By Larry Ott
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
There was a time when stock car racing on area dirt tracks was the unquestioned top priority in the life of Scott George. Now family has taken over as the main interest in the Wilson driver’s life as evidenced by a recent promise he made to his wife, Eva, regarding the recent resumption of his race driving career.
George was a successful driver early in his career, particularly at Ransomville Speedway. Beginning in 1990, George advanced through the divisions from the Street Stocks to the Sportsman and then on to the top-ranked Modifieds. He formally raced at many different tracks and very often. It all changed in 2007.
“Racing was no longer any fun for me,” said George, 40. “I had enough by 2007. I had been at it for so long and my kids were getting older and I figured I wanted to spend a lot more time with them. So I left racing then.”
George walked away from his career but has now decided to return this season, albeit driving in the Sportsman ranks. But this time his family is much more involved and in a very big way. His son Zachary, age 11, and daughter Greenley, 7, are enjoying their own racing careers under the guiding and watchful eye of their father in the Go-Kart ranks at Ransomville.
“My kids love to race now and they want to see me race again too,” George said. “My son can remember a small part of when I drove before but my daughter never saw me race before and now she is old enough to see me.
“During this last offseason I have a friend, Dan Zellner, who lives around the corner and he asked me if I was interested in getting back into race driving and be a part owner of a Sportsman car with him and his wife, Julie. I thought about it for a quick moment and it didn’t take long for me to decide that I would like to drive again.
“But then I had to convince my wife, Eva, that would it be OK if I raced again? She’s not too keen on it but she said it would be OK if I promised to not let it fall back into the big heavy racing schedule I had in the past, but raced instead on a limited basis for just fun. When we can afford to race and we feel like it, then I’ll race and if not I’ll just sit with my family and have a campfire when we can’t race.
“The Go-Kart racing our kids are doing now is the top priority for me now, anyway, not my Sportsman racing. My Sportsman car is just a time filler for when they are not racing Go-Karts.”
George made his return to active race driving April 26 for time trial night at Ransomville and turned the second fastest time. In last Friday night’s opening program at Ransomville, George led a few laps early before dropping back a bit to a solid sixth place. He made his first trip of the year to Merrittville Speedway this past Saturday, earning a second place in the feature race.
George won 31 Sportsman races earlier in his career at various tracks. He emerged with the Ransomville Sportsman point crown in 2003 after falling short of the title by a point the year before. In 2004, he captured the traveling DIRT Motorsports Mr. DIRT Sportsman Series championship. In 2005, he moved up to the 358 Modifieds and won a pair of races on his way to the Ransomville 358 Modified Rookie of the Year honor. He won another couple of races in the next two years before retiring during the 2007 campaign.
“So far it has felt good getting back behind the wheel,” George said. “I’ll be competitive. Right now we’re still working out a few bugs with the suspension. We’re a lower budget team with a used car we bought from Scott Just. We have sponsorship from Wilson Lakeside Market, Canfield Lawn Care and Snow Removal and Apollo Steel Corp.
“But our new saying is that we are not trying to win any point championships this season. In fact, I won’t be racing at Ransomville this Friday because I’m taking my kids to an out-of-town Go-Kart race. We will be at Ransomville most weeks and a few other tracks now and then. But it’s no points and no pressure.”
George laughs when he tells people about his latest racing and family exploits.
“Yeah, everybody says that I’m nuts to try to be involved racing two Go-Karts and a Sportsman stock car. Maybe I am, but at least I’m having fun again.”
• The International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen is hosting another of its “Center Conversation” speaker series events, May 18 at 1 p.m. at the center, 210 S. Decatur St. Admission is free.
The day will feature the unveiling of a new historical book, “Watkins Glen International,” co-written by motorsports author Michael Argetsinger and the center’s chief historian, Bill Green. Both authors will give a slide presentation and talk on the new book from Arcadia Publishing. The book is part of Arcadia’s NASCAR Library Collection series.
Also on the program will be author Philippe Defechereux giving a presentation on his book, “Watkins Glen, The Street Years 1948-1952, Glory, Drama and the Birth of American Road Racing,” which was published by Dalton Watson Fine Books in 2011. Defechereux will be joined by Clark Lance, whose father, Harold Lance, took many of the photos in Defechereux’s book. All authors will sign books available for sale that day. Call the center, (607) 535-9044, for more information.
• Kyle Hutchinson made Western New York auto racing history by winning the first ever 20-lap race for the newly formed Empire State TQ Midget Series at Elegant Builders Raceway Park last Saturday. The series races again at the park this Saturday.
• Gary Lindberg won the season opening Sportsman race last Sunday night at New Humberstone Speedway in Port Colborne, Ont. Zack Carley won the Pro Late Model race. Carley won last Saturday at Stateline Speedway.