Saturday, August 23, 2014

Scott Kilby feature


Kilby’s stuck in the middle at HMS

By Tom Gillispie

Scott Kilby’s a busy man as the head tech official at Hickory Motor Speedway.
On a typical Saturday, “I’ll get to track at 12 (noon) and bring my tools,” said Kilby, who’s come to the track for decades as a fan, a racer and now an official. “I work with a couple of good guys in the tech shed, and they’re a tremendous help, Danny Starr and Tony Wilson.”
They meet for lunch and have an “unofficial officials’ meeting,” he said, “and we’ll get the tech shed ready. It’s a drive-through with scales.”
The current shed has sides to keep out prying eyes.
“When we look at stuff, it’s nobody’s business but us and the competitor,” Kilby said. “It’s a decent place to check cars. It gets hectic sometimes, with maybe 25 Late Model cars and 20 Limited Late Models.
“Most of the time, we get out of there after midnight. One or two times, it was at 1 or 2 in the morning.”
Kilby became the track’s race director two years ago and the head tech official last year, and he’s still the tech guy this year.
“Race director was a lot less work,” Kilby said wryly.
But he adds that he loves it.
“I like being in the pits and around the racers and cars; I like being in the middle of that,” he said. “I’ve been around that all my life.”
Kilby said he also makes lots of phone calls and does research during the week.
“Racers are always working in the gray areas, especially the lower divisions, which are supposed to use stock stuff,” said Kilby, Hickory’s track champion in 1992 and ’96. “So during the week I’ll go to the junkyard to do measurements.”
He says sometimes he’ll pull drivers aside and ask questions. “I’ll call my buddies or officials at other tracks,” he added.
Kilby, 49, is originally from Wilkes County, but he moved to Statesville for work. His day job is operations manager for a wood manufacturing company, ECMD, one of his main sponsors when he was racing years ago. He hasn’t raced in “seven or eight years.”
“I’m always in the middle, and sometimes I feel like the bad guy,” he said. “I try to be fair and keep it an equal playing ground, keep it within what rules they specify. But it’s not easy.
 “I know that sometimes I’ll ruffle some feathers” in the tech shed, he added, “but I hope that, at the end of the day, they’ll at least respect me.”
The worst part of the job, he said, is disqualifying a racer.
“I do not get enjoyment from DQing anybody,” he said. “It’s tough on competitors and tough on officials.”
Has it gotten easier in his second season in the tech shed?
“No, I wouldn't say it’s any easier,” he said. “I still get the same questions asked. So it probably gets tougher. There are a lot of politics from racers and others, and it can make life hard in the tech shed.”

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