Dylan Stott comes from a good racing pedigree. Saturday afternoon he proved it at Route 66 Raceway outside of Chicago.
Stott, who resides in Columbus, N.C., upheld his family's drag racing reputation during the NHRA Jegs All-Stars competition, a prestigious drag racing event that pits the nation's top sportsman drag racers in head-to-head competition.
Stott defeated defending event champion Joe Roubicek to capture the Top Sportsman division.
He's the third member of the Stott family to win a major national championship. His cousins, Quain and Mitch Stott, are both past IHRA series champions. Grandfather Harold Stott is a former drag racer who served as a pit crew member in NASCAR for nearly three decades before retiring in 2002.
Dylan Stott began racing as an 8-year old while competing in the Junior Dragster division at Greer Dragway. He graduated to a full-size race car two years ago and into the Top Sportsman division last year.
While winning the Jegs All-Star title seemed like an accomplishment larger than life two years ago, Stott admits he went into Saturday's event knowing he had the potential and ability to win the grand prize.
“You do this stuff long enough and you always want to win the big race,” said Stott. “Ever since I was much younger, I dreamed of charting my own path in the sport either by racing fuel Funny Car or going Pro Mod racing like my cousins. Getting a win like this is a big dream.”
Big dreams rarely come without nervousness at the time of the battle. Stott's came just before the first round of eliminations.
“I was fine until I pulled under the tower, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Stott said. “It got a bit nerve-wracking until I did my burnout, then it all settled down.”
The road to this moment wasn't an easy one for Stott. He was the lone NHRA Division 2 (Southeastern) Top Sportsman representative and earned his spot based on points accrued throughout last year in divisional races from Charlotte to Valdosta, Ga.
On Saturday, he faced the best of the best in NHRA sportsman drag racing.
“Just qualifying isn't enough,” Stott said. “You want to win if you're here.”
Stott was basking in the glow of his big win on Monday morning. His family and friends were, too.
“My phone has blown up,” said Stott. “I can't tell you the calls I've already gotten. Just knowing you have this kind of support, makes it even better.”
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