SCOTT THUNDERS TO A THRILLING 7TH PLACE at TALLADEGA Talladega, AL (October 4, 2008) -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rookie of the year candidate Brian Scott made the most of his first series start in Saturday's Mountain Dew 250 at the famed ...
SCOTT THUNDERS TO A THRILLING 7TH PLACE at TALLADEGA
Talladega, AL (October 4, 2008) -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rookie of the year candidate Brian Scott made the most of his first series start in Saturday's Mountain Dew 250 at the famed Talladega Superspeedway. Scott drove his No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra to the front of the pack on several occasions and was in contention for the win over the last 10 laps of the eve nt. As the lead pack came out of turn four and down through the tri-oval, only a last lap block by Kyle Busch kept Scott from his first top five and perhaps a shot at a win. Nevertheless Scott came home with a career best 7th place finish. Scott's 7th place finish was his third top-10 of the season and second in the last three races.
"Looking back I'm just upset because we definitely had a legitimate shot at the win," Scott said on pit road just after the event. "We were running fourth on the inside coming to the end and everybody split out and we tried to make a move on the bottom and just tried to make something happen. Kyle Busch slid over in front of me, trying to get all he could. I might have given up a couple spots but you've got to take a top-10 every time you come to a place like Talladega. I already looked over the truck and everything is good on our Albertsons Toyota Tundra, not a scratch on it. You just can't be upset with a top-10 at a place like this. On those last 7 laps you're pushing everything you can. You're just hoping you're in the right line and you can make the right moves. That's always scary every time your change lines. You have to hope that the people behind you or around you are going to stay with you and not hang you out in the middle, and that's the number one concern I had at the end. I just didn't want to get hung out at the end. ; I probably took the conservative route but it paid off with a top-10. Before that last caution we had it working on the outside line. If we could have kept coming a little bit longer, if that spin wouldn't have happened we might have gotten up there and might have been able to be leading the thing there the last couple of laps. It's just a crapshoot at the end. You've got to be in the right place at the right time with the right help"
Scott qualified his Toyota in the 23rd starting spot and held his own at the start of the event. When the caution flag fell for debris on lap 18 crew chief Jeff Hensley called Scott down pit road for four tires and fuel. On the ensuing restart Scott made his way from the 24th position to the top ten in six laps and then into the top five just five laps later. During the long green flag run Scott was shuttled backwards in Talladega's notorious 30 truck drafts but kept climbing forward after each pendulum swing. Scott made a crucial green flag stop for two right side tires and fuel on lap 52 and exited the pits in the 18th spot. By lap 66 Scott had rallied all the way to the 6th position when Jack Sprague brought out the caution after slamming the wa ll in the tri-oval. Scott ducked down pit road for a quick two second splash of fuel on lap 68 and restarted the event in fourth place. By lap 78 Scott had climbed into the second position and went three wide for first one lap later. As the field approached the starting line on lap 80 they were briefly four wide at the front and Scott claimed the lead at the flag stand in the middle of a three wide battle with Kyle Busch and Colin Braun. Just a few laps later Scott avoided near catastrophe when Braun cut a rear tire while running alongside Scott's Toyota and brought out the race's final caution. Scott restarted the last run on lap 87 in fourth and put himself in position to win the race over the last few laps. In fact the 20 year-old Idaho native was making a bold move to the inside approaching the checkered flag when Busch moved down to block him, costing Scott a few spots at the end. Scott's strong performance was not lost on his veteran crew chief Jeff Hensley.
"Just an outstanding job for a rookie driver," Hensley said in the garage area after the race. "For a driver making his first start at Talladega, Brian did a fantastic job of using his head, staying the course and letting the race come to him. He put himself in position to have a shot at the win at the end of the race and you can't ask for any more than that. That was just an impressive performance for a young driver. This pumps me up, I am really looking forward to racing with Brian each week.
The top ten finish at Talladega was Scott's second straight top ten at NASCAR superspeedways. He finished 9th at Daytona earlier this season. It appears the rookie has developed a feel for the high-speed, high banked restrictor plate tracks.
"Who knows? Two in a row," Scott said. "I think I've taken to drafting well but I've had good luck at these type of places, too. It takes a whole team effort and our Xpress Motorsports team did a great job today. I've had the same team with me and they've done a great job at this type track and we'll keep digging here at the end. My crew chief Jeff Hensley made great calls all day and my spotter Derrick Kneeland was fantastic. I mean as far as drafting goes, you can't beat these trucks. Just the amount of runs you get and how you can make stuff happen and the extremities of it. The lows and the highs of it really make it exciting. It's a lot of fun to be able to come out here and draft with the trucks, both Daytona and here. We'll gear up and get ready for Daytona next year."