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May 4, 2004

Hearing-Impaired Driver Seeks 4th East Bay Title

From: Tampa Tribune, FL - May 4, 2004

Tribune correspondent
Published: May 4, 2004

Scotty Williams developed his interest in racing while watching and helping his father, Wayne, compete as a driver and owner at area short tracks.

When Williams began his career in the Mini Stock division at East Bay Raceway Park in 1998, he faced different challenges than his dad. He has been hearing impaired since birth and cannot hear the other cars racing around him.

Like many sensory-challenged individuals, Williams, 32, seemingly has acutely developed his other senses to compensate for his lack of hearing. He credits great peripheral vision and an innate feel for the car as major factors in his success as a driver.

Brother Wayne Ed, also hearing impaired and a part- time driver, helps Williams during races by standing in strategic locations around the track and hand-signing him about the location and actions of his competitors.

Williams expects and receives no special considerations from his fellow drivers. ''They treat me fairly on the track just like they do any other driver and that's the way I want it,'' he said.

Other drivers in the Mini Stock division respect Williams for his skill, determination and willingness to help others.

Chad Rose, 2003 East Bay Mini Stock champion, said, ''When I started racing, he was the guy I went to for help on car setups. He has always been helpful to me and always gives honest answers to your questions.''

''He's a great competitor. He knows a lot about the motors. He can't hear them, but he can sure tune them,'' driver Richard Livernois said. ''He's a pretty clean driver but he'll put the bumper to you when he has to. He works hard on his cars and he's definitely earning his wins,''

Williams' efforts have been rewarded. Since winning his first Mini Stock feature event in 1990, Williams has recorded more than 50 career victories and is a three-time track champion at East Bay.

This season he is the hottest driver at the track, winning six of eight starts, and is the division's points leader. ''I'm really focused on winning races and becoming champion again this year,'' he said. ''I think we have a good shot to win it.''

As for future plans, the congenial Williams said, ''I hope to someday race dirt Late Models and race all over Florida. I'll race just about anything if I get the chance.''

EAST BAY: In addition to the regular racing divisions, fans will be treated Saturday night to a Fan Participation Race. Fans take their street cars from the parking lot onto the one- third-mile clay oval for a series of one-on-one elimination races until a winner is determined. Thirty or more entries are expected to take the challenge.

SUNSHINE: A reverse direction race for safety-enhanced Demolition Derby type cars will be held on the quarter- mile asphalt oval. Rides for kids are available with their favorite drivers before the races.

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