DONOVAN STOTT RACES WITH AN OLD SOUL
Donovan Stott sheepishly admits his ignorance six years ago on one particular subject.
Stott, the 23-year old son of IHRA Pro Modified champion Mitch Stott, had no clue what a Gasser was when his famous uncle, and also past IHRA World Champion Quain Stott introduced him to the doorslammers of days long gone.
Nowadays Stott cannot imagine his life without Gassers, especially since he's proclaimed himself an "old soul." It's not hard to spot him, even when he's not pulling out of his crudely painted 1948 Anglia, he's the young man sporting the attire of 1967, just like he stepped out of Marty McFly's Delorean time machine.
Stott races in the A/Gas division with the Southeast Gassers Association, one of nostalgia racing's most-period correct series.
"I fit in just fine with the older folks because I feel older at heart," Stott admitted. "I feel like an old soul. My handout cards even refer to me as the young gun in an old holster. Just because I'm in relatively new skin, doesn't necessarily mean there's new or old blood flowing underneath. I fit in with the old group, and love nothing more than talking about good old '48 Chevrolets or '49 Anglias."
Stott might be old at heart, but it's his youthful reflexes which keep him from ending up a trashy white spot on the side of the retaining wall in the temperamental machine which tops 120-miles per hour in the eighth-mile.
"You just go with what it gives you," Stott declared. "Of course you can’t make it do anything. When that thing decides to stand up on two tires and go one direction or the other direction you take what it gives you, you accept it. If it feels right, stay with it, and if that wiggle in your pants doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to, you get out of it and try to see if you can get it steered back toward the groove and back in it to win the round."
More than one time Stott has found himself eye to concrete, staring down a retaining wall or five. Stott can thank his experience in the rough and tumble world of motocross for this daredevil nature.
"My time in motocross pays off everytime I get behind the wheel," Stott explained. "Every time I go to race, the seat-of-the-pants is how you ride a motorcycle, and it’s the same with this car.
"You don’t drive with the windshield you just drive with what you feel. If you waited on your eye to tell your brain what was going on you’d be way behind. So motocross pays off pretty much every single pass that I drive that race car."
The 1948 Anglia Stott pilots is an original Gasser from the 1960s, and once raced around Pennsylvania as the Bernard & Sons BB/Gas Supercharged entry. Uncle Quain purchased the car and provided it to his nephew on a work-to-own basis. Understanding the importance of maintaining its roots, the Stott painted over the existing scheme just in case they decided to restore to original specs.
Stott has jumped into the days of classic drag racing with both feet and has no limitations when it comes to learning of the days of old.
"In reality, I am 23 years old, on paper I'm 23, but in my heart, I'm 70," Stott admits. "I'm in a '48 Anglia running a 1967 show. It’s got a mind of its own. It’s 92” long, it sits up high, I sit in the back seat and you literally never know where it’s going to go. A lot of times it will make good solid passes, and then all of a sudden decides it wants to see if it could paint the wall with a little bit of that white trash paint.
"Sometimes I feel like an old Modified racer with these small block engines and high winding four-speeds just like they had back in the day," Stott said. "These old gassers are the same thing except junk suspension, junk cars, and straight axles. If we were reproducing the 1970s, I'd be right at home in a Modified car."
Honestly, given his pedigree, Stott is likely at home as long racing anything as long as it has four wheels and high horsepower.
"I think it’s just in the Stott blood," Stott said. "Since as long as our ancestors have been around, we’ve all been included in racing in some format. So following in their footsteps, I guess it’s just what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do, but it’s what I’m supposed to do I reckon. I’ll keep on digging at it and I’ll either engrave my name in history the same way they did, or I’ll just be some broke joke on the side of the road."