SCOTT LOOKS TO ASCEND IN PHOENIX; IDAHO NATIVE SEEKS TO MOVE UP TO TOP-FIVE IN NCWTS POINTS CHASE MOORESVILLE, NC (November 9, 2009) -- Like the mythical Phoenix rising, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Brian Scott hopes to get a lift...
SCOTT LOOKS TO ASCEND IN PHOENIX; IDAHO NATIVE SEEKS TO MOVE UP TO TOP-FIVE IN NCWTS POINTS CHASE
MOORESVILLE, NC (November 9, 2009) -- Like the mythical Phoenix rising, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Brian Scott hopes to get a lift from this Friday night's Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. The 21-year-old currently stands only 39 points out of the top-five in NCWTS points and needs a boost to propel him and his Xpress Motorsports team back into the upper echelon of the standings. Phoenix may be just the tonic the driver of the No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra is looking for. Last year in this event Scott scored his first ever NCWTS top-five and was a factor throughout the race.
"Phoenix was an exciting race in 2008," Scott said. "We ran up front battling for the top spot and we ran second for the longest time. It got interesting right at the start. I think Ron Hornaday Jr. and Kyle Busch got together coming off of turn four on the first lap and we narrowly missed that. Phoenix proved to be a big shakeup in the championship points standings because both Hornaday and Benson had their problems. We were able to run good and take advantage of other teams' misfortune. We ran up front and stayed out of the wrecks and ended up getting a top-five finish out of it. It was my first top-five in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and it was the first top-five I had with Jeff Hensley."
For Hensley Scott's performance was an eye opener. He quickly realized his young driver had talents theretofore unseen. It proved to be a catalyst for a 2009 season that has generated one win at Dover, 7 top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes in 23 starts.
"Phoenix last year was an important race for us," Hensley said. "It was pretty cool to go there and run as well as we did. We didn't run that well in practice but we kept working at it and kept working at it and got the truck to where it was really good. We qualified well and in the race we ran second for a good portion of the race. We made one small adjustment and got too free and ended up fourth. That was our first top-five and it really started the momentum rolling for us. We ended up getting a second place finish at Homestead the next week and I think those two races at the end of 2008 helped set the stage for the success we have had in 2009."
Certain types of venues suit certain types of drivers and that is certainly the case for Scott. Phoenix is a type of track that has produced good results for Boise, ID native.
"It seems like virtually any flat track works really well for me," Scott noted. "Whether it is Kansas or Kentucky, both one and a half mile tracks but relatively flat, or the flat one mile tracks like Gateway, Loudon or Phoenix -- for some reason they just seem to fit my driving style. Phoenix is a great track, a really good flat competitive short track. One of the biggest challenges Phoenix presents is track position. You can definitely pass there but it is not necessarily a track where you can go all the way from the back to the front on a regular basis so it is going to be important to qualify up front, stay up front and have good pit strategy. Fuel mileage and tire management come into play so you have to have the right game plan there. Like any short track you have to stay out of trouble, and not be a victim or get caught up in something of your own doing. I am excited to go back to Phoenix knowing that we ran there so well last year and I am looking forward to both of these last two events because we run well at both places and we should have pretty good trucks for both events."
Phoenix actually suits Hensley well as well. The NASCAR veteran from Horsepasture, VA is competent and comfortable on the one mile tri-oval race track located in Avondale, Arizona.
"I like Phoenix because it has always been a good track for me personally," Hensley adds. "I have never won there but we always seem to run well there. You have to be able to get the truck to turn well and be able to get back in the gas and keep your momentum up. Phoenix changes a whole lot from the conditions during the day to the conditions at nighttime. We practice during the day and we race at night. You have to know what to do to the truck to adjust for the huge swings in track conditions between the two scenarios. You have to know where you need to be chassis wise so that you can run well at night."