Who did you think would land in the number nine for Richard Petty? A veteran journeyman like David Ragan, or maybe Regan Smith? An up and comer like Chris Buescher? Perhaps there would be a little “outside the box” thinking and Darrell Wallace would get his shot at NASCAR Cup racing? How about Brian Scott? Brian Scott? Why Brian Scott?
This is where our perfect world collides with motorsports reality. Scott brings sponsorship money. Joe Scott, Brian’s dad, not only owns Shore Lodge, but is heir to the Albertson’s fortune. Conveniently, Smithfield Foods becomes a partner as a part of the deal.
Because sponsorship has opened the door for Brian Scott, it will be far too easy to make the Idaho native an object of criticism. Every time he wrecks out, there will be those who will be all too quick to point out how he landed his ride with Richard Petty Motorsports. This is the other side of motorsports reality: this doesn’t jibe with the underdog, working class narrative.
Never mind, the Brian Scott signing with RPM is nothing new. Tim Richmond’s family money got him started in racing. Paul Menard, John Wes Townley, and scores of others have landed rides thanks to the built-in sponsorship they brought with him. It’s really not a ton different than second, third and fourth generation racers who got a leg up because of their family name.
Yes, it would be a great story if an owner like Tony Stewart happened upon some short-track in the deep south, found some kid from a blue collar background that no one outside of the locals ever heard and put him in a car and he became an all-time legend. But alas, sports is a business, and in motorsports, especially in motorsports, the financial risks are very high. Remember what they say, that to make a small fortune in auto racing, you must first have a large fortune.
All this to say it was a good business decision for Petty. They get a driver who’s no stranger to the NSCS with a dozen and a half races under his belt, they get some money to back, and who knows? we may find this Brian Scott cat is pretty good. There’s only one real way to find out.
Interestingly enough, Scott’s departure from his part-time Cup gig with RCR opens up more seat time (potentially) for Ty Dillon, That is, if Richard Childress’ younger racing grandson is able to get some sponsorship backing of his own.
Like it or not, this is how the game works. No one really gets here on their own anyway. Big-time racing ceased being a weekend hobby for moonshiners and farmers a long time ago.