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Scott Brayton
Nationality  United States
Date of birth February 20, 1959(1959-02-20)
Place of birth Coldwater, Michigan
Died May 17, 1996 (aged 37)
Related to Lee Brayton (father)
CART IndyCar World Series
Years active 1981-1996
Teams Brayton Racing
Hemelgarn Racing
Dick Simon Racing
Team Menard
Starts 147
Wins 0
Poles 1
Best finish 12th in 1991
Previous series
1996 Indy Racing League

Scott Brayton (February 20, 1959 – May 17, 1996) was a race car driver from Coldwater, Michigan, on the American open-wheel circuit. He competed in 14 Indianapolis 500s, beginning with the 1981 event. Brayton was killed in practice after qualifying for the pole position for the 1996 race.

Contents

Career

During the mid-1980s, Brayton helped introduce the powerful but unreliable Buick stock-block V-6 to Indianapolis. His father's firm, Brayton Engineering, was a major developer of the race engine. In 1985, he qualified 2nd but finished 30th when the engine expired. He would not finish the race again until 1989, when he scored his best finish at the Speedway, 6th place but seven laps down. He would equal this finishing position in 1993, driving a Lola-Cosworth for Dick Simon Racing.

When Buick pulled out of IndyCar racing in 1993, John Menard continued developing the engine under the Menard V-6 name. Brayton, now without a regular ride in the IndyCar series, joined the Indy-only team in 1994. Their belief in the powerplant paid off when Brayton won his first pole position in 1995, at an average speed of 231.604 mph (372.731 km/h). Again, persistent problems with the Menard engine relegated him to 17th place at the finish.

In 1996, Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George established the Indy Racing League, and the Menard team signed up to compete in their first full season of IndyCar racing. Because the majority of the established teams and drivers of open-wheel racing competed in the rival CART series, Brayton (and rookie teammate Tony Stewart) were considered legitimate contenders for the IRL title. After a bad start to the season, Brayton asserted his competitiveness by winning his second Indy pole after a dramatic qualifying session in which he withdrew an already-qualified car to get a second chance at taking the top spot.

Brayton was making a practice run on May 17 in his backup car when it blew a tire going into turn two, spun and hit the outside retaining wall at more than 230 mph (370 km/h). Brayton was killed by the severe impact. His funeral, held in Coldwater, MI, was attended by a large contingent of drivers and racing personalities.

Teammate Tony Stewart, who qualified second, took over the pole starting position. A substitute driver, Danny Ongais, took over the car that Brayton had qualified for the pole and finished seventh.

Personal life

His wife Becky eventually remarried another IRL driver, Robbie Buhl on Easter Sunday 1999[1], later a partner in Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

Memorial

A street course in Grand Rapids, Michigan, used for SCCA racing was known as the Scott Brayton Memorial course.

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Indy 500 results

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
1981 Penske Cosworth 29th 16th Brayton
1982 Penske Cosworth Failed to Qualify Brayton
1983 March Cosworth 29th 9th Brayton
1984 March Buick 26th 18th Brayton
1985 March Buick 2nd 30th Brayton
1986 March Buick 23rd 30th Hemelgarn
1987 March Cosworth 13th 12th Hemelgarn
1988 Lola Buick 7th 31st Hemelgarn
1989 Lola Buick 6th 6th Simon
1990 Lola Cosworth 26th 7th Simon
1991 Lola Chevrolet 19th 17th Simon
1992 Lola Buick 7th 22nd Simon
1993 Lola Ford-Cosworth 11th 6th Simon
1994 Lola Buick 23rd 20th Menard
1995 Lola Menard-Buick 1st 17th Menard
1996 Lola Menard-Buick Fatal Practice Crash* Menard

* For the 1996 Indianapolis 500, Brayton qualified on the Pole. The following Friday he was fatally injured driving a back-up car during practice. In the race Danny Ongais drove the pole car and finished 7th.

Scott Brayton Trophy

Following Brayton's death, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced a new trophy for the Indianapolis 500 dedicated to the driver who best exemplifies the attitude, spirit and competitive drive of Scott Brayton. A driver may only be awarded the trophy once in his or her Indy career.

Year Winner
1997 John Paul, Jr.
1998 Roberto Guerrero
1999 Eliseo Salazar
2000 Eddie Cheever
2001 Davey Hamilton
2002 Arie Luyendyk
2003 Buddy Lazier
2004 Helio Castroneves
2005 Kenny Bräck
2006 Sam Hornish, Jr.
2007 Tony Kanaan
2008 Vitor Meira
2009 Sarah Fisher

See also

References


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