Brian Scott out to prove he belongs in field
February 18, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The speed was expected. The butterflies were a surprise.
Brian Scott, competing for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2014, hopes to be in the field Sunday when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season gets underway with the Daytona 500 here at Daytona International Speedway.
Scott, 26, took a big step in that direction when he turned in the 12th fastest lap during Daytona 500 qualifying (194.776 mph) on Sunday.
Circle Sport Racing (owner Joe Falk) fields the No. 33 Chevrolet with Nick Harrison serving as crew chief. It has an Earnhardt Childress Racing engine under the hood.
RCR teammate Austin Dillon earned the pole for the 500 with his lap of 196.019 mph. Other entries powered by ECR engines proved strong as well -- Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing) will start on the outside of the front row after posting the second fastest lap; Ryan Newman (RCR) was fifth and Paul Menard (RCR) was 10th.
Should his qualifying lap, or finish in Thursday's Budweiser Duel, guarantee Scott a starting spot in the 500, it will be just the second start for the Boise, Idaho, native in NASCAR's top series. He finished 27th in his Cup debut last fall at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I've been really good up to this point," Scott said of activities leading up to Sunday's qualifying session. "I've just been hanging out; really it's all about making it into the 500, and in qualifying you just hold it wide open here.
"Reality hit me when I walked out on the grid and we were 15 away (from making our attempt), then 14 away and then my heart really started pounding. I was thinking, 'Man, that's funny. I didn't think I'd get these butterflies.'
"But it's the Daytona 500; it's such a big deal. It's so cool to be able to have a chance to even make it in the race and be one of the top 43 of the most elite drivers out there, it’s really special. I'm making sure I appreciate this opportunity and take it all in, enjoy this weekend and the next."
Scott finished seventh in the Nationwide Series points standings last season. He's one of 10 drivers attempting to make their first start in the series' premier event.
His goals, he said, are simple.
"Just a solid finish," Scott said. "Not necessarily to come in, in the position I'm in, and win; you've got to somewhat hope that there's the potential. But to come in and earn respect and show that you belong. Try to have decent runs for the equipment that you're given and the situations that present themselves during the race.
"Maybe going from a part-time guy," he said, "you can turn some heads and you can become a full-time guy."