At NASCAR’s longest race of the year, Brian Scott is eager for fans to see the name atop the windshield of his No. 44 Ford Fusion.
As part of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C., Scott and other drivers are honoring those who died while serving in the Armed Forces. For Scott, one name hits close to home.
John Borbonus, 19, was killed by a truck bomb April 12, 2007, while serving in Iraq. He earned a posthumous Silver Star and Purple Heart for firing on the truck, preventing it from reaching its intended target and harming more soldiers.
Scott and Borbonus attended Boise High together and played on the lacrosse team.
“He was such a good kid, easy to get along with, worked hard, was always smiling,” Scott told the Idaho Statesman this week. “When we were starting to plan for this race, I knew exactly who I wanted to honor. It’s extra motivation. I want to win it for him.”
Scott has maintained close contact with Alexa and Veronique Borbonus, John’s cousins, and said he spoke with the family about using his name in the race.
“You see what was going on over there on the news, but it never really struck me until I knew someone it happened to, kind of put a lot of things in perspective,” Scott said. “I went to them to ask if they were OK with it, and they thought it was great. That really makes it better.”
Sunday will be the second time Scott has competed in the Coca-Cola 600, taking 32nd in 2014. He took 11th at the non-points Sprint Showdown in Charlotte on May 21. He is 29th in the Sprint Cup standings, but as a rookie full-timer in racing’s top division, he says things are trending upward.
“It’s been disappointing, haven’t really got the finishes we wanted. There’s a lot of newness,” Scott said. “But I feel we’re getting better each and every weekend, starting to really figure it out. Being able to keep that going, get a strong finish, especially with what this race means to not just me, but others, that would be huge.”
Sunday’s race starts at 4 p.m. on Fox.
Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_Southorn