Everyone once in a while NASCAR's Regional Touring Series produces a relatively unknown driver who instantly captures your attention base on talent. This is the driver who is instantly noticed by the way he hugs the walls going down the straightaway, the way he dives into the corners looking for that extra tenth of a second on the clock and by the way he makes a skin tight passing situation look very easy.
Scott Lynch is one of those drivers and he backed it up with an outstanding 2003 season in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series and proved his potential again by making his NASCAR Busch Series debut as a member of then prestigious Hungry Driver Program which gives talented and deserving drivers a shot at NASCAR's big leagues.
The Scott Lynch racing journey began at the age of 16 at the Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho where he quickly established himself as a strong contender in the Weekly Racing Series there. In 1999 he headed south to join the prestigious NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series now referred to as the NASCAR Autozone Elite Division, Southwest Series. Lynch won the Rookie of the Year title in 1999 and then decided to move up the racing ladder again joining the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. Resources only allowed Lynch to make 11 starts in the West Series from 2000 to 2002. However, Lynch made the best of those 11 starts compiled a win, three top five's and seven top tens.
It was that performance that led him to the race shop of the famed, Las Vegas based, Orleans Motorsports where he quickly rose to the top of the class in the West Series while driving the Yerf Dog Dodge. Lynch finished the 2003 season with three wins, seven top fives, ten top tens, the Rookie of the Year title and the championship in one of the closest points battles in series history.
While Scott Lynch was busy on the west coast charting his racing future, famed NASCAR Nextel Cup Crew Chief, and NASCAR Busch Series team owner, Tommy Baldwin was busy on the east coast developing a special project known as the Hungry Drivers Program. The program was named in honor of its sponsors: Ragu Pasta Sauce, Hellmann's Mayonaise and Shedd's Spread Country Crock Spreads.
This innovative program called for the selection of four up and coming drivers to drive Baldwin's #6 Hungry Drivers Dodge while making their debut in the NASCAR Busch Series. Each of the four drivers are tabbed to compete in three events each and the driver who delivers the best overall performance in the events will likely be in a prime posistion for a full time NASCAR Busch Series ride in 2005.
Baldwin had already selected three drivers for the new program and was considering options for the fourth and final slot when he got a call from Dodge Motorsports who highly recommended Scott Lynch for the program. Dodge had such high praise for Lynch that Baldwin felt he owed himself to look into the highly touted young driver.
Baldwin was impressed with Lynch's stastics from the 2003 West Series season and set up a meeting. In a prepared statement following that meeting Baldwin said "obviously I was impressed with his accomplishments in the NASCAR West Series but it wasn't until I met him that I knew he was a perfect fit for the Hungry Drivers Program and the best person to represent our sponsors Ragu, Hellmanns and Country Crock. Scott has what it takes to make it into NASCAR's top series. Not only does he have the raw talent but he has the right attitude and the drive. You can tell Scott doesn't mind working hard and doing whatever it takes to succeed. Any car owner will tell you he's the kind of person you want representing you and your sponsors."
For Scott Lynch the Hungry Drivers Program was a dream come true and a rare opportunity may drivers may never see. He drove in his first race for the program in the May 15th Funai 250 at the Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. He ran 116 very credible laps before getting caught up in a racing deal that finished the evening with a 39th place finish.
Lynch has two more shots at driving Baldwin's Dodge in October at two of NASCAR's fastest tracks: Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina and Georgia's Atlanta International Speedway. You better believe that he's already primed to make the best of both opportunities.
Tommy Baldwin's asessment of Scott Lynch is quite correct. He does indeed have the raw talent and the drive to make it to NASCAR's upper levels. Scott Lynch is a hungry driver in more ways than one. No matter how the Hungry Drivers Program experience turns out for him, there's no doubt that someday he will have a rock solid NASCAR career because he's hungry enough to work for it and never lose sight of his racing goals. One of these days a lot of west coast racing fans will be bragging about knowing him when he first got started.