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Governor Scott considers foregoing stock car race in light of political push-back
Car racing and political views are generally not thought to go hand in hand, but this week, an interesting dichotomy is presenting itself that may showcase a unique situation in which the two are indeed related. Vermont’s governor, Republican Phil Scott is well known for stock car racing at the Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre and has been doing so for decades now. However, this time around Scott is questioning whether or not to race again this season. In light of the recent arrest of a local former high school student accused of plotting to shoot up his former school, Gov. Scott has changed his stance on gun restrictions and he even signed legislation contrary to his previous beliefs.
This change of heart has not sat well with his constituents and he has even been accused of being a traitor by gun owners. Although, there is no anticipation of violence at the racetrack, Scott is concerned that the animosity toward him might bring down the otherwise positive atmosphere of the racing event.
In order to make his decision, Scott has reached out to Thunder Road Speedbowl, as well as the other drivers, in his best effort to get a read on how him racing would affect the event. When asked to comment, Thunder Road admitted to having contact with Scott, but declined to give details of the conversation. Local citizens however, have freely offered up their own opinions regarding the matter, and so far, the consensus is not good.
Sheila Smith, gun owner, hunter, and clerk at the neighboring market, asserted that it was Scott’s right to choose whether or not he races, but that he absolutely will get “booed” if he chooses to do so. However, fellow racer, Bobby Therrien, although understanding of Scott’s concerns, genuinely hopes that the governor will race. Therrien asserts that Scott is “a figure of Thunder Road,” and adding that “it would be a shame to see him not compete this year.”
Despite being a prominent political figure, Scott is also a great racer. He is actually the winningest driver at Thunder Road, with about 30 wins under his belt. Prior to this recent controversy, he was also very well-liked in both the racing community and beyond. Just last year, an article was published detailing the record of his racing and political accomplishments, but more than anything, it focused on how he was such an upstanding pillar of the community, while at the same time, remaining down to earth and personable. Whether Scott decides to continue racing this season, or perhaps decides instead to hand over his keys for good, is still to be determined. Whatever his choice may be, one can only hope that his legacy will not be overshadowed by this most recent political shift and those who grew up watching him race will still hold him in high esteem based on his character.