Driver Diary by Dane: NOLA

My story and NOLA 

by: Dane Scott

Ever since I was little, I wanted to go fast. I don’t know where this drive came from, but it has always been there. My grandparents and I have an annual tradition of traveling to Pigeon Forge and when I was six or seven, we traveled up there in the summertime. I was set on hopping in go-karts at the local track and driving around the circuit. Unfortunately for me, I was around two-inches shy of the height requirement to drive alone. My grandparents knew how much I wanted to get out on track. Thus, they devised a plan. They took my shoes from me and filled them with napkins and put a hat on my head. With this, I was just able to pass above the line.

Every time I was at my grandfather’s house, we would watch NASCAR and INDYCAR together. I became extremely interested in the world of motorsports and in 2017, something happened that changed my world forever. My mom saw my growing interest in motorsports and decided to take me to the famed Indianapolis 500. While walking around the museum before the race, one of the guides asked if I could help out with something. He led me outside and let me sit in one of the early IndyCars from the 1990s. He asked if I wanted to drive it, to which I eagerly replied, “Yes”. The car was towed behind a van onto the track. I saw the crowds and the huge front straight. From that moment forward, I had a special place in my heart for the world of racing.

From this point on, I didn’t know how to pursue my passion. So, I forgot about it. Then, COVID hit, and we were all stuck at home. Since I was so bored, I needed some entertainment. I heard about Formula One being restricted because of COVID. I had never really been invested in Formula One, but it reignited my love for motorsport. Being at home, I had a lot of time to think about my future. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and I felt confused. However, no matter what path I imagined forward, racing somehow came to mind. I now had a way forward in life, but I had to find a way to get on that path.

In 2021, my mom met Joe Ostholthoff, who introduced me to the world of Formula 4. I met Jay Howard in Homestead for the 2022 Yacademy Winter Series. I also attended the 2022 Road America race in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. This led to more and more communication with Jay and the JHDD team. In August, I got into the Formula 4 car for the first time at the Autobahn Country Club in Illinois. This was my first time in a race car, and I had a great time. We went on to continue testing through the rest of the year, and I raced for the first time in the 2023 Yacademy Winter series. I went to finish third in two of the Sebring races, my first car racing podiums.

This led me to the 2023 F4 U.S. Championship and the races at NOLA Motorsports Park. In the first race, I started P19. I made my way up to P13 with some great overtakes. Unfortunately, when I was coming out of the esses, I was not given enough space and my front wing was destroyed going into turn 13. Because of this, I went off track and straight into the pit lane. This caused me to fall to 27th place where I eventually finished. For the second race, I started P23 and moved up to P16. I felt I could have done better, but I had some very solid overtakes and offensive moves. In the final race, I started inside row eleven in 21st. I was off my pace for this race and lacked the necessary defense to keep people behind me. Because of this, I finished P22.

In summary, not the weekend I wanted, but the weekend I needed. This gave me some much-needed experience in the Formula 4 racing world. This event helped to greatly improve my race craft and learn valuable lessons. I believe I have the pace to be more than just midfield. As a rookie, I hope to do the very best I can with the extremely limited experience I possess.

With the first race weekend now behind me, I am ready for the next one. I know what to expect and will work hard to climb the results sheets at Road America. I can’t thank my partners, Jay and the entire JHDD program enough for all of their help, hard work, and support.

- Dane Scott #4

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