Talladega: Brian Scott preview

TALLADEGA NEXT CHALLENGE FOR SCOTT; IDAHO NATIVE MAKES MOST OF OFF WEEKEND, CLAIMS TOP FIVE AT NEW JERSEY ARCA RACE MOORESVILLE, NC (September 29, 2008) -- Just one year and two weeks after embarking on his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career...


MOORESVILLE, NC (September 29, 2008) -- Just one year and two weeks after embarking on his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career rookie of the year candidate Brian Scott has raced on every track that the NCTS competes on -- except one. Now Talladega Superspeedway, 2.66 miles of high banked asphalt ribbon carved out of the deep red Alabama clay, presents the last challenge for the 20 year-old Boise, ID native. Talladega has a certain mystique, legends have been made there. Dale Earnhardt Sr. captivated the NASCAR fan base by claiming 10 checkered flags at the high speed oval, Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured victory four times in a row from 2001 through 2003 and Jeff Gordon has won there six times since 1996. It is not like Scott has not seen the track -- he drove in the ARCA race there in 2007 and he has some superspeedway experience in a truck, finishing 9th at Daytona earlier this year. Scott now sets his sights on this Saturday's Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway with his No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra.

"Talladega presents several challenges," Scott said. "One big challenge at Talladega or Daytona is developing a truck that is fast by itself and yet drafts extremely well. That is the first and foremost challenge, without that either you don't make the race or you are not competitive in the race. The second challenge which is always present at Daytona or Talladega is just surviving. You have to be able to go out and survive. They call these races restrictor plate races but I think they should call them survival races. I think survival is more fitting." Survival is certainly a key element to a good finish at both superspeedways on the NCTS circuit. Due to the engine plate restrictions, trucks are very equal in horsepower and speed creating close side-by-side racing. With the trucks being in such close proximity to each other, dodging an accident as it is unfolding in front of the driver can be very challenging. The tiniest miscue can lead to one of the large multi-truck accidents that have come to be called "The Big On e". Talladega Superspeedway is famous for such jarring metal bending, gravity defying spectacles. Veteran NCTS crew chief Jeff Hensley knows that taking a young driver like Scott into the lion's den of speed at Talladega presents both opportunity and risk.

"No matter if you are a rookie or a veteran there is no safe place to run at Talladega," Hensley said. "When you are racing with these plates everyone is just on top of each other and if something happens there really is just no place to go. With Brian we just need to give him a truck that handles well. It doesn't have to be the fastest thing out there, it just needs to be comfortable to where he can maneuver himself in traffic and be able to get himself out of situations where he doesn't want to be. The other part is just being lucky enough to avoid all the trouble. Talladega doesn't pick and choose -- whether rookie or veteran, trouble can find you. Hopefully our truck will be good enough that Brian can avoid the trouble and we can be there at the end."

Scott will rely on his experience in his previous top-ten finish at Daytona this year to prepare himself for the task at hand. He knows that there are many obstacles for a young driver at high speed, engine restricted venues like Talladega.

"A big obstacle for me on superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega was figuring out how to take advantage of all the situations," Scott said. "It is important to figure out how to capitalize on opportunities like all the veterans do. Certain things you have to learn at a superspeedway are crucial, like how to best utilize the draft, how to take a certain line, when to pop out of line and how to pack air on other trucks. You need to learn how to mak e your truck better and faster so you can compete against all the other good trucks. The draft multiplies all the sensations you are going through in the truck. When you get the right pocket of air or steal air off of someone you can get a really good run. It is like nothing else. You feel like everyone in the grandstands is watching you and you are the world's greatest. But when someone takes advantage of you it is a humbling experience. You have highs and you have lows. You look like you are not even in the same league with someone when they take advantage of you. It's all good when things are going right and you're making the right moves and capitalizing on other people but you look like an idiot when it happens to you."

Hensley knows from his extensive NASCAR experience how important the draft is. It can prove to be a driver's best friend and he hopes that on Saturday it will serve the No. 16 Xpress Motorsports prepared Albertsons Toyota well.

"The draft is just such a great equalizer at Talladega," Hensley said. "The greatest thing about Talladega is as long as you are in the race you have a chance to win. That has always been my theory as long as I have raced there. The draft plays such a big part and if you get your truck driving good, whether you qualify 1st or 21st you have a shot to win. Talladega is both good and bad -- you usually know from the first lap on the track what you have as far as speed so you get that out of the way right quick. If you are off a lot of times there is nothing you can do to pick it up. I love racing there and I am looking forward to racing there with Brian."


Brian Scott made the most of his off weekend claiming a fifth place finish in the Loud Energy Drink 150 Automobile Racing Club of America race on Sunday September 28th at New Jersey Motorsports Park. It was the first major event held at the brand new road course in Millville, NJ and it was Scott's first road course effort. The event was shortened by rain after completing 48 0f the scheduled 67 laps. It was Scott's fourth top-five finish in his last five ARCA starts.

-credit: eb/xm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Brian Scott