Mansfield: Brian Scott preview

SCOTT LOOKING FORWARD TO FAMILIAR TURF Mooresville, NC (May 20, 2008) -- Finally Brian Scott gets to make a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at a track in which he at least has some experience. Scott has made 9 previous debuts on NCTS tracks...


Mooresville, NC (May 20, 2008) -- Finally Brian Scott gets to make a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut at a track in which he at least has some experience. Scott has made 9 previous debuts on NCTS tracks where he had never turned a lap. That all changes this weekend when Scott and his No. 16 Albertsons Chevrolet make their first NCTS start at Mansfield Motorsports Park in Mansfield, OH.

"I have run at Mansfield before in a Hooters Pro Cup car and had a really good experience," Scott said. "We qualified on the outside pole, led a bunch of laps, got black flagged for jumping a restart about halfway through the race and had to go to the back.

Mansfield is notorious for being a really hard place to pass but we had a really good car. I just adapted to the track really well and we came from all the way in the back up to 5th or 6th. We had a really good showing there and I'm excited about going back. Any time you've run somewhere before it certainly helps. I do have a little familiarity with the track, which is really nice for me considering most of the places we go, I've never been there before. I don't have that feeling and I don't have that comfort level of experience some places. It is nice to have that feeling going into Mansfield and Iam looking forward to it. Plus it's Mansfield -- they go crazy for the trucks there."

If anyone should have that nice familiar and fuzzy feeling about Mansfield it is veteran Xpress Motorsports crew chief Dave Fuge. A two time NCTS championship winner, Fuge has a stellar record at the Ohio venue with a win in the track's inaugural event in 2004 and a second place in 2005. Overall at Mansfield Fuge has posted three top 10 finishes in only four starts.

"We've always run good there," Fuge states. "I think we dominated the first race. The second race at Mansfield we probably had the fastest truck. Pit strategy cost us in the second race to Bobby Hamilton. We went up there last year with a rookie and we were very competitive with him too. We feel like we can be competitive there. We seem to have our short progam on track pretty well. It's a pretty tight little track, and it's important to get off the corners and get the throttle down. We've been pretty good, so I look for more of the same for Mansfield that we had at Martinsville. I think we'll run pretty good, I think the truck will be pretty quick once we sort through some of the changes we made to the chassis. It will probably be just like always -- pit strategy, fuel mileage and mostly luck as we try to stay out of trouble."

Scott too sees more of the same for Mansfield in relation to how they ran at Martinsville. His Albertsons Chevrolet qualified fourth at Martinsville earlier in the year and ran competitively until he was unceremoniously "dumped" by another rookie competitor.

"I think Mansfield will be lot like Martinsville strategy wise," Scott said. "It's going to be important any time you go to a short track to qualify up front and take yourself out of the beating and banging that goes on. Luck comes into play a lot more when you're on a narrow short track because not only do you have to have a good car and make the right moves and not get caught up in anything, but you can't be the victim of someone else's mistake either. I do like the close proximity racing that places like Mansfield provide. It's what I have the most experience with coming up through the grassroots racing -- Super Late Models and Hooters Pro Cup and even ARCA. It's short track racing, it's side by side, you can rub a little bit and not get out of shape. You get close enough to rub somebody on a big track, and the aero outcome is so drastic that somebody goes spinning.

So it's nice to go to a short track and beat and bang a little bit, but not to the point that you hurt your truck -- just to have a good race and be there at the end. That's short track racing." For Fuge Mansfield is somewhat unique from a strategy standpoint. Fuel management takes on a greater role than tire management. It is a question of being on pit road at the right time.

"With the Goodyear tires they have these days, they don't go away," Fuge says. "So it ends up being a fuel mileage race and whenever you get into your window you pit. If you can pit with the leaders at the very beginning, at the earliest opportunity if a caution falls, then you have a chance to run up front. If you don't have as good a fuel mileage and they get an early caution and they're in their window and you're not, then you have to stay out and ultimately try to climb back through the pack."

- credit: xm

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Brian Scott