DOVER, DE - MAY 15: Brian Scott, driver of the #11 Braun Racing Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Heluva Good 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 15, 2010 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Typically, you'll find interviews here with Sprint Cup Series drivers who are outside the top 12 in points. But we wanted to give you a chance to get to know some of the Nationwide Series drivers a little better, too. Braun Racing's Brian Scott, an Idaho native, is the current points leader in the Raybestos Rookie Of the Year standings.
What's the best race you've ever driven in any series?
BS: It would have to be the 360 Nationals at Skagit (Alger, Wash. in 2005). It was the first big show I ever did in a Sprint car. It was good from the time we unloaded to qualifying to the race. Everything we did, we went forward. We finished second, but it was the first time really for me on a major stage. And to show that well and to be that good and make that much of an impression, that really kind of kick-started my career as a driver. It was always a hobby up until then.
Who is the most talented driver among the Nationwide Series regulars?
BS: The name that immediately pops up is Jason Leffler. It's a short list that I have to pick from (in the series). I believe that he does a lot and gets what he can out of his equipment. If he can remain mentally calm in the race car, he can be good just about anywhere. But his talent level is incredibly high. There are things other than that that kind of mess him up from time to time.
What's the best time for a fan to approach you for an autograph during the race weekend?
BS: I think the best time for a fan to get my autograph is actually when I approach them. Like if we're walking out to qualifying and I walk over there. A lot of time, I demonstrate my schedule with my body language. Like if I'm in a hurry, I tend not to make eye contact and kind of keep walking. A lot of times people will ask, and it's hard to say 'No,' but those are the most inopportune times. Generally the best time is if I approach you and show that I do have the time and I'm available.
What is something you think people may not know or realize about you?
BS: I don't think people realize how dedicated I am to racing. It's hard to see somebody's dedication level through any interview. Interviews, like in post-qualifying, they're so generic. Every single interview seems to follow the same form, the same questions asked. And you never really get to know what drives a driver or how into it they are.
When you spend a lot of time around other guys, you can see who's really committed to racing – who puts their heart and soul into it, and who doesn't. And that's just a really hard thing to demonstrate to fans and to demonstrate on TV – your willingness and desire to want to do this, to want to be good at it. I don't know how people can see the drive and intensity you have just by answering the generic, 'How's your car? Da da da da da.'
What's the worst track in the Nationwide Series?
BS: I'd say ORP (O'Reilly Raceway Park). I've had bad luck there, I've not run good there. It's just been a track that's kind of plagued me. It's kind of been the dark cloud over my head. It's just a weird track.
What driver do you admire the most outside of NASCAR?
BS: Out of all other forms of racing, the driver that I admire most would have to be a childhood hero and the person I first idolized and grew up watching: Steve Kinser. To have the longevity of a career he's had in sprint cars, and the number of championships he's had and to still continue to win races and contend for championships year after year – it's really amazing. He's had a long career in a sport that typically doesn't let you have a super long career. He's been able to remain at the top, and he was the first racing role model I had coming through the dirt winged sprint car deal.
What's the first thing you do when you get home from a long race weekend?
BS: Normally, I crack open a beer. Racing provides a real high intensity atmosphere when you're at the track with a real high stress level – everybody's so go, go, go. When you get home and you take that first deep breath and you kind of allow yourself to unwind, you just have something to calm your nerves a little bit – a beer or a drink. You just sit down and kind of let everything exit your body, let yourself decompress. For some people, it might be something else. But I find cold beer really helps me! (laughs)
Who will win the Sprint Cup title in 2015?
BS: I believe 2015 will be Kyle Busch's first Sprint Cup championship. Age will help him. He's got the experience and the talent now to win it, but for whatever reason, he seems to still struggle a little bit. When he's as good, he's as good as anybody. But he seems like he has a lot of those mid-20s finishes still. I just think he'll be the one everyone anticipates (winning the title) every year. But until he really gets to the point where he's got that race maturity – where he doesn't have to stick it three-wide and be the hero every lap – I think he won't (win).
If you were put in charge of NASCAR, what would you change?
BS: I think if you had asked me this question a year ago, I would have said things like double-file restarts, making sure the race always ends under a checkered flag – so I commend them for making those changes. This is a little bit of a hot topic, but I would change the secret fines for drivers speaking out or saying something against NASCAR.
I believe – right, wrong or indifferent – it's good for the sport to create hype and drama. It's kind of like that age-old saying: It doesn't matter whether they cheer or boo, as long as they're making noise. You're putting people in the stands. Even the people who boo Kyle, they're still coming to see Kyle – they hope he wrecks or something like that.
And I kind of apply that philosophy when it comes to media. You shouldn't put a muzzle on people. Even when they say things that spark a huge debate, at least it's sparking debate. It's getting coverage or getting people excited or having people apply an opinion when they may not have (otherwise).
Do you have any superstitions or routines you have to follow?
BS: I used to be a lot more superstitious. I still find myself doing certain things, but they're almost subconscious things. I find myself always putting a certain glove on first. Or the way I put my wheel on or check my HANS device. But they're more rhythm things. They're things you've done a thousand times that give you peace of mind before...you get ready to go out there and go 150 or 180.
What year will you win your first Cup race – and where?
BS: 2013. At California, maybe? If we're still going there. Kentucky, maybe? That's a good race for me. I like the flat intermediate tracks – California, Kentucky, Kansas.
Would you rather be known as a great driver or a great person?
BS: Does it have to be one or the other? I would say I'd rather be known as a great driver, because I think there's a lot of things that play into that. I look at being a good person as being up to you – you control your own destiny, whether you're a driver or not. That's something every person should strive for. But not every person can accomplish being a great driver.
So if you tell me now, 'Sign the contract and you'll be a great driver,' I would sign that. Then I'd just do everything I could do personally to be a good person and give back. There are probably some great drivers who never had the opportunity to be with the right team or the right situation. So to know that I could have all those stars line up and be in a good position to be a great driver...I know I could be a good person just by trying to help people every day.