Vermont Governor Phil Scott will accomplish an extraordinary feat this Thursday night at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont.
Since 1961, eight different Governors have arrived at the Vermont Governor’s Cup prepared to present the trophy to the winner of the prestigious race. But this Thursday night, Governor Scott will be arriving to the track with hopes of being the driver presented with the trophy.
Scott, who is now a 30-time Late Model feature winner at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement,” will enter the Vermont Governor’s Cup hoping to win the race as the active Governor of Vermont.
“Never. In my youth, considering my interest in racing did I ever think I would be racing at Thunder Road, much less becoming Governor and then racing and being Governor at the same time,” Scott said when asked if he ever imagined racing the Governor’s Cup as the Governor. “It never entered my mind in my wildest dreams and imagination.
“It’s historic in some respect, but when I’m there I just feel like another driver; I don’t feel like I’m anything special and I don’t believe that the other drivers think of me any differently either.”
The 58-year-old native of Barre was elected to serve the people of Vermont in November 2016 and at that time didn’t know what the future would hold for his racing career. He didn’t want to hang up the helmet, but he was prepared to do so in order to serve the people.
After being elected and speaking with his security team, Governor Scott has been able to race more than expected. Although he will be forced to miss a handful of races throughout the year in order to handle his official duties, he’s happy to be able to continue doing something he loves to do.
“I certainly have raced more thus far than I thought I was going to. When we discussed it previously I was fully prepared to give up my helmet and knew that this was important for the State of Vermont,” Scott explained. “If I was fortunate enough to be elected, I knew that may be a result, that I would not be able to continue to race and I was accepting that. But again, as things have turned out I’ve been able to negotiate with my security in terms of racing and it’s worked out so that my schedule has allowed me to race more than I thought I would.”
Not only has Governor Scott been able to compete at Thunder Road this season, he’s also been very competitive on the track. With three-time “King of the Road” winner Derrick O’Donnell turning wrenches on the No. 14VT, the Governor has recorded a victory and a pair of top-five finishes in four starts.
With momentum on his side from a win last Thursday night, Scott is confident that he will be a true contender in the Vermont Governor’s Cup 150.
“I’m just thrilled to be able to compete and to race and to be competitive. As a race car driver you always want to be competitive and I don’t want to be just a back marker. I’ve been very thrilled to get to the track, but also to be up front again,” Scott stated. “You have your doubts every now and then whether you have the talent to continue. I certainly have the car and team behind me, but you have to have that one last ingredient that’s left. I’ve been fortunate to win last week and to carry this momentum forward to this week is great for us as a team and I think it puts us in contention.”
Although Scott would prefer to be the driver being presented the trophy, he’s still prepared to carry out his duties and present the trophy if things don’t go his way during the race.
“Well, it will be part of my official duties to do that regardless of the outcome,” Scott said with a laugh. “I did it before, there was one other race when I was Lieutenant Governor and I raced and the Governor was away so I presented the trophy. I believe it was to Nick Sweet. I may have finished sixth or seventh or something like that. It was a little difficult taking a cool down lap and then pulling in the infield and giving the trophy out, but the official duties come first.”
Race fans throughout the county can watch Governor Scott attempt to make history by watching the Vermont Governor’s Cup 150 live on Speed51.com’s Summer Thunder TV. There will be a 100-mile blackout for the broadcast. Summer Thunder TV is available to premium members of the Speed51 Video Network. Fans can become a premium member for just $7.99 a month or $59.99 for a full year. To become a premium member, click here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Pau51
-Photo credit: Alan Ward