Brian Scott denied again at Indianapolis
July 26, 2014, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com
RELATED: Full race results | Updated series standings
SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Last year, it was a late caution that allowed Brian Scott to nearly steal a victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Saturday, it was a late caution that denied him any chance.
One year after recording a career-best runner-up finish at the famed track, Scott's hopes of taking the next step in the Nationwide Series were effectively dashed by a caution which aided frontrunners trying to save fuel. The winner of last weekend's Dash 4 Cash event settled for seventh Saturday, although the Richard Childress Racing driver remains eligible for another $100,000 bonus in the program finale next week at Iowa Speedway.
Still, on a track that Scott considers one of his best, and where last year he used a late caution to take the lead with six laps remaining before being overtaken by eventual winner Kyle Busch, he clearly had hoped for more.
"Sometimes pit strategy works out in your favor, and sometimes it doesn't," Scott said after going to Victory Lane to congratulate RCR teammate Ty Dillon, who earned his first career Nationwide win. "Today, it didn't. Last year, it did. Some cars were able to really stretch fuel, and they got a caution right when they needed it to be able to save just enough."
Scott was among those who pitted in the latter stages of the race, gambling that the many of the leaders would either run out of gas or be forced to trade their positions for fuel. But a caution for a piece of metal debris in Turn 1 with 29 laps remaining gave those up front the chance to save gas, thwarting the plans of the drivers behind them who had pitted. Dillon ran dry in the first turn after taking the checkered flag, too late to help the rest of the field.
"I thought we were in really good position, and then the last caution just hurt us," Scott said. "But that’s racing, and hopefully someday it will pay off for us."
Scott, Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith are the four drivers eligible to claim the final D4C bonus next weekend in Iowa. Dillon's Nationwide victory Saturday, combined with wins earlier this season by Paul Menard (at Michigan) and Brendan Gaughan (at Road America) means Scott's No. 2 program is the lone RCR team yet to visit Victory Lane in the series.
"I'm really proud of RCR and ECR," Scott said, referring to Earnhardt Childress Engines, which power RCR cars. "We started the year off not even really in the top five in our performance, and the engine shop and the body shop went to work. We've made huge improvements, and now we're battling for wins each weekend. I'm happy with seventh place. It was a good points day, and our teammate won. That’s good for the company. That gives the whole company momentum. We can take that into Iowa next weekend, and maybe it will be our turn in Victory Lane, because all other three teams have won."
The finish kept Scott fifth in the Nationwide standings, 42 points behind leader Chase Elliott. Although Scott is enjoying statistically his best Nationwide campaign, he remains winless in 161 career starts. Trying to end that skid, his team went back to many of the notes from the car it had a season ago at Indianapolis, where the Idaho native nearly broke though.
"I think we were maybe ahead of the curve on some setup things last year that seemed to give us an advantage over the field," Scott said. "This year, it seemed like a lot of the field has picked up on that kind of stuff. We've got to keep working. We've got to bring back something even better next year, and keep developing our setups. Just got to keep getting faster."