us out first of the cars the pitted. About 20 laps in the run, we back in sixth and with 50 to go were fifth. Then everybody started wrecking and we ran out of laps. We got up to third, but had a shot at the top two with more green flag laps. The top two finishers started on the front row and didn't pit. They were slowing down at the end, but we just didn't have enough laps. It was a great time running at Southern National and was fun talking with the fans."
After running a couple late model special events you would think Scott Hantz and the Richard Poe Motorsports team would be preparing for the 2002 Kendall Late Model Series season, but they are about to experience something totally different. They recently purchased a dirt late model and are going to race in Speedweeks at Volusia Speedway Park in February.
"I kind started out as a joke between Dick (Poe) and me. He came out and asked about going to Florida. I wasn't to excited about it after the bad luck we had in 2001. He then came out to the shop with a bunch of dirt late models circled in a racing paper and the next thing we're looking at one of Steve Barnett's car. It should been a pretty fun time. It's something totally new for all of us. Steve is going to help us get up to speed in Florida. We might also run at Lakeland if they have their big four days late model show."
Even though Scott hasn't taken much time off to think about next year, he's pretty focussed on winning the championship. "Next season should be a great year in the series. There are a lot of exciting things happening and we're thrilled about the growth of the series. Hopefully we can have a great year and win the championship."
Busy Off-Season Continues in February with First Appearance on Dirt