Scott McDaniel speeds around the course during a race. Sandy Haley photo

Livermore driver Scott McDaniel is on a tight budget and depends on sponsorship dough to keep his car running on a race track.

McDaniel, 30, whose passion for high-speed racing was inherited from his father, Kevin, and has been racing since he was 16, knows money is just as important as the gas in his tank.

“One hundred percent of my money, that’s where it goes,” McDaniel said.

He added that Sunshine Pools in Jay, which came on as a sponsor, “has been reliable the past few years.”

Limited funds aren’t limiting him from competing in the this weekend’s Oxford 250.

“I am a competitive person, and it is just the competition,” he said. “You always want to get better. You can always do better.

“This year we have done a whole PASS tour. We’ve kind of done different things the last few years. We have done six to eight Saturday night Oxford races and we threw in four or five PASS races.’

McDaniel said there is nothing in Maine like the 250.

“I have qualified for four (250) races. In 2017, we finished ninth,” the Spruce Mountain Middle School teacher said. “This will be the fifth one — if we qualify. It is what I live for, the 250. It is the only racing event that makes it on the news in Maine and it is the biggest sporting event in Maine every year. 

“This year, we haven’t been running very good. If we can just get in the race and hopefully just fall where you want to … and I am hoping for a top 10, really. 

McDaniel said fans should keep an eye on Nick Sweet, Dave Farrington and Jeff Taylor at this week’s 250.

(Farrington) seems pretty unstoppable right now,” McDaniel said. “Jeff Taylor is batting 1,000 right now. I guess those three would be on my short list.”

McDaniel acknowledged that the coronavirus threat will hang over the racing event.

“It definitely takes away the grandness of the event, I guess,” he said. “I am happy OPS owner Tom Mayberry is still putting the event on  this year. Usually that’s the event he depends on to make his money for the year. I am just glad he wants to keep it going this year.”

TEAM EFFORT

McDaniel points out that his father and Mike Perry have been tremendous resources each racing season. 

“(Dad) was like an auto-body person. He was a fabricator. He did do a couple of Enduro races back in the ’80s,” McDaniel said. “He never really raced. My dad, of course, being a fabricator can put everything together, and I do all maintenance and all that.

“(Perry is) a guy who has been helping us forever. He is my dad’s friend from when they were kids. He is actually the one that helped my dad connect with Tracy Gordon back in the day. He got into to super late models and started helping us out.”

Perry describes himself as the “behind the scenes” guy for the McDaniel team.

“Me and Scott’s father worked a lot of years for Tracy Gordon,” Perry said. “I go down to the garage and help get the car ready and do set up and stuff like that. Whenever I can go, I go to the race track and just help whenever I can.”

Added Scott McDaniel: “My dad used to work for Tracy Gordon back when he ran the Busch North Series. The race shop was actually at my house for quite a while, so it was pretty natural to start going out there and going into (racing).”

Perry said more financial backing for McDaniel’s exploits on the oval would certainly be a blessing to the team.

“I don’t think Scott has quite as much backing as these other guys … but he can hold his own,” Perry said. “I mean, if we can get a good draw (at the 250) … and if we get a good set of tires, a good draw, I mean we are definitely not one of the favorites, (but) I don’t see why … we couldn’t be right there.”

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