CROOKS HAD A SPECIAL BOND WITH FRASERby Jeremy Troiano
ASA Crew Chief Grew Up With, Raced Against Scott
While it is easy to say and understand that many in the Short Track community will be reeling from the loss of Scott Fraser, one member of the ASA community was particularly struck hard by the news.
Crooks. “We grew up in the same area and it is not a very large area. I lived about 20 minutes from where he lived. As we got older, he started racing before I did. By the time I got racing he had three or four years under his belt. He was a more natural talent as a driver than I was. Week in and week out he just took me to school.
“He was the motivation while I was growing up that if you were going to be the best you were going to have to beat him. He is partly credited for how hard I worked to be the best. He was always the carrot on the stick that you were trying to get.
“I'm not sure it has fully sunk in because we live so far apart now and we don't see each other every day. We weren't best of friends growing up, but we always spent weekends with each other somewhere racing. I don't think that it has fully sunk in that he is gone and that I won't see him again.
“I don't know if I'm going to be able to get home for the funeral yet, especially right before Lakeland here (ASA season opener next weekend). I just want everyone to know that my wife and myself, our thoughts and prayers are will Scott's family and friends and everyone affected by what has happened.
“I don't know why this stuff happens. This is a tragedy for all of us.”
“As we got older and started racing together, you just learned to respect him for what he could do and what he was capable of.”
Gary and plenty of other guys that raced against Scott often said he had the potential to be great.
“When he was a teenager, he was beating guys like Junior (Hanley) when they would show up for a special show. He would run with them and beat them when he was just a teen.
“We all believed that if he would have been able to hook up with the right people or he would have been in the right area early enough, that he would have been like Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon or Ryan Newman. There is no question he could have made something happen that way.”
Whatever could have been is now what was. It will have lasting effects and touch a lot of people, many more than most think.
Gary Crooks, current ASA crew chief for Travis Kittleson, shared a special bond with Fraser. The two grew up only miles from each other and saw each other at the race track every week. Eventually they would even work with each other.
As years went by, Fraser found his success behind the wheel while Crooks found his forte was behind the wrenches. They went down different paths, but never did they forget their history together.
“We grew up around each other when our fathers raced and we used to go hang out at the race tracks,” said
“This will, on a smaller scale, have the same effect on that area up there (the Nova Scotia-area) that Dale Earnhardt's death had on the North Carolina area. Scott put so many people in the stands at those races up there every single week. This will affect everybody. This is a big deal. This is crushing.
Fraser was a crowd drawer back home.
Scott Fraser was a big time star up in Maritimes.
Gary Crooks has found success as crew chief for Travis Kittleson (#30) in ASA.