Performing in the clutch is what separates a winning driver from the rest of the pack. Flexing muscle at the right time is something that true talents possess. Often luck plays a big role in winning versus losing, but being able to squeeze just enough strength out at the perfect opportunity is what separates winners from losers. Performing in the clutch doesn’t necessarily mean winning, however; it’s all about making the most from what you’ve got.
That’s why Quarter Master, providers of winning clutches & driveline components to racers from Super Speedway to the Bullring, from IRL to Rally, from NASCAR to the “Weekend Warrior,” is proud to honor a weekly “Clutch Performance of the Month” from the short track ranks of America. Each month, an esteemed panel of short track industry insiders will vote on which drivers came through in the clutch. The driver or team with the most votes will then be the “Clutch Performance of the Month.” At the end of the 2014 season, the driver or team that received the most votes throughout the season will then be the “Clutch Performer of the Year” and will be awarded a clutch kit from Quarter Master, valued at $3,500. For more on Quarter Master, visit www.quartermasterusa.com
This edition of the “Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Month” goes to …
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
Scott Heckert was getting tired of the what-could-have-beens. He spent his rookie season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2013 trudging around with limited success driving for K&N rookie team BJ McLeod Motorsports. The Connecticut native moved to series superteam Turner Scott Motorsports in 2014 hoping for similar success that drivers such as Dylan Kwasniewski, the 2013 K&N East champion, saw with the organization.
The speed was there for Heckert through the first half of the 2014 season, but the results weren’t. He earned a few poles on the bullrings of the series, but whether it was contact with a teammate that knocked him from the lead at Columbus, bumps at Five Flags and New Hampshire or just oh-so-close top-five finishes, Heckert wasn’t able to finish a race in victory lane.
That all changed when the K&N Pro Series East teams made back-to-back stops on road courses during the month of August. Heckert, who started his professional racing career driving Skip Barber sportscars on the road courses in New England, earned his first series win with a thrilling three-wide move on a green-white-checkered restart at Watkins Glen (NY) on August 8. Just one week later, Heckert was back in victory lane after a marathon race on the road course of Virginia International Raceway.
The back-to-back victories made Heckert a bona fide star of the 2014 K&N Pro Series East, which is a position that he hoped to be in with the move to TSM in 2014.
For his pair of victories, a panel of Speed51.com industry insiders has voted Scott Heckert as the Quarter Master Clutch Performer of the Month for August.
Here are the drivers who also received votes:
Casey Roderick (SSS) – Stayed away from disaster when it met several other leaders en route to the victory in the World Crown at Gresham (GA).
Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. (ACT) – Clinched championship and scored win late at St. Croix
Jon McKennedy (ISMA) – Blistered through the field late to win at Lee USA (NH)
Kevin Swindell (ARCA) – Super-sub goes to victory lane on the Springfield (IL) dirt after John Wes Townley sidelined.
Ted Christopher (VMRS) – Won first Valenti Modified Racing Series victory of 2014 with a late charge to the lead at Waterford Speedbowl (CT)
Tommy Barrett, Jr. (NWMT) – Rookie driver rocketed to lead late in Bristol (TN) for first career victory.
Travis Braden (CRA) – Winner of the Bud St. Amant Memorial ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Columbus (OH) with Gary St. Amant as crew chief