It’s rare for a NASCAR driver to walk away from the sport just as he or she was coming into the prime of their racing career.
But that’s exactly what Brian Scott did at the age of 28 in 2016. Faith, family and home-life stability ultimately won out over checkered flags and chasing wins and championships.
And while he misses his former NASCAR life, Scott couldn’t be happier these days back home in Boise, Idaho. He’s running a thriving family real estate investment business, watching his kids grow up and heavily involved in their lives and activities.
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In short, Scott is the epitome of a very content father and husband.
“I’m pretty lucky in my job to have some flexibility,” Scott told NASCAR.com. “I don’t have to put in 60 hours a week in the office. I really enjoy the ranching and farming aspect of our real estate. And I love going out and spending time on our ranches and figuring out how to be good stewards of the land, how to use cattle and farming to improve the ranch and the soil. I like that challenge and working on those aspects of it.
“I like the flexibility I have to go and spend time at those different places and to go out and hunt and fish. I love working with my family (his father and sister work side by side with him in the family business) and I love being with my family, my wife and kids. It’s been great.”
Scott could easily have kept on racing in NASCAR for at least another decade. After years of climbing the ladder through the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, he finally made it in the Cup Series, first part-time for Richard Childress and then racing full time in the 2016 season for Richard Petty Motorsports.
But the more time he spent on the road, particularly when his family wasn’t able to accompany him, the more Scott felt he needed to make a change – and he finally did.
Scott admittedly struggled performance-wise in the 2016 season, making his decision to leave racing somewhat easier to reach. Ironically, though, just about the time he was ready to call it quits, he also had his best-ever Cup finish: second place in the fall playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.
But Scott was determined to see his decision through to walk away and did just that after a 15th-place finish in the 2016 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. By then, all the plans to move back to Boise were well underway, and he was looking forward to the lifestyle and workday change.
Even though he and his family settled in Boise in summer 2017, Scott still had a bit of racing left in him, competing in two Xfinity Series races in 2017 for Richard Childress Racing, finishing third (Iowa) and eighth (Kentucky), respectively. But even that success wasn’t enough to make him change his mind.
Fast forward to the present time and Scott is still a NASCAR fan, but he has no regrets at not being behind the wheel any longer. Instead, he has managed to do a number of things he never had time for when he was racing, including earning his airplane and helicopter pilot licenses.
He also coaches 7-year-old son Joseph’s football team, cheers for 11-year-old daughter Brielle’s horse-riding efforts and spends more quality time with wife Whitney.
“It was definitely challenging,” Scott said of the move back to Boise. “It was a hard decision to make, something I prayed about and thought about for a long time. But I got to the point where I didn’t like the lifestyle that my kids were having to live because of me pursuing my dream and my career. …
“And the older the kids got, and the more we kind of went through the grind of the season, I had really fond memories growing up here in Idaho. And spending all this time with my dad in the mountains, hunting and fishing and riding motorcycles and snowmobiling. I thought that that was a better way to raise my kids, my family than doing the NASCAR thing, as much as I love NASCAR. That was my passion, but I wanted to do something that I thought was better for the family.”
Scott is currently a vice president of the family business, Alscott Inc., which employs more than 200 workers. Among the firms’ businesses are the Shore Lodge and Whitetail Club, both in McCall, Idaho, as well as a private golf club, a hops processing plant, a machine shop and a firearms manufacturer.
“My dad’s vision for me in a role here was to come in on the real estate side of things and manage the portfolio of real estate assets,” Scott said. “So typically I tell people I’m doing real estate now because that’s the short answer, but it’s not like buying and selling homes. It’s more managing like a portfolio of different real estate assets.”
While he’s very happy with where life has taken him, Scott admits one thing about his old life.
“I really miss racing, I mean the time from the green flag to the checkered flag,” he said. “It was a void in my life, but I think I filled that void and supplemented it with a lot with flying and working through all of my fixed-wing pilot training stuff, and then getting into helicopter flying and doing a lot of that, flying in the backcountry and around Idaho.
“Part of our real-estate portfolios, a couple of hunting ranches and cattle ranches and farms and stuff like that, are spread around Idaho and Oregon. So the aviation aspect, being able to fly really helps me to go to our different properties and help manage them. Flying has filled a large part of that void of the competition and the racing and the need for sure.”
Even though he considers himself retired from racing, Scott might consider a potential comeback one day if the right opportunity came along. But it would have to be totally on his terms and be as minimally disruptive on his family life as possible.
