Phoenix II: Brian Scott preview

SCOTT LOOKS TO KEEP HOPES RISING IN PHOENIX; IDAHO NATIVE ON A TEAR WITH FOUR TOP 10's IN LAST 6 RACES MOORESVILLE, NC (November 4, 2008) -- 23 races into the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Rookie of the Year candidate Brian...


MOORESVILLE, NC (November 4, 2008) -- 23 races into the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, Rookie of the Year candidate Brian Scott has certainly hit his stride. The 20-year-old Boise, ID native has ripped off an impressive streak of consistent finishes in his last seven races. The streak includes a career best finish at Talladega (7th), four top 10's (Loudon, Talladega, Atlanta and Texas) and 7 straight top 15 finishes. As a result of his recent charge, Scott has moved up to 16th in the NCTS point standings and currently sits 2nd in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year chase, just 36 points behind leader Colin Braun.

"We have had a lot of really good runs since midway through the season when we recognized the need for a change," Scott said after his most recent race at Texas. "It was the jump start that this team needed. It was like waking up a sleeping beast. These teams now know that they have to compete with us on a weekly basis. I think we can use this momentum going into next year but we are going to try to finish this year off the last two races and keep our hot streak going. I hope every week to keep gaining positions and gaining points on everyone in the driver's, owners and rookie standings. I can't say enough about everyone on this Xpress Motorsports team, everybody has pitched in to make the most out the second half of the year and the results speak for themselves."

Now Scott heads off to Phoenix for a showdown in the desert in his No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra, The Casino Arizona 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday night. It will be Scott's second venture to Phoenix -- he finished 18th there in the fall of 2007 in only his sixth NCTS start.

"Phoenix is a great track," Scott said "A really good flat competitive short track. I feel like it fits right into my style, the type of tracks where we have had the most success during my NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career. I am looking forward to it. One of 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's important to qualify up front, stay up front and have good pit strategy. Fuel mileage and tire management come into play so you need the right game plan there. Like at any short track you have to stay out of trouble, not be a victim or get caught up in something of your own doing. Our short track program has been really good all year long and we have been competitive at every single one we have gone to. Anytime we go to a track where you have to apply the brake pedal I think we have an advantage for some reason." Crew chief Jeff Hensley has a lot of experience at Phoenix with driver Mike Skinner. He thinks the uniqueness of the layout with two distinct corners and a dogleg on the backstretch adds a lot to the competition.

"We have always run well at Phoenix," Hensley said. "We have qualified good and led races but I have never had the good fortune to win there. I think third is the best finish I have ever had there. I like Phoenix, I like the challenges of the two corners. There is always a little give and take. The track changes dramatically from day to night. First couple of times I went there I struggled a little bit with that and now I think I have a handle on it. We figured out where we need to be during the day to be good at night and not get caught up in the stopwatch as much as just getting the truck to drive good. I am looking forward to it especially as good as Brian has performed at Gateway and Loudon. We have a really good truck for there and I am excited. I think we can go there and qualify well and race well. It is a place where track position is important but if you have a good enough truck you can get from the back to the front. Johnny Benson got spun on the first lap there in 2006 and came back and won the race. Track position is important there but not as important as it would be at Loudon or Martinsville. It is really important to be able to run through the corner in turns one and two. You have to keep your momentum up down the backstretch because it is such a tight corner. If you can't make it through two it just kills your backstretch speed. Turns three and four are usually a little more forgiving because the driver can do more on that end to help. Get on the apron to help if you are tight or stay out and don't pinch the corner if you are loose. In one and two you have to be good on entry, good in the middle and good off."

-credit: eb/mx

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Johnny Benson , Colin Braun , Brian Scott