A little over a year ago, Scott Wylie appeared to be out of the race car driving game after being involved in a serious crash in a Late Model event. Thanks to his car owner, Frank Graham, and a dedicated crew and family, the Hamburg-based driver is on the verge of securing Lake Erie Speedway’s 2013 Modified points title.
If not for inclement weather last Saturday, Wylie may already have earned the title. But Lake Erie’s scheduled points finale was rained out and rescheduled for Sept. 21.
On the strength of five Lake Erie Modified feature race wins this season, Wylie holds a four-point lead over Randy Culver.
“We came to Lake Erie Saturday with a good car, a good team and everything ready to go, then the rain came and now we have to wait two weeks to see how the championship chase goes,” Wylie said.
“I’m used to being in point chases because of the years I won four Cup Lite division championships. So Saturday’s rainout is frustrating only because I was all set to try to wrap up the title that night.”
While the outcome of this year’s Lake Erie Modified points chase is still up in the air, Wylie is extremely grateful to Graham for getting his racing career back on track.
“In June of last year I had a serious accident at the Motordrome Speedway in Pennsylvania and although I wasn’t injured my Late Model car was very heavily damaged,” Wylie recalled. “I suddenly had no car and I didn’t have the money to rebuild or buy a new car. So I was just sitting idle. I didn’t exactly know where my career was going.
“During the previous offseason before the accident I had done some mechanical work on Frank’s Modified car that he was driving himself. After my accident, Frank told me to drive his car and I won in my second race with him.
“The win was also very special because it was the annual Jane Graham Memorial race honoring Frank’s late wife. So after that first win together our relationship was pretty much cemented together.”
Wylie is the son of retired seven-time Holland Motorsports Complex NASCAR Late Model champion Rick Wylie and Karen Wylie, who raced years ago to a Perry Speedway championship under her maiden name of Karen Ingleman.
“My dad is very involved with our team and basically serves as our crew chief,” said Scott Wylie, 30. “He’s got a ton of knowledge and experience and works hard to keep our team going. It sure helps to have him around.”
In recent weeks, a new Wylie has entered the local racing picture: Scott’s 23-year-old brother, Jake, is enjoying his rookie season in Lake Erie’s Street Stock class. In August, the Wylie family experienced an extra special night at Lake Erie.
“On that night it was great because I won the Modified race and my younger brother Jake also won his first career Street Stock race, all in the same night and that was fantastic,” Scott Wylie said. “It was only his fourth race and it was one of those nights to remember.”
Last winter, Scott attended the Race 101 school in Denver, N.C., where he won the mechanical award.
The Graham team is looking to trade one of its cars after this season and obtain an asphalt Modified for Wylie to drive next season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour.
For now, Wylie must keep his attention on the task of the moment, which is to try to secure the Lake Erie Modified championship trophy for his mantle as well as for his sponsors, including Sornberger Automotive and Five Star Racing Bodies.
“It won’t be easy and anything can happen but when Sept. 21 comes we’ll just hope for the best and see what happens,” Wylie said. “Either way it’s been a good season.”
Little Valley battles
The Little Valley Speedway will showcase its season-concluding Super Late Model/358 Modified Doubleheader at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Defending Little Valley Super Late Model champion Jason Dupont leads in points going into the finale over Dutch Davies, 97-89.
The BRP Can-Am 360 Late Model Series and the Street Stocks will round out Little Valley’s program Saturday. Jeremy Wonderling leads in the Little Valley 360 Late Model standings over Bruce Miller by 10 points, 114-104.
In the Street Stock points battle, Andy Michael leads Adam Ashcroft by a single marker, 114-113.
Earlier this season, Steve Dixon secured the Little Valley E-Mod season championship: the class ran its points finale Aug. 22. Should rain hit Little Valley on Saturday, the card will be run Sunday at 6:30 p.m.