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Chatfield's Schott chasing his dream full-time

Stock car racing has allowed Lucas Schott to see a good part of the United States.

This year, the Chatfield native is again traveling up and down and back and forth across the country.

And this year, it’s his full-time job.

“Everyone dreams of giving it a shot,” Schott said of driving a race car for a living. “This is my first time really being away from home for (long periods of time). It’s different, but it’s been fun.”

Schott is making the most of his shot so far.

The 21-year-old—who has raced cars of some kind for 14 years—is racing on a full-time basis with the United States Modified Touring Series, the top touring series for dirt Modifieds in the country. Car owner Mike Wedelstadt, from Fremont, Wis., has given Schott the opportunity to race at tracks from Arizona to Arkansas and from Texas to Minnesota.

Schott has delivered, big-time.

He opened the season with a win at the Wild West Shootout at Arizona Speedway, near Phoenix, on Jan. 10.

“That was only our third night together,” Schott said of racing for Wedelstadt. “Just not knowing much at that time about our car or how we would work together as a team, that win was huge for us, a great way to start the season.”

Schott first teamed up with Wedelstadt in Arizona in November of 2015 and has driven in some major IMCA-sanctioned events for Wedelstadt Racing. Schott’s team—including full-time crew chief Riley Hatfield, who most recently turned wrenches for Morgan Bagley on the World of Outlaws Late Models Series—will branch off from the USMTS tour at times to race in big-money races across the country.

“It’s just me and (Hatfield) on the road most of the time,” said Schott, who often traveled with his dad, John, in recent seasons as a family-supported race team. “(Hatfield) has been around the sport a lot longer than I have. It’s huge for me to have his experience… He can read the car a lot better than me a lot of the time.”

CROWNED THE KING

Schott followed his win in Arizona by not only winning, but dominating, the prestigious King of America VII race in Humboldt, Kan., on March 17. He led all 75 laps of an A Main that was loaded with a who’s-who of Modified drivers. Schott, one of just five drivers to qualify for the A Main at every King of America, started on the outside pole in the A Main, grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag and never gave it up.

“That one was pretty special. It’s right up there with winning the (inaugural) Grant Junghans Memorial Race” in Kansas in 2016, he said. “And it was nice to do it for someone else, for Mike and Riley. It’s always fun to win for my family, but there’s some added pressure (this year). It was nice to see my car owner and crew chief so happy.”

Schott has been consistently strong in USMTS events this season, recording eight top-10 finishes, seven top fives and two victories through 11 races. He sits in fourth place in the USMTS standings after winning two of three races last weekend and is just more than three weeks away from returning to his home track—Deer Creek Speedway near Spring Valley—to run with the USMTS in the Southern Minnesota Spring Challenge on May 26.

He’ll hit a couple of new tracks in Arkansas and Oklahoma this week before the USMTS returns to Minnesota on May 18 with a show at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls.

“I like going to new tracks, and most of them this year have been first-time tracks for us,” Schott said. “Sometimes when you don’t know a track, it can be an advantage. I like seeing new places, and it’s worked out pretty good so far.”

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