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Scott high-fives a young reader at a book signing.
(Brian Cleary Photo -



We’ve always had a soft spot for Scott Pruett here at Coastal 181. That’s because Scott and his wife Judy and their kids, Lauren, Taylor, and Cameron, have been publishing racing books for the last ten years, just like us. Their titles (see left) are aimed at introducing children to motorsports, and they are among the most popular books we sell.

In truth, Scott could teach just about anyone in the world a lot about racing. That’s because his perspective is likely as broad as any race driver active in the United States.

A product of what he calls “the typical struggling middle-class family in California,” Scott, now 51, broke into kart racing at 8 and never looked back. He won big and he won long.

He dabbled in ovals like West Sacramento, but somehow “the doors just weren’t opening.” So he focused on the road courses dotting the Golden State, and by 1985 he was a road racer in the employ of Ford Motor Company. It was as if his career exploded in every direction. He could wheel anything anywhere with equal skill and passion.

ISMA championships followed in 1986 and 1988. Then, Trans-Am and American Rolex Series Championships; the 1989 Indy Rookie of the Year; ten years with CART; a year with Sprint Cup in the #32 Tide car; and recently the chair in Chip Ganassi’s #01 Telmex Rolex car, with what seem like annual wins at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
Scott smoked ‘em again at this year’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. 
(Brian Cleary Photo -

It’s fascinating, actually, to talk to Scott at a time that racing still seems siloed. Pruett doesn’t divide things up between stock cars, open wheelers, roundy-rounds, and sports cars. He just plain grooves on all of it. “It’s all a huge technical challenge – but in different ways. When you think of what they can do with that push rod V-8 in NASCAR, it is incredible. And then consider those amazing data-collection systems in the Indy cars! Any way you look at it, racin’s racin’.”

Scott really launches when asked about the driving part and what’s the most exciting and dramatic racing from behind the wheel. “I’m still just a student of the sport, so I don’t know if I can answer that yet. But everything I have done has its drama. That last race at Fontana in the Indy cars – I got the pole at 235 mph. Talk about being out on the ragged edge. Same with the Michigan 500 win over Al Unser, Jr – that’s all about going real fast and reacting real fast. But is that more intense than 40 Cup cars blasting around Bristol on a Saturday night? Or the feeling, as an American, of winning Le Mans in a factory Corvette?”

So, the logical next question was what specific race has been the most meaningful – the most moving – to Scott personally? He didn’t hesitate a second. Like most every racer, his response was about an event when he really was racing with himself. “In 1990, I crashed testing on the West Palm Beach course and broke my back, my heels, my knees and was out for almost a year. I was 30 and I focused on my trauma like a job. Six days a week, 8 to 12 every morning, an hour off for lunch, and back to rehab and exercise from 1 to 5. I did that for months on end. Then came the moment – the IROC race at Daytona. The night before I was nervous, excited, anxious. The night afterwards I felt a huge payoff for all that work. I won it after a battle with Earnhardt and Elliott.”

Someday it may be that this remarkable racing dynamo will back down just a bit and glory in what he has accomplished. It’s not likely to happen soon, but, when it does, you can bet Scott will sit down in his self-designed home in California’s Sierra foothills and uncork a top-shelf bottle of vino. There’s a wine rack right next to Scott and Judy’s book shelf, so there’s plenty in stock. You can get some, too. In fact, Scott told us last week that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has just signed up for a signature cabernet commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 500. It will come straight from Pruett Vineyards, Scott and Judy’s newest venture.

(Brian Cleary Photo -

© 2011 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181

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.: Previous Tearoffs :.

4/4/11 - Winter of Discontent

3/23/11 - Thinking of Gene Bergin

3/8/11 - Sprint Car World Record?

