MOORESVILLE, N.C. – After an unnerving start to the offseason, Brian Scott’s Sprint Cup prospects accelerated from zero to 36 races this week.
Scott was announced Friday as the 2016 driver of Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 9 Ford, replacing Sam Hornish Jr. in a deal that only was agreed upon at the team’s shop only a few days earlier.
“I went into the offseason really having no clue what the future held and giving some serious thought — or trying to think about — there’s a real possibility that something might not come together, and I might not be doing anything next year,” said Scott, who had raced full time in the Xfinity Series since 2010 and spent two seasons in the Camping World Truck Series before that. “This whole deal came together on Monday, literally just all materialized. Everything lined up right. We had a really good meeting, and everyone got pumped up, and I think there was some potential in that room Monday that led us to pull the trigger to come out of the gates and hit the ground running.”
Though no sponsorship was announced Friday, the team indicated that funding for the car was set and would be announced within the next month.
Scott has strong ties through his family to Albertson’s and Shore Lodge, which had backed his No. 2 Chevrolet at Richard Childress Racing the past three seasons. Though he had talked to multiple teams about rides for next season, RPM offered the only chance of racing full time in NASCAR’s premier series.
“That was ultimately the deciding factor,” said Scott, who will test Monday for RPM at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “It seemed the other opportunities were partial (in Sprint Cup) and piecing together races here and there. I felt for my development personally as a driver, I wanted to be in something full time. I wanted to be competing for a championship and gathering points and being in a Sprint Cup car week in and week out, and I’m so very fortunate to have this opportunity come together.
“There’s no doubt in my mind this is the best opportunity for me going forward.”
Scott said it was bittersweet to leave RCR for RPM. He finished a career-best fourth in the 2014 Xfinity points standings with RCR and also had three top-10 finishes during a 10-race stint in the Sprint Cup last season in a No. 33 Chevy owned by Richard Childress, who told NASCAR.com last month that he was interested in having Scott return.
“It was difficult to put the pieces together that we needed,” Scott said. “I really enjoyed my time at RCR. They have amazing employees. I love the relationships we built. Of course, that was something we wanted to pursue. We wanted to continue that relationship. We just seemed to hit some roadblocks or some struggles that we couldn’t overcome to put the right deal together or the deal we wanted to have for 2016 and beyond with them.”