Road course ringers are quite rare in the NASCAR Cup Series today compared to the lower divisions, but Live Fast Motorsports will disprove that narrative for Sunday. On Thursday, the team announced Scott Heckert will make his Cup début in the #78 Ford Mustang for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on the Daytona International Speedway road course.
Live Fast is one of the Cup Series’ newest teams, co-owned by longtime team owner Joe Falk and drivers B.J. McLeod and Matt Tifft. McLeod drove the #78 in their maiden race at the Daytona 500, where he finished twenty-third. Motorsport Games, the developer behind the NASCAR Heat series, served as the #78’s sponsor for the 500 and will continue to do so for Heckert at the road course. He will start twenty-eighth in the race.
Heckert maintains close ties to McLeod’s personal operation B.J. McLeod Motorsports, running the full 2013 season for the team in what is now the ARCA Menards Series East and being entrusted with road course duties in the Xfinity Series. He would run two more full campaigns in the East Series in the HScott Motorsports camp, scoring four wins and a runner-up points finish in 2015; three of his wins came on road courses (Virginia International Raceway and twice at Watkins Glen). As an Xfinity driver, he ran ten races for BJMM between 2016 and 2020, all but two of which were RC events, with a best finish of thirteenth at The Glen in 2019; his two oval starts were his series début at New Hampshire in 2016 (finished twenty-sixth) and Chicagoland in 2018 (twenty-eighth). The 27-year-old also works as a road course driver coach.
“This is a special moment for me and it’s even better that I get to drive for two of my close friends,” Heckert said. “It’s been great getting to witness B.J. and Matt build this new team and I’m honoured to represent them at their first road course race.”
When the Xfinity Series first visited the Daytona RC in August 2020, Heckert finished nineteenth after starting thirtieth. It was his second NXS start of the season after a thirty-third at Road America the previous week. He primarily spent the year in the ARCA Menards Series as the race engineer for now-Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan; incidentally, Deegan’s ARCA road course car had the same chassis as Heckert’s East Series car that he won his road races in.
Outside of stock cars, much of Heckert’s racing since 2016 has come in various sports car championships such as the Pirelli World Challenge and Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, mainly competing under the Mercedes-Benz AMG wing such as driving for Black Falcon Racing in endurance events. In 2016, he won three races and finished fifth in the PWC GTS class. Two years later, he entered the Challenge’s SprintX GT Pro class on a part-time basis and won at VIR alongside Mike Skeen, who has also made starts in NASCAR as a road ringer. The two team-mates would race against each other in the 2018 Xfinity race at Road America. That year also saw the pair, joined by Bret Curtis and Yelmer Buurman, take the overall win for Black Falcon in the 24H Series‘ 24 Hours of COTA.
“We are so excited to have Scott driving for us at the Daytona Road Course,” McLeod stated. “He’s an absolute wheelman on road courses, and his stats show just that.”
After the 2020 racing season, Heckert joined IMSA Prototype Challenge team Jr III Racing in an engineering position.
It was not immediately revealed if Heckert’s schedule with Live Fast will extend to other races or if he will continue driving for BJMM. However, it is likely that he will enjoy some more seat time in 2021 as the Cup and Xfinity Series schedules both include six more road courses each. The next RC race for both series will be in May at Circuit of the Americas.