The Frontstretch: 2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Brian Scott by Kevin Rutherford -- Tuesday December 10, 2013

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2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Brian Scott

Kevin Rutherford · Tuesday December 10, 2013


2013 Rides: No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (Cup), No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (Nationwide)

2013 Primary Sponsors: Shore Lodge (Cup); Shore Lodge, Whitetail Club, Husky Liners, Armour, Hungry Man, Charter, Rain-X, Advance Auto Parts, Fast Fixin’, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Ingles (Nationwide)

2013 Owners: Richard Childress (Cup and Nationwide)

2013 Crew Chiefs: Scott Naset (Cup), Phil Gould (Nationwide)

Stats: 34 combined Cup and Nationwide series starts. Three top fives, 13 top 10s, one pole in Nationwide Series.

Best Finish: 27th (Cup): Charlotte (October); 2nd (Nationwide): Indianapolis, Richmond (September)

Average Finish: 27.0 (Cup), 12.3 (Nationwide)

Brian Scott

2013 Team Ranking: 3rd of 4. While Richard Childress Racing’s Cup program wasn’t extraordinary in 2013, its Nationwide program was fairly strong; Scott’s No. 2 team’s rating of third out of the four Childress operations is a testament to that. The No. 2 was strong for the majority of the season, generally in contention for a top-10 finish — if not something higher. Scott and co. did admirably for their first season together; if all parties involved are able to build on the successes of 2013 and improve for 2014, the No. 2 could return to being one of the series’ flagship organizations. But for 2013, besting Childress’ No. 3 and its rent-a-ride No. 33 wasn’t happening — most of the time.

High Point: Scott was nearly a winner in 2013 — twice — but nothing was as close, nor as heartbreaking, as Richmond in September. After starting from the pole, Scott led the first 239 laps of the 250-lap race, seemingly a man on a mission that simply could not be tamed. Unfortunately for him, two late cautions bunched up the field and allowed Brad Keselowski to move past with 11 laps to go, pushing Scott to the runner-up spot — a position he’d retain through the end of the race. A disappointing result, but still his best.

Low Point: After rattling off five top-10 finishes in the season’s first five races, Scott went through a bit of a rough patch in April and May. It started off innocently; he finished 11th at Texas, which is by no means a bad finish but still broke his formidable streak. Then he couldn’t crack the top 10. And again. And again. After six straight races outside the top 10, during which he plummeted from third to eighth in points, Scott earned a sixth-place finish at Iowa — but by then, the damage had been done and he was never again close to the points lead.

Summary: This year was a year of firsts for Brian Scott. After multiple seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing, the Idaho native moved over to Richard Childress’ stable for the first time, taking over Elliott Sadler’s vacated near-championship ride. By doing so, he secured a debut in the Sprint Cup Series at Texas in October, piloting the team’s part-time No. 33.

Though he was never a major factor in the championship, Scott showed he can contend occasionally despite possibly underperforming in a ride that Elliott Sadler excelled in. He only scored three top fives in 2013, the first of which didn’t come until the halfway point of the season. That said, 13 top 10 finishes are nothing to be disappointed about, especially in the first of at least two years at an organization. He certainly wasn’t a total failure, and that’s all that really matters for a driver like Scott, who is bringing sponsorship to the team.

2014 Outlook: Little looks to change for Scott in 2014. He’ll return to his Nationwide Series team, with the intent obviously a higher finish in the standings and some wins — possibly even a championship. Scott will actually become the team’s longest-tenured full-time driver in the series next year; he’ll be joined by Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan, who came from the team’s Truck Series operation. That could prove useful for him, though it could also become his downfall if both Dillon and Gaughan perform better.

2013 Frontstretch Grade: B-. He didn’t win and he didn’t get a great finish in the overall Nationwide Series standings, but Scott began to show he belongs in NASCAR’s higher ranks in 2014. He gets a minus on principle because of his inability to perform on a higher level with a team like RCR, but it’s hard to give a poor rating to someone who actually challenged for a few wins and finished in the top 10 in points. Just think of what could be in 2014.

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