After winning $100,000, Brian Scott now wants to cash in on Nationwide wins and championship

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Brian Scott came away with mixed feelings after Saturday’s EnjoyIllinois.com 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

On the one hand, Scott was disappointed that he and his car could manage nothing more than a sixth-place finish.

“I’m a little disappointed with sixth,” Scott told MotorSportsTalk. “I thought we had a better car than that. We had to make some pretty big adjustments on our pit stops.

“We had it pretty close at the end, we needed a couple of cautions and opportunities to fine tune it and have a shot at the victory. This is one of those times where I wish the race was a little longer, maybe 400 miles than 300.”

But on the other hand, Scott’s wallet was made a lot fatter by virtue of winning the $100,000 Nationwide Insurance Dash-4-Cash race within a race. He was the highest finishing driver of the four that were in contention for Saturday’s race.

“I’m really happy to be $100,000 richer,” Scott said. “This is such a cool promotion that Nationwide Insurance gives us to let us race for some big money.

“I told myself coming in here if we won the Dash-4-Cash it was going to be a good night, so it was a good night.”

Although he’s currently fifth in the NNS points standings, 47 points behind series leader – and Saturday night’s race winner, Chase Elliott – Scott has had a strong season through the first 18 races on the Nationwide slate.

He’s been particularly strong in the last nine races since his wreck at Talladega in April, with two top-five and five other top-10 finishes.

“We have another year of experience, we have track notes everywhere we go and Phil (crew chief Phil Gould) and I continue to work better,” Scott said. “We got stronger with some personnel changes in the off-season and our pit crew’s gotten better, we’ve gotten our engines and bodies a lot better.

“So, we continue to make improvements and we have knowledge and experience together. It’s coming together nicely.”

With 15 races remaining this season, including this Saturday’s Indiana 250 at the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Scott is taking it one race at a time.

He’s still looking for his first career Nationwide Series win, but the most important thing is just to remain – and continue – the consistency he’s shown thus far in the No. 2 Shore Lodge-sponsored Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

“I just take each race as it comes,” Scott said. “Now that we’ve finished this one (Chicagoland), my focus is entirely on Indy. I’m going to go 100 percent on Indy, dig my heels in, focus on what I can to do to give my team the best performance behind the wheel. Hopefully we have a fast car, qualify well and run up front and have a good finish.

“We’ve been performing well and I’m excited about the upcoming tracks because I think we can continue to click off some top-five finishes and challenge for wins.”

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MRTI: Barber Motorsports Park Preview

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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After a month break, the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back in action this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, with two of its series tacking the 2.38-mile road course in Birmingham, Alabama.

Both the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires have double-headers this weekend, with Pro Mazda returning to Barber after not running there last year.

The season-opening weekend in St. Petersburg was a tale of two completely different stories, with two different winners – Pato O’Ward and Santi Urrutia – and more than a fair bit of chaos for Indy Lights, while Pro Mazda saw Rinus Veekay sweep the weekend.

Talking points for both series heading into Barber are below.

Indy Lights

Santi Urrutia heads to Barber leading the Indy Lights championship on the strength of finishes of second and first in St. Petersburg. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
  • Santi Urrutia displayed great patience at St. Petersburg, finishing second in Race 1 and winning Race 2 after rivals like O’Ward and Colton Herta faltered. However, Barber has not been one of his better tracks, with finishes of 11th, 15th, and 13th in three of his four Indy Lights starts. Yet, he did win Race 2 at Barber 2016, so he has had success there before, and he will be one of the favorites heading into the weekend.
  • Pato O’Ward looks poised to be a title contender in 2018 and will look to avenge a somewhat disappointing outing at St. Petersburg. O’Ward had the speed to sweep the weekend, winning Race 1 handily and dominating Race 2, but a mistake late in the race saw him overshoot Turn 4 and briefly stall before he could rejoin, relegating him to seventh. If O’Ward can show the pace he showed at St. Pete, he might end up being the man to beat.
  • Colton Herta will look to rebound from a St. Pete weekend in which he flashed the speed that caught everyone’s attention last year, but also committed the same mistakes that ultimately prevented him from taking a championship. After finishing third in Race 1, Herta crashed while chasing then leader O’Ward in Race 2. Herta won Race 2 at Barber last year, and getting another win this weekend, along with staying mistake free, would go a long way to erasing his problems from St. Pete.
  • Aaron Telitz is also looking to rebound after a down weekend, as his St. Petersburg weekend lasted all of two corners across both races – he won the Pole for Race 1, but crashed in Race 2 qualifying, and the Belardi Auto Racing team could not repair the car to allow him to race. After the team borrowed a chassis from Carlin for Race 2, Telitz get collected with Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni right off the start, and he crashed again, this time in Turn 2. Telitz finished on the podium at Barber in 2016, the year he won the Pro Mazda championship, and he’ll look for more of the same this weekend.

Pro Mazda

Rinus VeeKay swept the Pro Mazda weekend in St. Petersburg. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
  • Rinus Veekay had a perfect weekend to open the Pro Mazda season. The Juncos Racing driver outdueled Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson for the Race 1 victory, and then ran away with Race 2 to complete the weekend sweep. Veekay was expected to be a title contender after moving up to Pro Mazda in 2018, and if he can repeat his St. Pete performance, then he may leave Barber as the heavy favorite in the championship.
  • Not to be forgotten, Parker Thompson sits second in the Pro Mazda title chase, and looks to avenge losing out to Veekay in St. Pete Race 1, and then fading somewhat to finish fifth in Race 2. Thompson was the only driver to regularly challenge Veekay and Oliver Askew in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season, and he and Exclusive Autosport have adapted nicely to the new Tatuus PM-18. If they can show the same form at Barber, and then finish the job with at least one trip to Victory Lane, then it could set the stage for another titanic Pro Mazda championship fight.
  • Last year’s USF2000 champion Oliver Askew had a quiet weekend in St. Pete, finishing fifth and sixth in the two races. He swept the Barber races in USF2000 last year, and will need a similar performance to vault himself forward from his current place of sixth in the standings.
  • Carlos Cunha and David Malukas head to Barber third and fourth in the championship after solid St. Pete weekends – Cunha had finishes of fourth and third, while Malukas had finishes of seventh and second. Neither was necessarily looked at as a title combatant entering 2018, but repeat performances in Barber could vault them into title contention.

A full weekend schedule, including the Mazda Road to Indy sessions, can be viewed here.

**Note: NBCSN will broadcast Sunday’s Indy Lights race (Race 2 from the weekend) on Monday, April 23.**

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