SHORT TRACK RACING LOSES A STARby Jeremy Troiano & Bob Dillner
Short Track Drivers Remember Canadian Hotshoe Scott Fraser
It’s news nobody wants to hear, whether you or involved in racing or not; Canadian racer and former ASA hotshoe Scott Fraser lost his life in Friday night in a snowmobile accident in his native country. To say that the Short Track community lost one of its biggest and brightest stars, yet one of its most unheard of stars, is an understatement.
“He was a really nice guy. We were good buddies,” said Northeast driver Tracy Gordon. “He was one of those guys you could go up to and ask a question and you knew he wasn't pulling your leg. He would tell you a straight up answer. He figured he'd let his driving beat you and not some bad information.
“He was good friends with Junior Hanley and so am I. We'd all kick things around on our Junior Hanley cars. He'd go and build his cars with Junior and I'd buy my cars off of Junior.
In Scott's best ASA finish, a third place at the Milwaukee Mile in 2000, he chased veteran ASA driver Mike Garvey to the checkers.
“The guy was a great racer and he was a nice person to boot. He was not one bit arrogant,” said Garvey. “I remember that he always seemed like he had his family with them. I didn't know who they all were, but there always seemed to be a big part of his family around him.
“To come in and the first time he ran at Chicago, he qualified second and led a big part of the early race... that was impressive. And he had a great race that one day in Milwaukee. He was a definite threat to beat us that day.”
Travis Kittleson only got the chance to race against Fraser on a couple of occasions, but knew him through dealings with him at the track, but also through his crew chief Gary Crooks.
“I meet Scott when I first started working with my crew chief (Gary),” said Kittleson, who last raced with Fraser at the Asphalt World Championships at Concord (NC) in November. “He was a totally different breed of worker. I don't know if it is because they are snowed in all day or what, but they will get up and work dawn to dusk up there and get up and do it all again the next day.
“This is really devastating. It makes you think that it can happen to anybody. If it can happen to him, it can happen to any of us.”
Hanley, a Canadian legend, always saw potential in Fraser.
"Scotty is a really good driver,” Hanley told our Bob Dillner during Florida Speedweeks in 2003. “He's a good worker and everything; he's the complete package. He just lives in a bad spot. Last year he got down on himself
Fraser was well known in the upper Northeast and Canadian Short Track scene for years for his knack of getting into victory lane from the start of his career. Yet, his name became much more recognizable in 2000 when Scott embarked on his dream of running with the American Speed Association. Right out of the box, Scott proved he would be a force to reckon with; he qualified second and led the opening part of his first ASA event, which came at Chicago Motor Speedway in 2000. That year Scott captured two top-five and four top-10 finishes in just six starts.
In 2001, Fraser returned to ASA for 13 races and recorded another four top-10 finishes. However, his money pool was dwindling and the cost of traveling from his home base of Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, Canada forced him to cut his schedule down to a part-time effort.
In 2002 and 2003, Fraser continued to race in the Maritimes and in the upper Northeast. He recorded wins with a number of different series, including winning the “World Series of Auto Racing” at Thompson Speedway (CT) in 2002 and a PASS-sanctioned event at New Brunswick International Speedway
1970 - 2004
and he started thinking he couldn't do the job. I told him he could do it and I believe that. He can't give up on himself because he's too good of a racer."
"He should have moved on a long time ago. He should have moved to Charlotte and gotten a job or something. If he did, he would probably be driving a Busch car right now. That's how good he is."
In just the short time Scott was in ASA, he had a profound impact on its drivers and the entire ASA community.
“He was one of those guys you saw in ASA that had a lot of potential,” said ASA television personality Jim Tretow. “To have him show the talent and have the interest of a lot of people to further his career, it is a shame we never saw the fruition of that. He was almost a guaranteed lock to win a race sometime in ASA based upon his performance, but the money that they needed to run just didn't work out. It is a shame.
“I think he really opened up the eyes of the guys up in the Northeast to the ASA Series. They all saw his success in it and thought that ASA could be an avenue for them to try out someday.”
Scott Fraser finished in the top-10 eight times in ASA competition.
“He was a racer to the fullest. He could build his own stuff from the chassis to the shocks. He wasn't one of these guys that call themselves a racer and don't know a damn about race cars. One of our main short track cars are one of the chassis he built. It is actually a Lefthander chassis, but he put it all together himself with some of his own little tricks.
“It's sad that we never got to see his full potential. A guy like that works so hard and never got to get to the top. It’s going to be a major blow to the Nova Scotia community up there.”
It is going to be a major blow to the entire Short Track community as well. Fraser was 33.