SIZZLING SCOTT SCORCHES MEMPHIS FOR SECOND "ONE ARMED BANDIT"JUST 14 POINTS OUT OF FIFTH IN NCWTS POINTS MILLINGTON, TN (June 27, 2009) -- Brian Scott took advantage of a very strong No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra, good fuel mileage and ...
SIZZLING SCOTT SCORCHES MEMPHIS FOR SECOND "ONE ARMED BANDIT"JUST 14 POINTS OUT OF FIFTH IN NCWTS POINTS
MILLINGTON, TN (June 27, 2009) -- Brian Scott took advantage of a very strong No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra, good fuel mileage and excellent pit strategy by crew chief Jeff Hensley to post an impressive second place finish in Saturday afternoon's O'Reilly 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park. Scott trailed winner Ron Hornaday Jr. to the checkered flag by a scant 0.653 seconds. It was the second straight top-five finish by the 21-year-old Boise, ID native since suffering a broken right wrist in a hard crash at Michigan Speedway two weeks ago. The strong run helped Scott move up to 6th in the NCWTS points chase and he sits just 14 points out of the top-five. Scott's efforts led race winner Hornaday Jr. to label him "the one-armed bandit" after the event.
"I think we showed that if we don't have bad luck or get caught up in an accident, we're a top-five truck week in, week out," Scott said in the media center after the event. "My hat's off to our guys. Everybody on our Xpress Motorsports Albertson's Toyota Tundra put in really hard work and a good effort in the shop. That ultimately t ranslates to how we show up at a race. We unload well and we run well. That's just their preparation. All the guys just work tirelessly. Jeff Hensley is the best crew chief when you get to a race track. He calls a great race and he can see it through to the end. He knows our fuel mileage. He knows our pit strategy. He has it figured out. I'm just lucky enough to go out there and drive. If I don't screw up and we don't have any bad luck, we can contend for a win every week and definitely a top-five."
Scott qualified in the 8th position and jumped out to a great start passing two trucks on the outside during the first lap. Scott hovered near the top-five for the first fifty laps of the race. During a caution period on lap 54 Scott was trapped in the pits by the lapped truck of Chris Fontaine. The snafu put the Xpress Motorsports team back in the 18th position. That allowed crew chief Jeff Hensley to make a gutsy call just 20 laps later. With a full understanding of the new pit road rules in the NCWTS that force the teams to make separate pit stops for fuel and tires, Hensley elected to bring Scott down pit road for his final fuel stop on lap 75. When the caution flag fell on lap 108 the leaders were forced to make two separate stops for tires and fuel and Scott had the luxury of stopping only once, for tires. As a result of the pit shakeup Scott inherited the lead on the ensuing restart followed by David Starr and Ron Hornaday Jr. Scott's No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra proved to be a stout steed and Scott kept the lead for 20 laps before Hornaday Jr. was able to wrestle it away on lap 135. From that point on Scott was able to fend off Starr for second despite a late race caution that created a two lap shootout at the end.
"I got a good jump on the restart and got to Hornaday's bumper and drove in the corner right there with him," Scott said. "Unfortunately, I drove in a little harder and it wouldn't stick quite as well as his because I slid my front. Once I lost the bottom, I was like, 'Maybe I can get to the gas and get to his outside quarter-panel here and take a shot at him.' He got off the corner really well and there was nothing I could do. I was just lucky to settle back in second and not lose second to David Starr. That was all I was thinking about. I knew he could at times run faster than me and at times I could run faster than him. I was just hoping to run faster than him that last little bit. I think somebody got side-by-side with him, and that helped me out. I was just able to hold on for second."
While Starr might have been tempted to put a fender on Scott late in the race he ultimately decided valor was the better part of discretion.
"I tried to get a good restart," Starr said after the event. "I didn't have enough of my front end underneath Brian. It's tough trucks, tough drivers and a tough series. It's tough on the race driver racing side-by-side, beating and banging, trading a little paint. When you go in there and blatantly knock someone out of the way, they'll definitely pay you back down the road. When you do something like that, you might take yourself out too. We race hard, that's what this series is about, but when you blatantly take someone out, I don't think that's what this series is about. I just didn't have enough to get my nose up in there. I could've stayed in there and taken him out, but what's the point? We're good friends and we drive for the same manufacturer and I might've taken myself out. That ain't racing. If I couldn't pass him hard or clean, I wasn't going to get the pass done. He was a little bit better than me anyways. You try to get a little extra, and when you do that, you put yourself in a spot to lose a spot. I was just trying to drive as hard as I could and get all I could without taking somebody out. It was a hard-fought race, but a clean race."
The event was run in unrelenting hea t with a heat index before the start of the race climbing higher than 110 degrees. Scott noted that is a factor that affects everyone, not just the drivers.
"You definitely know it's hot the whole time out there," Scott acknowledged. "You're sweating, you're doing everything you can, drinking water. It's not just hot for drivers. The pit crews, they're in full uniform. The Sunoco guys, the track help, the cleanup guys, the fans. I can't believe all the fans that endured the heat to watch us race. That was really cool to see. At times you look up under caution and just before the race started and you're like, 'Wow, there's a lot of people sitting in the 110-degree heat on steel bleachers or aluminum bleachers.' They're hot too. It was hot for everybody, not just us. I think everybody did an awesome job just staying hydrated and dealing with it. You try to block it out, but there's only so much you can do."