2/21/11 - Dinner at Daytona

2/10/11 - The Call Him 1/4ley

1/28/11 - Doc's Beard

1/15/11 - Reconsidering Generalizations

12/31/10 - Powerful Passion

12/19/10 - Tearoff at Yuletide

12/6/10 - Indy in December

11/21/10 - Mutt and the Brutal Ballet

10/29/10 - The Johnny Bensons and Their Supers

10/13/10 - Anatomy of an Accident

9/28/10 - Maybe Marty

9/14/10 - Push Refresh for Speedway Illustrated

8/23/10 - An Ode to Senior Supers

8/6/10 - Adrian and the Deep Water

7/20/10 - Holdout in Yuppieville

7/7/10 - The Wins are Gustin

6/16/10 - Racin' Kid, Racin' Dad

5/28/10 - The Monk and Matty D.

5/15/10 - Bluebird

4/27/10 - Catching Up With Steve Arpin

4/11/10 - The Song of the Fifties

3/22/10 - Davey!

3/8/10 - Restart!

2/21/10 - Miracles of the Rock

2/8/10 - Roger The Remarkable

1/21/10 -  Shane's Sensational '78

12/28/09 - The Flying Finn and The All American Boy

12/12/09 - Hello Wall

11/29/09 - Once More for Ernie

11/15/09 - Ernie's Excellent Chase

11/1/09 - In The Zone

10/19/09 - Rough Week in the Midwest

10/1/09 - Common Starts, Uncommon Comebacks

9/4/09 - South Dakota Chris

8/15/09 - Facial Exposure

7/31/09 - Dying in the Pits

7/9/09 - Barn Rat's Last Race

6/18/09 - Catching Up With Brad Doty

5/20/09 - Big Boys in The Attic  - rare photos of legends

5/6/09 - Back Up In The Attic - more rare photos

4/22/09 - The Son of Hard Luck - accessible racing
experience for the handicapped

4/3/09 - Racin' In The Attic - Gordon Ross photo collection

3/18/09 - About That Mike Spaulding

3/3/09 - Dick Berggren's First Win - (you had to be there!)

2/11/09 - Peter at the Park - Peter Fiandaca at Riverside Park

1/30/09 - Steve - Steve Arpin

1/4/09 - Racer Speak -cool quotations

12/16/08 - Wimble Power, Will Power - Bill Wimble

11/24/08 - Remembering Chuck Amati - by Joyce Standridge

11/11/08 - That Rick Ferkel

10/24/08 - Beyond Bionic - Bentley Warren

10/6/08 - Fifty Second Classic - Skip and Lois Matczak

9/20/08 - Joey's Dad - Tom Logano

9/1/08 - One Night at The Park - the death of Les Ley

8/20/08 - Transitional Technology - early supermodifieds

8/6/08 - Wallace on Wednesdays - dirt trackin’ Kenny

7/19/08 - Star(ter) of the Show - importance of good flaggers

7/7/08 - McUnderdog - Eddie MacDonald

6/18/08 - The Night Buzz Was Worried - Buzz Rose

6/5/08 - John Richards - Boomer Role Model

5/20/08 - The Spirit of a Racer - the late Al Powell

5/1/08 - Bobby's Blues - Bobby Santos III

4/15/08 - Thinking About Rene Charland

3/26/08 - Carl and Corey - Carl Edwards and Corey Dripps

3/4/08 - A Cool Track with Cool Racers - West Liberty, Iowa

2/14/08 - Doug Wolfgang

1/25/08 - Frankie Schneider

1/7/08 - When Drivers Can't See - cockpit vision

12/21/07 - When Starters Couldn't See - flagstand vision

12/1/07 - Ride Along with Erica Santos - in-car camera midget win

11/15/07 - Tough Drivers

11/1/07 - Cockpit Safety

10/15/07 - That First Race

10/1/07 - Racing Nicknames

9/15/07 - Too Many Officials

9/1/07 - The Look of a Real Driver

8/15/07 - Being Dale Junior

8/1/07 - Armond Holley

7/15/07  -  Red Farmer

© 2007-11 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181





































































































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