Most of today's young guns in NASCAR were introduced into the world of racing during their early childhood, learning how to harness horsepower rather than pedaling a bicycle with training wheels.
Boys and girls at the tender age of five start their motorsports dreams competing in go-karts and quarter-midgets around America.
After their initial years with those vehicles, a crossroad is reached, and they either opt for the open-wheel circuit with sprint cars or the asphalt arena with late-model stock cars.
It is on those circuits and machines that their talents are honed and polished and they learn all about handling an ill-handling beast and racing on the edge of control.
In the case of NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie driver Brian Scott, racing wasn't much of a dream during his childhood. While he dabbled with go-karts at age 12, the Boise, Idaho native didn't get serious about a motorsports career until he was 17 years old, at the behest of his father.
Despite his relatively late start, Scott quickly adapted to the speed and fear factor of the sport and progressed through the racing ladder into the NASCAR world.
For the past two seasons, he competed in the Camping World Truck Series as the driver of the No. 16 Albertson's Toyota Tundra.
Scott emerged as a true contender for victories, improving in his points finish from 16th in 2008 to a respectable seventh in the championship standings last year.
He conquered the Monster Mile of Dover, Delaware, which is certainly no easy task for even the most veteran of racers in any of the top three NASCAR divisions.
Following his stint in the Truck ranks, the 22-year-old racer heads into 2010 as a new, full-time competitor in the Nationwide Series.
Regarded as the breeding grounds for new talent headed to the Sprint Cup division, this season may prove to be the most pivotal and crucial career-maker for Scott.
Sure, the road ahead looks challenging, dangerous, and full of many obstacles that are capable of defeating even the best in the business. However, there's no such thing as fear in the vocabulary and philosophy of this sensation. No way, no how.
Instead, there's an opportunity that lies ahead of him, with each stop in the 35-race championship schedule as a chance to compete at his best level with the sport's greatest drivers.
Whether he succeeds or struggles in any of the events, it's certain that Scott will step up his game, making gains of skill and confidence at each track behind the wheel of his car.
After all, it takes a brave individual to race wide-open at any facility, accepting the dangers and consequences of this weekly game of chance.
Recently, I spoke with Scott, who is preparing for Speedweeks 2010 with the Nationwide Series season opener around the corner on Feb. 13 (Live, ESPN2 at 1:30 PM ET).
Articulate, thoughtful, and very poised, there's no doubt about this young man's potential as a future superstar as he works his way up the ranks.
There's some excitement for the rookie as he heads into the new season, driving the No. 11 AccuDoc Toyota Camry for Braun Racing. With two seasons under his belt in a division that has its share of bumper-to-bumper, paint-swapping action, if there's any hesitation with Scott competing against the Nationwide boys, fear not.
After all, that's the way he goes out on the track on any given day.
Strap 'em up, ladies and gentlemen. There's a new rookie in town.
Rob Tiongson: Last season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series had to be an amazing one for you. You placed seventh in the championship standings, you got that first win at Dover, which is certainly no easy task, along with six other top-five finishes and an additional 12 top-10s behind the wheel of the No. 16 Toyota.
Was it a matter of comfort in your huge improvement from the '08 season (when you finished 16th in points) in terms of the truck, the tracks, or other factors?
Brian Scott: I would say the equipment changed more than anything. We invested heavily in resources and in people who could effectively use those resources. Coupled with the fact that I started repeating tracks, I really began to understand the type of feel that I wanted in a truck.
RT: You've got your share of experience in the stock cars, racing not only in the CWTS but in some Nationwide races, as well as the ARCA Re/Max division. Now that you're graduating up a rank to the Nationwide Series, what are your expectations for this coming season?
BS: I want to develop a consistency and continue to improve the overall performance. My main goal is capturing the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award.
RT: For some of the readers who may not know about you yet (and that will change with time!), tell B/R Nation a bit about yourself. How did you get started out in racing and did you know that you wanted to be a racer when you were growing up?
BS: Actually, I didn’t know I wanted to be a racecar driver until I was about 17 years-old. Starting at age 12, I wanted a go-kart and my father eventually bargained with me to keep the crazy driving on the racetrack.
RT: Now that you've been in NASCAR for the past four seasons, what are some of the things that you enjoy as a racer and as an observer of the sport? Is it heading in the right direction as far as gaining new fans while satisfying the old guard in the stands and at homes across the globe?
BS: I enjoy good close finishes and the strategy that develops before our eyes. I like seeing the race unfold and understanding why and how race decisions are made. I’m happy that NASCAR is opening up the super-speedways and personalities of our sport.
RT: In what has seem to be a trend over the past year or so, you maintain contact with the media and fans through your Twitter. What are some of the benefits of having that site as a means to communicate to people out there about the latest happening with you? Has it helped you as a racer in terms of gaining new fans and understanding various viewpoints about racing?
BS: Utilizing social media is a huge tool to attract new fans and update the ones you have. You allow them a new perspective on the sport and the live through up-to-date developments. Having that direct conduit to the fans is vital when trying to build your fan base.
RT: Did you have any idols or inspirations in the world of racing? Any particular driver whose style you've tried to emulate or take after?
BS: I always look at the greatest drivers in the current age just because I can identify with them more. I look to emulate those like Jimmie Johnson. His driving style and off-track attitude continues to win races and championships no matter the changes to the vehicles, rules, tracks, or pressure.
RT: Being on the road about 10 months out of the year, I'm sure that you have a group of drivers or crew members who you hang out with or at least have some camaraderie with. Who are some of the people in the garage area that you have a close bond with?
BS: I have a few buddies at the track like Ron Hornaday and my PR guy, Joey. Mostly, I like to participate in team functions to maintain close relationships with those who are giving their life to me. It's a long season and you become one big family.
RT: From writer to driver, how much would you attribute to a success for a race team in terms of a single event to a season? Would you say it's 50/50 driver and equipment or that it's all man over machine?
BS: Putting a percentage on things isn’t correct. It’s a total package. A lot of variables have to come together to win. Being able to acquire all that data and make decisions to give yourself the opportunity to win isn’t something that tasked with just one person. It's a whole team effort.
RT: I'm sure there are some aspiring racers who visit B/R here and there...for those young men and women who are duking it out on the local short tracks, what advice do you have for them in their efforts to work their way up the racing ladder as you have? You have truly progressed quickly with amazing success.
BS: Work hard. Keep your head down. Climbing the ladder gives you more disappointments than success, so be prepared to weather the storm. Travel as much as possible to gain exposure and experience on different tracks.
RT: It's time for perhaps your ultimate test, my friend. Get ready for a little Free Association. Tell me the first thing that comes to your mind with the following, okay? Here goes.
RT: Trading paint.
RT: Rookie stripes.
RT: Car of Tomorrow.
RT: Super Bowl.
RT: What keeps me driving even if I'm having a bad day is...
BS: My team.
RT: Working hard.
RT: It's that age old question that I'm sure drivers even in the future will be asked. But how do you convince a sports fan that racing indeed belongs with the likes of football, baseball, hockey, and other stick-and-ball events?
BS: I would challenge anyone to come to a race and try driving one of these cars around a track for hours on end.
RT: You got yourself a sweet ride for the Nationwide Series this year. Tell us a bit about your sponsor, Accudoc Solutions. Are they in it for the long haul for your rookie campaign?
BS: AccuDoc is a medical billing company based in Morrisville, N.C. They provide highly customized billing statement printing and processing to hospitals all around the Carolinas. Owner Harry Scott is a tremendous race enthusiast and expects to have as much success on the racetrack as he has had in business. We’re both really looking forward to 2010!
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