Second place stings. In motorsports and life in general, second place stings because it means someone bested you. But for Brian Scott at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, second place marked his best finish of the year by far, and a sign that things are looking up for the Richard Childress Racing driver.
Going into this 2013 campaign, expectations were relatively low for the 25-year-old Scott. After all, he has never found victory lane, and only has six career top five finishes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Recall, after 2012 when Joe Gibbs Racing hired Elliott Sadler, it was Brian Scott who was left on the outside looking in, taking what many felt was a lesser seat at RCR.
And while Scott’s qualifying has always been impressive against competition that is constantly getting better (11.4 the past two years after today’s race), his average finish has drastically improved from 18.2 to 12.2, six spots. Momentum is now on Scott’s side after an impressive run at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
So, where does Scott and the Nationwide Series go from here? After 19 races, it appears as if ninth place Trevor Bayne and 10th place Parker Kligerman can now be unofficially written off with 15 races to go. Scott sits 46 spots out of first place, just over one race worth’s of points. Simply put, every race from here on out, drivers will fall out of the hunt with inconsistencies until only a few drivers are left in contention during Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway this fall.
But, while drivers in front of Scott such as Kyle Larson struggle to finish inside the top ten (this marks three races in a row he has failed to do that) and Justin Allgaier finished a dismal 33rd, Scott earned 19 points on the championship leader, avoiding the hypothetical cutoff for now. More importantly, Scott has failed to finish all but one lap since a wreck in Talladega, over 10 races ago.
The next race for the series is at Iowa Speedway. Iowa Speedway is a track where Scott has started six times, but only found the top 10 once, which was last year. He has only completed 93 percent of the laps at the track, meaning that despite his brilliant run in which he nearly upstaged the dominant Kyle Busch, next week will truly determine if Brian Scott is a contender or pretender.
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