Scott sets 2013 goals high with new team
February 20, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
If you’re in the driver’s seat, there’s always pressure to perform. But along with the pressure comes opportunity.
“That’s your job,” Brian Scott, 25, said. “And it doesn’t matter what team I am with. I know that my team is very capable. That doesn’t add pressure; that adds excitement.
“It adds desire and peace of mind knowing that … if you perform, then you’re going to be able to produce some really amazing things.”
Scott, who produced back-to-back top-10 points finishes in 2011-12 while at Joe Gibbs Racing, will be surrounded by a new team and a new organization when the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season gets under way Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway.
An offseason move landed Scott at Richard Childress Racing, where he will handle the driving duties in the organization’s No. 2 Chevrolet. It’s almost the same team that helped keep Elliott Sadler in title contention a year ago, earning four wins and a second-place finish in the point standings.
The “meat and bones of the team,” Scott said, are still there. Former car chief Phil Gould has replaced Luke Lambert as crew chief, while Ben Bowden, a mechanic on the No. 3 team of teammate Austin Dillon last season, takes over as car chief for Scott.
A two-time winner in the Camping World Truck Series, Scott called his two years with JGR “frustrating.”
“I put a lot of the blame on myself,” he said of a 2011 season that saw him post two top-fives yet still finish eighth in the point standings.
“Being the first time with a high caliber team, I felt like I should be leading every lap and winning every race. Honestly just trying to get too much too many times, I ended up in a wrecked position or in bad position.”
The 2012 season was a mixed bag of top-10 finishes and DNFs. Although his average starting position was just outside the top 10, his average finish was closer to 20th.
"I put a lot of the blame on myself."
-- Brian Scott, on his 2011 season
“When you have things like that, that are either out of your control or you don’t produce like you should, people have to make changes,” he said.
Team owner Richard Childress said he believes Scott has the potential to run up front and contend for wins.
“If you watch how good he ran last year,” Childress said, “he’s got plenty of speed. We’re working with him on getting him to be able to finish these races.
“He’s got a lot of experience and I see speed in him. If you see speed in somebody, it’s easier to … tune them in to the racing side of it than to get them to go faster.”
Scott said the team’s goals will be high, but added that expectations “are always a moving target.”
“We’re going to start moderately because it’s a new team,” he said. “You’ve got to establish lines of communication and see how everybody works together. You really have to jell. The crew chief and the driver have to get on the same page; we’re going to have to establish that relationship (and) really work on our communication.
“It’s really hard to step into a role without a little bit of experience in that position and just go out there and produce. I think we’re going to have to go out there and start working well together, and then we move our expectations.”
Gould, 35, previously worked on the Sprint Cup side at RCR with driver Kevin Harvick, as well as Clint Bowyer and Casey Mears. A former racer, he was a crewman for driver Bill Elliott at Evernham Motorsports in 2001-02.
Gould said the team has tested twice so far and feels that Scott and the team are “a good fit.”
“So far his feedback is really good, he has a good attitude,” Gould said. “I’ve been impressed so far.”
The level of competition in the series will likely be higher in 2013, but Gould feels his team is up to the task.
“Last year, if you had a bad day in the Nationwide race, you finished eighth or 10th,” he said. “I think that’s going to be bumped back a couple of positions this year. … I think it’s definitely going to be tougher.
“I realistically think we can win a race or more … The goal is definitely to win multiple races, stay in the top five and stay in contention in the points.”
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