SCOTT SEEKS TO START SEASON STRONG WITH REFORMED XPRESS MOTORSPORTS; TOYOTA TUNDRA PILOT ON NCWTS HOT STREAK MOORESVILLE, NC (January 27, 2008) -- Brian Scott has had an extremely busy offseason. The Boise, ID native made the move from his...
SCOTT SEEKS TO START SEASON STRONG WITH REFORMED XPRESS MOTORSPORTS; TOYOTA TUNDRA PILOT ON NCWTS HOT STREAK
MOORESVILLE, NC (January 27, 2008) -- Brian Scott has had an extremely busy offseason. The Boise, ID native made the move from his family owned No.16 Xpress Motorsports team to the 2008 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship team at Bill Davis Racing only to see that team cease operations. Fortunately Scott had a home to return to at Xpress Motorsports. Xpress quickly reformed, mixing in the nucleus of Scott's 2008 crew with noted crew chief Jeff Hensley and selected key personnel from BDR. The team swiftly acquired a bevy new No. 16 Toyota Tundra chassis, a full complement of needed parts and pieces, and a full blown Toyota engine program from Triad Technologies. As a result Scott was able to celebrate his 21st birthday in style with new found optimism and a plan to harness the momentum he exhibited at the end of the 2008 NCWTS season when he scorched the competition, posting an average finish of 8.5 in the circuit's final eight events. He recorded five top-10s capped by a fourth place finish at Phoenix International Raceway and a second-place run in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For Scott, home truly is where the heart is.
"I think deep in everybody's heart involved we wanted to be back here at Xpress Motorsports," Scott said from the team's shop in Mooresville. "The move t o Bill Davis Racing was more for a move of opportunity with what they had going on with certain technology and support. Now we will have the same support from Toyota that we would have gotten there. Ultimately I think it is going to work for our benefit that it didn't work out because now we have a more selective crew. We have all the elements that we want. We have all the things that are important to us, and we were able to get the most valuable asset at Bill Davis which was Jeff Hensley and some of their key employees. We are really lucky and really happy to have the guys from our Xpress team that we have back, and I think that we have a really, really good crew. Everybody, I think, shares my same excitement looking forward to 2009 and what I think we can accomplish together."
With Daytona just a few short weeks away Scott's crew chief Jeff Hensley has high hopes for the 2009 NCWTS campaign. Hensley knows a good situation when he sees it. He had several stellar seasons with Mike Skinner at BDR, coming one broken wheel from winning the championship in 2007. When the 46 year-old Horsepasture, VA native examines the current Xpress Motorsports scenario and looks at his most recent history as Scott's crew chief, he can't hide his enthusiasm.
"I truly believe that we can contend for the championship," Hensley says. "There is no reason why we can't win races, absolutely no reason. We have everything here in this building provided for us to do it. I will surely be disappointed and so will a lot of other people if we don't pull off 4 or 5 wins this year. To win the championship is a tall order, and there's absolutely no guarantees. A lot of things have to happen just right. But we are sure as heck going to take the steps necessary to make sure that we are headed in the right direction. "
For Scott the hot streak at the end of the 2008 NCWTS season was an eye opening experience. For the first time in his truck series career he had the equipment and support to cultiv ate success. It was a lesson learned that hopefully will reap huge benefits in 2009.
"I think the end of 2008 showed that we can compete with everybody else on the circuit," Scott said. "We showed great consistency since making the switch to the Toyota Tundra. We were one of the most consistent teams over the last third of the 2008 season and there should be no reason why we can't keep that consistency and keep that success thru 2009. Hopefully that will translate into being a championship contending team. I think as a team, we have set our 2009 goals very high. We expect to win races, we expect to be in the top 5 and we expect to be in the hunt for the championship. And I really think anything other than that we are going to be disappointed with."
The chemistry between Scott and his crew chief Hensley has been better than anyone could have hoped for. With just seven races under their belts the dynamic duo has posted four top 10 and two top five finishes. Hensley has worked with some great drivers in his day, winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series title in 1990 with another driver from the great Northwest, Chuck Bown. With his new young shoe Hensley glimpses great promise for 2009..
"Brian is as good as anybody I've ever worked with as far as his natural ability, his instincts and his feel behind the wheel," Hensley said. "I think that's the most important thing. There has been a lot of talented drivers come down the pike, but they didn't know what it was they needed to feel to make their cars or trucks as good as they could be in a long run. There at the end of the year last year, Texas, Phoenix, Homestead, we might not have been top of the board but Brian felt real comfortable with what he had and we were real consistent. He began to know what that feel was. He was learning what that feel was. It showed, obviously it sho wed. So, I think the sky is the limit. Obviously we all learn every time you go to a race track and how much experience you have shows. The thing with Brian is he's like a sponge. He absorbs everything around him. He has an uncanny ability to filter through the unimportant data or input. A lot of times it's learning and if you don't learn the right things it doesn't do any good and Brian has the ability it seems like to learn the right things." Scott has certainly accelerated his learning curve under the tutelage of Hensley. His average NCWTS finish without=2 0Hensley tweaking the wrenches was 20.8 and his average under Hensley's watchful eye has been 8.5. Scott's performance in the No. 16 had started to improve before joining up forces with Hensley and it has taken a quantum leap with his quiet guidance.
"Jeff Hensley has been around this sport for a long time. He has worked with a lot of different drivers. I felt like as soon as we started communicating about racing and especially as soon as we went out on the track and I was actually like ok I'm feeling this and we're doing this and these are the changes we are making. I just felt like we were on the same page. I felt like we were thinking the same way, we wanted the truck to handle the same way. We just wanted the truck to be fast and to be smooth. We were looking for the same common ground. We were trying to achieve the same thing and we wanted to go the same direction to achieve it. I felt like he took what I was saying, digested it and then ultimately always made the right call as far as the adjustment and the way that we needed to go."
Scott knows how important the driver-crew chief relationship is. When it works it is like catching lightning in a bottle, and when it doesn't the results clearly show on the racetrack.
"You can look thru the archives of racing history and see that anytime a driver and a crew chief didn't necessarily see eye to eye or get on the same page there never was a tremendous amount of success," Scott said. "There are instances when a driver and a crew chief didn't get along yet they still had success but they were never able to maintain that success. They are either just hitting on something or they are that good at the time. But ultimately, you have to maintain a good relationship, because in racing you can never be as good as you need to be with what you have. You always have to be trying to get better and develop more and more. I think you put yourself behind that eightball if you don't have that open relationship." For Hensley that working relationship is definitely a two way street. Working with a young talented driver has helped keep Hensley on an even keel.
"Working around Brian really helps me because I'm my own worst enemy." Hensley adds, "I'm my own worst critic. I never think we are good enough. I never stop working and even when we are not as good as we need to be, Brian is usually so upbeat he gives you an opportunity to not worry about your job I guess that is the easiest thing to say. He just says 'Hey, don't worry about it. We will figure it out and if we don't we will go next week. If we're not on top of the board, don't' worry about it.' It's an uncanny deal to be able to know that every decision you make does not determine the outcome of your whole career. It is unusual or different. With Brian, he has that ability to be able to focus through things that are important and things are not. But as far as his ability to go to the next level, I don't see anything that would hold him back really. Not anything. He is personable, fun to be around and a sponsor's dream. I'm just proud to be involved with Xpress Motorsports right now."