Life from the Cockpit

(Org. published on CarSumo.com by Olivia Carmen on January 10, 2017–prior to its closing)

For Scott Heckert, there’s nothing more exhilarating than the sight of a checkered flag as he leads the pack down the final stretch.

As a professional racecar driver and rising senior in college, Heckert, 23, is a driven individual in a fast-paced world. While he plans to graduate from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a degree in engineering management with an emphasis on manufacturing, Heckert also balances the busy life of being a professional racecar driver.

When Heckert was eight-years-old, his father, an amateur racecar driver himself, took him to the local kart club in his hometown of Ridgefield, CT, to begin his racing career in a go-kart.

“We took it casually for about five or six years. Of course, my dad and I wanted to do well, but we just showed up, and there wasn’t much preparation besides the work he did on the kart,” said Heckert.

Go-kart racing was the foundation upon which he was able to build a career in racing that requires skill, passion, determination and a desire for speed.

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“In many ways, go-karting was the purest form of competition racing. It was all for fun with no money involved, and I was never nervous,” said Heckert. “It wasn’t like it was the last race of your career if you didn’t do well.”

Throughout his racing career, starting from his humble beginnings, Heckert has made his way up through an eclectic mix of divisions: the Norwalk Karting Association, the World Karting Association, the Skip-Barber Regional and National Series in low-horsepower cars, the Super Late Models in the Pass and CRA Series, the SCCA Trans- Am Series at Limerock Park, the NASCAR K&N East Series for three years and throughout 2016, the Pirelli World Challenge behind the wheel of a SIN R1 GT4.

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This year, Heckert also made his debut in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Watkins Glen, and Road America. When it comes down to it, Heckert’s motivation for racing was inaugurated by his

When it comes down to it, Heckert’s motivation for racing was inaugurated by his desire to attain the life of a racer. However, to him, the passion delves deeper than what a spectator can see from the surface.

“You get a feeling from racing that you can’t get anywhere else. The competitiveness, the enthusiasm, the driving, the team and the atmosphere all combine to create this incredibly unique sport. It’s not just the driving I love . . . it’s the racing and the whole environment,” said Heckert.

Experiencing the high speeds of a racecar on the track is an entirely different feeling in and of itself. When Heckert is in the car, he can feel the speed pulsing through his veins, and it becomes a part of who he is as a person and a driver.

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“When you’re in a NASCAR stock car, and you start the engine, you find yourself encapsulated by the sound of this powerful beast of a car. The feeling of speed on the first couple laps is intense, and after you get used to that initial excitement, it becomes a competitive environment,” said Heckert.

Heckert has learned a great deal about himself throughout each race. During situations fraught with adversity, like a mechanical error in the midst of the race, he has determined that he must still drive the car as hard and fast as it can go.

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