Unbuckled: Getting to Know Scott Payea
Driver of the #37VT Harrison Concrete & Redi-Mix Dodge Charger
Hometown: Colchester, VT
ACT Career: 5 ACT Late Model Tour wins; finished 2nd in points 3 straight seasons from 2007-2009; returns this season after last competing in 2013
What are your favorite off-season hobbies?
I enjoy spending time with my family. I also like to bowl – I bowl in a league on Monday nights. My last off-season was extended by a couple years (laughs), so I took up golf, which I really enjoy. That won’t be an off-season hobby going forward though.
What do you do for work?
I manage the System Engineering team for The Orvis Company. We’re coming up on a year now that I’ve held the position.
What is your biggest life accomplishment?
As far as life accomplishments go, it’s my two children – son and daughter – by far. They’re an incredible amount of fun to spend time with.
What are your racing plans for 2016? Do you have any goals?
We’re going to run the ACT Late Model Tour this year. Partnering up with the RPM Motorsports team is fantastic for me. I’ve been out of the seat for a couple years, so we’re certainly going to knock the rust off and then try to contend for wins, and ultimately the championship.
What are you most looking forward to about returning to ACT? What did you miss the most about racing?
We spent a couple years at Thunder Road after I finished running the Tour full-time (in 2011). And that’s great, I love Thunder Road, but getting back to ACT and getting back to the Tour and traveling to the different tracks is what I look forward to the most this year. What I missed most was just the competition. You have some great guys that run weekly at these tracks, you bring some Tour regulars, and you get to go in and race against guys like Bruce Thomas at Waterford and other top drivers. It will be great to get back to that competition.
What race(s) are you excited about in 2016?
We’ve already run well at Seekonk, and we’ve picked up a win at Waterford, so having those tracks back on the schedule is great. And I’m also excited to go to Thompson – I haven’t raced there before. Those events are all circled on the calendar this year.
How did you get started in racing?
My father raced back in the 1970s at Catamount, so I kind of grew up around it. He stopped racing, but then he was always helping out friends with their cars, and so I tagged along and I’d sit around in the shop as a kid. When I got old enough, I began to help out as well, and then ultimately wanted to start racing myself.
Do you have anyone that you consider a hero or try to emulate?
Growing up around racing, and being from Milton, Bobby Dragon was a huge hero of mine, and I followed him growing up. Then at one point, I was getting advice from him when I got into racing, and that was pretty special for me.
Tell me about your family?
My son and daughter keep me on my toes for sure. They were a little young when I raced before, so it’ll be exciting to have them at the race track with my wife this year, and having them travel with us and getting to experience what it’s like to be on the track again.
Who is your biggest supporter at the track?
My wife has been with me since I first started racing Street Stocks, and she’s always been behind me. I couldn’t do it without her support, especially the family aspect of things and making sure that she holds down the fort when we’re off traveling.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your racing career?
I’d say my dad. He’s the one that helped me get started in racing. It started out with the two of us working up from Street Stocks, to Tigers, to Late Models, so he was there to help me through that whole process – financially as well as putting in the time on the car together. We couldn’t have done it without his support.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
I was a two-sport baseball and basketball player through high school. I played a lot – our teams were mediocre. (Laughs) I didn’t continue in college, though; I went off to Clarkson (University), and I had to focus on the academics there, that’s for sure.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Go out there and race your own race, and you’ll get the respect that you deserve. How you go out there and race is going to be how you’re known for the rest of your career. If you go out there and you’re rough, and you’re smashing and crashing, that’s what you’ll be known for. If you go out there and race people with respect, they’ll race you back with respect.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
That’s a good question. Hopefully I’ll still be doing what I love. I’d like to still be involved in racing, but we’ll see where things take us. The kids are growing fast, so we’ll see what happens. We’re just going to take things one step at a time.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would certainly become very much debt-free, and that would open up a lot of opportunities to do what we want as a family and spend a lot of time together. We could probably do a lot of racing as well.