Fraser season opener preview

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The 2001 launch of the Shubie Shuttle is scheduled for Saturday, February 17, on the east coast of Florida. Scott Fraser, the newest driving sensation in the American Speed Association, will begin his quest for ASA ...

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The 2001 launch of the Shubie Shuttle is scheduled for Saturday, February 17, on the east coast of Florida. Scott Fraser, the newest driving sensation in the American Speed Association, will begin his quest for ASA Rookie-of-the-Year honors -- and possibly even larger achievements -- in the ASARacing.com 300 at St. Augustine Speedway. Fraser's nickname, "Shubie Shuttle," comes from his hometown of Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, Canada, and, of course, from his ability to drive the No. 00 King Racing Chevrolet to the front of the field quickly.

"A lot of people have a hard time pronouncing Shubenacadie, so they just call it Shubie," Fraser said. "Then somebody started calling me the Shubie Shuttle and the name stuck." Running a limited schedule of six ASA races last season in order to preserve his rookie status for 2001, Fraser wasted no time in gaining lots of attention in his very first ASA race at Chicago Motor Speedway in July. Until that time, Fraser had never driven an ASA car but he qualified second, led 20 laps and finished eighth. He never started any of the six races lower than 12th and he finished twice in the top five and twice more in the top 10. At the end of his first five, the only driver to have amassed more points in the same races was eventual series champion Gary St. Amant.

"We think we have a good chance to win some races in 2001," Fraser said. "We're going to Florida better prepared than we were when we started last year and that means a lot. But racing is a funny game. With all the cars being so equal in the ASA, it's about 60 percent getting breaks, or luck, if you choose to use that term. Then it's about 20 percent driving and 20 percent of hitting on the right setup for the car. "It seemed we had everything going for us last year. We had qualified second twice, led in four races and never finished lower than 11th. Then we went to St. Louis and the breaks didn't go our way. A wheel bearing burned out and we finished 33rd in the last race of the season."

Fraser appeared headed for Victory Lane at The Milwaukee Mile but a slow pit stop dropped him from second to 12th with about 40 laps remaining. Still, he drove furiously through the field to third and was gaining on the two cars in front of him when time ran out. "We've worked during the off-season to improve our work in the pits," said Fraser. "Before we went ASA racing we were not used to making pit stops, so I don't guess we realized the importance of speed in the pits. Well, we do now. Those seconds gained or lost in the pits mean just as much as they do when you're on the track racing.

We're going to be a lot better in that area this year. "We're excited and we're ready. The team is better prepared. We have more confidence, but then again we have more pressure on us because people have seen what we can do. If we can maintain consistency we'll have a great season."

-Joan Roue

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