Driver Merritt Scott-Collins gaining experience at every turn
by Harry M. Anderson Jr.
Special to the Oakland Press
Although she’s in the back of the field most of the time, Merritt Scott-Collins is on a learning curve when it comes to her road racing experience.
The 44-year-old Royal Oak resident was racing in the back of the field in her Porsche 914 with the tail-enders during a pair of Improved Touring B sports car races at the Waterford Hills Road Course recently.
However, Scott-Collins had a beaming smile on her face, from ear-to-ear, as she pulled off her helmet and was greeted by her husband, Vaughan Scott, who’s also an active racer at Waterford Hills.
“I’ve been a back marker for other drivers, but I’m more confident by going a little faster each race,” Scott-Collins said. “I’m crawling my way out of the back of the pack. Racing here at Waterford Hills is a very small course that’s a handful and requires a lot of concentration.
“It’s a big learning curve because road racing is harder than it looks. It requires focus, consistency and mental concentration. I’m glad because I was able to finish both races without breaking anything or dam-aging the car. I can look forward to the next race down at Mid-Ohio.”
Racing since 2009, Scott-Collins is employed as a corporate communicator during the week for several auto suppliers. She has been in the car industry for awhile. But when the five-o’clock world comes to an end on Fridays, she seeks thrills as a ‘weekend warrior’ behind the wheel.
“I have always been an adrenaline junky” she said. “I was into bungee jumping, parachuting from planes, parachute sailing towed by a motor boat and yacht racing. Racing a car has come to me at a much slower speed.”
Her husband Vaughan says Merritt is enjoying herself. Although she raced from the back of the. He feels she’s trying to find her groove and her way around the track. Other observers see Scott-Collins improving every lap she drives.
“Merritt seems to be having fun,” he said. “It’s time-consuming and expensive. It’s a cheaper form of racing than most forms, but it’s not cheap.”
“She’s getting better every time she goes out,” said John Marcheone, one of the Track Stewards. “She is progressing really well.”
Her interest in racing didn’t start with her husband, but with her father, the late Michael Collins, who was a Formula Vee (VW powered) driver. Years later Scott-Collins met her husband through some friends during a race weekend.
“I went to his races a handful of times,” she said. “I was in the stands to cheer him on and was even in the pits with him. I started cooking for a friend’s race team on race week-ends around 2000. Through some mutual friends, I met my future husband Scott in 2001. In 2003, we were married.
“The Porsche 924 I’m currently racing was raced by my husband for nine seasons. He set two course records in the Pro Club and ITB Class with the 924 at Mid-Ohio. He won the ITB Championship in 2009 with the car and passed it onto me.”
Scott rebuilt the Porsche for her and she has have been racing it since. Scott-Collins and her husband also thank their sponsors, Munks Motors and 4M Industries, for helping them get funds to keep the car on the track.
“My lap times are improving with a few laps at a time. Some people are quick on how to do things,” Scott-Collins said. “I know how to work things my way. At Waterford Hills, I do it (racing) for fun. I don’t care if I finish in sixth place or last, I’m still out there racing and having a great time.”
Royal Oak resident Merritt Scott-Collins has a passion for racing, something she’s improving at in each and every race she competes in at Waterford Hills. Merritt Scott-Collins passes the time before a race crocheting, a fun plug for one of her sponsors, Ewe-niqueKnits.com.