With a great smile and radically highlighted hair; Ashlee Scott no doubt looks the part of a homecoming queen; however, for the 16-year-old who calls Vestaburg, Michigan home, weekends are not reserved for school dances or early season football games. Instead Ashlee is a true racer and a proven champion.
The high school junior was raised around Mid-Michigan dirt tracks like Crystal Motor Speedway and Mid-Michigan Raceway Park. She learned the technical aspects of the sport from one of the best Modified Crew Chiefs in the state, her uncle Chris “Shucka” Nichoson who was the one to get Scott behind the wheel for the first time, “My uncle Chris worked on Myron DeYoung’s Modified and I was always down there at the shop with him.” Recalled Ashlee, “Uncle Chris told me I was going to get into the 4-cylinder division and the next thing I knew I was racing them”.
Even at age 12 it was evident that Scott had a talent and a passion well beyond her years, and after a year and a half she had amassed a number of wins and had become such stiff competition that she was claimed part way through her second season.
In the Crystal Motor Speedway Flinn Stock division a claim is not limited to an engine or shocks, instead it is a claim on the entire car less battery and safety equipment. The loss of her wheels left Ashlee without a class to compete in, that was until she landed in the Pro-Truck division, “I was kind of nervous the first couple of races in the trucks, racing against all of the veteran guys like Tim Wood” exclaimed Ashlee before adding, “It was hard just seeing where I was going to go, but as time went on I just got in there and went!”
Getting in there is the perfect description of Ashlee’s driving style, although not overly aggressive she makes her presence known and is constantly on the lookout for an opening and way to move to the front while keeping the nose of her no.7S truck clean. What once was a nervous young teenager with natural talent, morphed in the course of one season into one of Crystal Motor Speedway’s premier competitors. With numerous wins throughout 2012 Ashlee was driven to be the best and before the season was even through she wrapped up the track title against some of the most talented truck drivers in the state. Although Ashlee strived to be successful, even she was surprised by the 2012 season, “This championship; I was never expecting it!” stated Scott, “I clinched the title on season championship night and then won the season championship as well as the final regular show that following weekend!”
Any champion at Crystal Motor Speedway proves that they are the best of the best; an IMCA points-based line-up has been adapted in every class at CMS which means that Scott, who earned the top spot early on in the season was relegated to a 12th place starting spot each and every week. There is no doubt that championships at the 3/8-mile dirt track are hard to come by, but for Scott the win was about much more than the glory and the trophy; instead it was about honoring someone special to her, “Winning this championship was really exciting for me,” expressed Scott, “I lost my uncle last fall and this championship was for him. It was just exciting for me that I got to win it for him and I know that he is here and he is with me!”
As exciting as 2012 was for Ashlee, it was definitely missing a key part and although this has been the most successful season of her career to date, Scott says her fondest memories still lie in the days of running stock front wheel drive 4-cylinders; “When I was in the 4-cylinders I was leading points and winning all the time. For me that was the best because my uncle was there working on the car with me. Things have been pretty good since then though and my dad David and my grandpa John Nichoson have definitely been catching up fast!”
For Scott, the key to a successful season has been hard work, dedication, and the amazing help and support of a great family, “My dad, my grandpa and I are out in the garage every night unless things are going good, then it’s every other night!” she stated, “We work on the truck a lot through the week and we write down everything we do. What we find to work we leave and everything that doesn’t work we change”. That strategy has worked and between her natural talent and a properly handling machine Ashlee has already had some great opportunities behind the wheel of a racecar.
Although just now able to drive a passenger car, Scott has strapped into a Late Model for a hot lap session, and raced a Modified at Mid Michigan Raceway Park; an experience she still recalls with a grin, “It was so different to see my tires and you can definitely feel that they go faster!” As for the future of Ashlee Scott, she hopes it is more of the same; getting opportunities to compete in new divisions and hopefully take her career to the next level, “I just hope someone sees something in me and I can go far in this sport” allowed Scott, “because I would like to race Danica one day for sure!”
Being the first female champion at Crystal Motor Speedway in modern history would put pressure on anyone at any age, but Ashlee takes it all in stride, “I have a lot of young girls who get so shy they wont even talk to me and I don’t know why but it feels so good to have them as fans and I hope I can be a good role model for them”
With Ashlee Scott’s drive, determination, and talent her dreams definitely have the potential to become reality, but until then she is happy living the life of a teenager, with some very busy and greasy nights, “I used to play school sports but I found that I’d rather concentrate on racing, because even when its not racing season you are getting ready for the next season. All in all I am just a plain old person who if not at a racetrack is out in the garage or hunting and hanging out with friends!”
Ashley would like to thank her crew and her sponsors for all of their help and support: Raby’s Garage, Lee’s Car Car, Bush & Village Hardware, and Nieman Eyezd Graphics are all responsible for keeping Ashlee and the no.7S machine on track.