You know the saying: When the governor's away, the acting governor will race stock cars. At least that's how it goes in Vermont, where Phil Scott is the second-term lieutenant governor, owner of a construction company, and three-time track champion and alltime wins leader at Thunder Road International Speedbowl, a short-track speedway in Scott's native Barre. On June 20, while Governor Peter Shumlin was out of state on vacation, Scott, 54, beat a field of 29 to up his victory total to 28. During a rainout last Thursday the politico behind the wheel of the number 14 Chevy took some time to orate about his second life.
I've been racing cars for 22 years. And for 14 years before that I was racing snowmobiles. It was my mom, Marian Dubois, who brought us to the racetrack. She's a bigger race fan than I am. She's 77 now, but she'll still call me at night and tell me the racing gossip.
On how has racing has affected his political career: I attribute my early campaign success to the racetrack. It gave me name recognition. Of course I had to show [people] I'm more than a stock car racer.
On racing etiquette: In politics or business or racing I try to be respectful, though I'm very competitive. I treat people the way I want to be treated, so it's not like I'm banging on other guys' bumpers all the time.
On incorporating racing into his political rhetoric: I talk about teamwork, which is essential whether it's at the racetrack or in politics. I also promote being a role model. It's something I realized when I met a young fan who had my number shaved in the back of his head.
On whether other drivers defer to the Lt. governor: When I became lieutenant governor I told them, Don't treat me differently. Sometimes I wish I never said anything because now I think they race me a little bit harder.
On being the first acting governor to drive a stock car professionally: I think I'm the first to win. A producer on public radio did research and told me someone once bought the governor of South Carolina a ride in a stock car race, but he crashed early on. I live for this.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
The Lehigh Valley (Pa.) IronPigs, the Phillies' Triple A affiliate, will host Celebration of Life Night on Aug. 20, described as a "once-in-a-lifetime giveaway" in which one fan will receive a full funeral package, valued at nearly $10,000, based on an essay describing his or her ideal service and why he or she "will, eventually, be deserving."
LEIF TILLOTSON (SCOTT)