“Yeah, I continue to think about (racing again),” he said. “It’d be fun to go back and do some Truck races. And there’s some other forms of racing that I have an interest in doing, like the Baja 1000, something that’s always really intrigued me. I would love to do that.
“There’s also some rally car and some sports-car road-course racing stuff, both in the United States and internationally, that I think could be a lot of fun to go do as well. So I’m definitely open to those type of possibilities.
“I’ve been working really hard at my job here and getting myself in a good position there that I haven’t really pursued those very aggressively. But it’s something that’s always in the back of my mind, trying to maybe do some different opportunities like those.”
Scott still maintains numerous friendships with folks from his racing days, particularly Kyle Busch. Their respective families visit with each other both in Idaho and North Carolina, and Scott and Busch also like to get together on occasion to take part in sand-dune racing both in Idaho and Southern California.
Even though it has now been nearly five years since his last Cup race, Scott remains a fan favorite.
“It’s very humbling,” Scott said. “I still receive autograph requests. I’ve actually got a stack of them sitting on my desk right now, from California, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Maine. I mean, that’s crazy that people still write me and request autographs and a lot of times they include very nice notes that say, ‘Hey, just wondering how you’re doing, I’m working on my autograph collection, and I really enjoyed watching you race.’
“That kind of thing makes me feel good. I’ve even had fans send me some homemade memorabilia stuff they make. A guy made a very nice little piece of artwork with my name and some pictures of the car and stuff from Idaho license plates and sent it to me. So it’s been very humbling and it’s nice to know that I’m not completely forgotten about.”
To paraphrase a popular saying, you can take the boy out of NASCAR, but you can’t entirely take NASCAR out of the boy. Scott’s office in Boise has a number of items that remind him of his racing days, including the trophy he earned for winning a Truck race at Dover International Speedway in 2009, as well as the checkered flag from that race he had framed.
He also has a couple of Richard Petty-signed cowboy hats that “The King” personally gave to him, as well as a number of photos that mean a great deal to him.
Scott couldn’t have had a better upbringing in the sport, having driven for some of the greatest owners in the sport, including Petty, Richard Childress, Joe Gibbs and a brief stint driving for Busch’s Truck team.
“Every situation that I was in, every team that I raced for, I learned a tremendous amount from each team owner that I raced for, and I also learned a tremendous amount from each crew chief and each team member that was on all of my different teams,” Scott said. “It wasn’t just one person that I learned from, it was the entire group from each different race team and from each year.”
He even picked up a few business pointers along the way, such as how to attract sponsors.
And then there was the most valuable lesson he learned, he said with a chuckle: “I would say the only business mentorship any of them ever gave me is don’t start your own race team.”
Although he never reached Victory Lane in either the Cup or Xfinity Series, Scott did earn two wins in the Truck Series, with the win at Dover perhaps the sweetest and most special because it was the first win of all for him.
“I’ll always remember that one,” Scott said. “But also one of my most proud accomplishments was when I tied for third in the points in the Xfinity Series (in 2014 with Elliott Sadler, and behind champion Chase Elliott and runner-up Regan Smith).”
Will either of his children follow in Scott’s racing footsteps?
“Joseph just enjoys practicing and riding around, but not so much the actual racing thing,” Scott said. “But he loves riding motorcycles, driving snowmobiles, side-by-side four-wheelers, bandoleros, pretty much anything. So he might have a little racing in his future.
“My daughter, Brielle, has pretty much decided she loves horses and she’s competing on them right now.”
Ever the proud papa, Scott then said with a laugh: “So one of my kids is interested in one horsepower, while my son is more interested in multiple horses, you might say.”
The Brian Scott file:
* Age: 33
* Hometown: Boise, Idaho
* NASCAR Cup career: 53 starts, 0 wins, 1 top-five and 1 top-10 finishes. Also 1 pole. Best season finish: 31st (2016).
* NASCAR Xfinity Series career: 210 starts, 0 wins, 21 top-five and 79 top-10 finishes. Also 5 poles. Best season finish: tied for third (2014).
* NASCAR Truck Series career: 62 starts, 2 wins, 11 top-5, 23 top-10 finishes. Best season finish: seventh (2009)
Veteran motorsports writer Jerry Bonkowski is writing a number of Where Are They Now? stories this year for NASCAR.com. Check out stories he’s already done on Robby Gordon, Ricky Craven, Terry Labonte, Kenny Wallace, Trevor Bayne, Ken Schrader, Shawna Robinson, Sam Hornish Jr., Bobby Labonte, Greg Biffle, Ricky Rudd, Darrell Waltrip, Mark Martin, Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya. Follow Jerry on Twitter @JerryBonkowski.