As New England racetracks have closed down for the winter in recent weeks, most drivers have run their final races of 2004. Sure, there are a hearty few like Ted Christopher, Donny Lia or John Blewett who plan on running the North South Shootout in North Carolina, Snowball Derby in Florida or Turkey Derby in New Jersey. There are also 15 Busch North teams heading for Irwindale, California and the NASCAR All Star Challenge, but for the most part the competition is over for the season in the soon-to-be great white north.
things as far as not mowing your way up through. It’s the same type of thing. You have to treat people with respect and hopefully you’ll get some respect back.”
Being well known in racing circles can be a good thing for Scott when it comes to doing his other job. The people that he talks to at the track are more likely to get involved in the political process because of their interactions with him.
There is one top ACT Late Model driver though who has been running a race all fall long and this week it will finally be over. Phil Scott is a Vermont State Senator running for re-election. The Montpelier Republican is well known in his hometown, but also throughout New England as a former winner of Thunder Road Speedbowl’s annual Milk Bowl and eight other ACT Late Model races in his career.
Often, the sport of racing is accused of being political from fans and competitors and Scott does see some common points between the two endeavors.
“There really are some parallels,” said Scott. “It does get a little busy every now and then. You have to be smart in both
Senator Scott sits in his #14 Late Model at Thunder Road. (51 Photos)
"As people get to know me … they know that I'm not one to be on the forefront to grab headlines,” Scott told the Barre (VT) Times Argus. “I work behind the scenes and am able to facilitate and work across party lines. I have a balanced, common sense approach and I don't give up very easily."
Scott's #14 car has had a few different looks in 2004.
campaign decals and signs. Scott didn’t plan for this and was shocked by the reception that he got from the guys that he races against all summer long.
“Some people don’t have any idea that I do this (racing) and with other people, it’s a good link for them because they feel like they have a voice when they know somebody in politics,” said Scott. “I’m just one of the crowd at the racetrack and that makes me approachable.”
Despite having two high visibility jobs, Scott is actually a little bit reserved when it comes to his personality.
“I’m pretty much an open book,” said Scott. “I’m approachable. Some people don’t know it, but I’m actually a little bit shy. I don’t mind talking to people. I’m just not as outgoing as people think that I am. Once people get to know me though, I think that they understand me a lot more.”
Scott co-owns a construction company and has spent the last four years in the Vermont Senate. He thinks that during his time in public office, he has been a quiet figure who has tried to help out those in his district.
The ACT and Thunder Road seasons both ended with last month’s Milk Bowl. Several politicians made the race a campaign stop and Ken Squier even organized a cow chip throwing contest for them to showcase their skills. Scott was busy being a racer though and it was hard to tell that he was running for anything other than a race win. He was successful in that quest, with a victory in the final segment of the race.
Scott’s competitors wouldn’t let his regular job go
unnoticed though. They decaled up their cars with
Scott's car sits next to Patrick Laperle's on the Milk Bowl grid.
"I race with a great bunch of guys,” said Scott. “They asked me for the sticker and put them on. It’s very nice. They came to me from all over and asked, ‘where’s my stickers’. I’m just from Washington County. I’ve got guys from all over the state, New Hampshire and Canada who have helped out. Patrick Leperle (from Quebec) even wanted sticker for his car.”
Speed 51 asked Scott if he wished that his fellow racers could all vote for him and his response was not one typical of a politician.
“It’s more than that,” said Scott. “It just makes you feel good that they care.”
Roger Brown's #99 was one of many cars with the Scott name on it at the Milk Bowl.