DOVER — Lance Scott has been a part of two champion NASCAR Cup Series teams since moving from his hometown of Millsboro to Charlotte, North Carolina, the hotbed of racing, in 2010.
That’s an impressive record, especially considering he doesn’t drive a race car or work on a pit crew.
Rather, Mr. Scott, 53, is a vital part of Kyle Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports-owned team as one of two drivers who haul the car from track to track on the NASCAR Cup circuit.
That road brought him back home to Dover Motor Speedway for today’s Wurth 400 Cup Series contest.
It is one weekend that Mr. Scott circles on his calendar when the NASCAR schedule comes out each year, since his hometown is only 45 miles away.
“Dover is a bad-ass track,” he said last week. “They don’t get any better than that. I’ll have Thursday to go see my daughter, my grandkids, my aunt and uncle and some other friends and family that you only get a couple of times a year to see, so it’ll be cool.”
He will even take a few moments to visit some of his old stomping grounds and swing by a local seafood restaurant to enjoy some blue crabs.
Following in hisdad’s footsteps
It’s been a dream realized for Mr. Scott, who grew up tagging along with his father, the late Donald Scott, when his dad raced big block modifieds on dirt racetracks at Georgetown and Delmar.
Sure, he worked on several race cars as a mechanic growing up and even tried his hand at driving in his younger years. But he quickly realized that was not his calling and decided to hang up his helmet.
“This is all just a dream,” said Mr. Scott. “A kid coming from Delaware that (worked with dirt racers) his whole life and never (experienced) any asphalt stuff until I got down here (to North Carolina).
“You know, coming down here and getting a chance to work with a seven-time champion (Jimmie Johnson) and then to be able to work with (Kyle Larson), who’s probably going to go down as the greatest driver to drive anything, is something.”
Mr. Scott made the decision to take a chance and move to the Charlotte area in 2010, following his father’s path.
“My dad came down here in the late 1980s and started driving haulers for Cup teams, and then, he passed away, and I always kind of wanted to follow in his footsteps, so that kind of led me down here,” he said.
Plus, he had an aunt and uncle who worked on the NASCAR circuit, hauling Mr. Johnson’s show car from town to town for sponsor events and autograph signings.
“My aunt decided to come off the road, and the opportunity let me get in, and I started hauling all of Jimmie’s show cars that year,” said Mr. Scott. “I started to do some work with Jimmie and (his crew chief), Chad (Knaus), and in 2015, Chad hired me to drive the race hauler.”
It’s a long way from suiting up to play football under the Friday night lights at Sussex Central High School, from which he graduated in 1988.
His duties are far more than making those long hauler runs with his tandem driver, whom he shares the roads with because they are limited to 11-hour shifts.
“Besides driving the hauler, my duties consist of restocking the truck, cleaning the truck, restocking the toolbox — anything inside that trailer is my responsibility,” Mr. Scott said. “My co-driver does all the grocery shopping.”
He did similar work for Mr. Johnson’s team until that driver retired in 2020, at which time most of the Johnson crew, including Mr. Scott, moved over to work with Mr. Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet.
Mr. Johnson provided him with several great experiences, such as the chance to drive Dover’s unique trophy — which features the track mascot, Miles the Monster — back home to North Carolina on several occasions.
Mr. Johnson won a track-record 11 times in 38 career races at Dover.
“I’d say my most memorable moment probably came in 2016, when I was part of the team that won the seventh championship with Jimmie,” he said. “I was indeed a part of that team, and that was pretty cool, and then Kyle’s first year in ’21, and we won the championship that year. That was amazing, as well.”
This year, Mr. Larson very well could provide Mr. Scott with another trophy to ride home with. After all, he has driven to six top-three finishes in 14 starts at Dover’s high-banked, 1-mile oval, including a win in 2019.
He has also won two of this season’s past four races and has four consecutive finishes of sixth or better at Dover, including a victory.
That is what makes Mr. Scott’s career so fun, he said, especially when he encounters fans on the highways.
“Pretty much everybody likes Kyle,” he said. “He’s a wheelman, and he’s a good guy. Everybody pulls beside you and wants you to blow the horn, and they give you the thumbs-up and take pictures and everything. It’s a pretty good deal.
“I think if you put Kyle Larsen in the wagon, he’s going to be the fastest guy out there.”