Hott's Having Another Ripe Run
Southside Speedway Has Been Second Home To Lifelong Race Fan
BY FRED JETER
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Published Friday, June 15, 2007

FRIDAY - JUNE 15, 2007
SOUTHSIDE SPEEDWAY
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Working at his family's produce stand, Chris Hott spent much of his childhood sitting along Route 301, munching cantaloupe, dreaming big dreams and watching cars whoosh by.

Now, he's the one stirring up the breeze.

The former Hanover County farm boy already has harvested one Southside Speedway title, and he's laying the seeds for a second.

"I've been a race fan forever," said Hott, 36. "But I never thought it was possible I'd be out there . . . just one of those things. It became a reality."

In his seventh racing season at Southside's one-third mile asphalt oval, Hott has one of the hottest set of wheels in the Grand Stock Division.

The Mechanicsville resident was track champion in 2006. He is second in points this season while driving builder Reno Marchetti's No. 1, baby-blue '85 Buick Regal. Brian Myslivy leads with 1,380 points to Hott's 1,300.

There wasn't much time for fun and games when Hott - now a burly 250-pounder - was a kid.

"I was too good at working to play sports," he said.

By age 7, he was working on the farm (owned by his uncles) and hauling melons, tomatoes and squash to the roadside store. That was family life, and he's not complaining.

Waiting for customers, there was ample time to let the imagination run wild. Much of those thoughts centered on high speed, left turns.

Hott had racing in his bones. He inherited the racing gene from his dad, Cary (who ran at Saluda), and he kept waiting for a chance to show what he could do.

Opportunity came knocking when he got married (wife Pam) and his brother-in-law, Fred Vaught, was in the mood for a little adventure.

"Fred told me he was thinking of buying either a motorcycle, a boat or a race car," Hott said. "I kind of talked him into the car."

Ever since, every Friday night from April through September is booked for racing on Genito Road.

Hott raced Vaught's car two years and supplied his own ride three more with modest success.

You might say his ship came in once he shook hands with the resourceful Marquetti of Stock Car Products in Sandston.

"With Reno, I've got the best of everything," Hott said. "He takes care of everything. His cars have won our division five of the last eight years."

A year ago, Hott tallied 622 points to beat Ron Hester (592). Hester also drives a Marquetti-owned racer.

It's a small world at Southside. Two of Hott's other rivals are Bradley and Brandon Vaught - the sons of Fred Vaught. Bradley was sixth and Brandon seventh last year.

The weekly Grand Stock winning purse is $225, which barely covers expenses. It's not financial gain that inspires Hott to speed up to 90 mph on a strip not much bigger around than a football field.

"There's nothing like it," Hott said. "Hard to explain, but once you do it, there's no going back."

Contact Fred Jeter at (804) 739-2219 or fjeter@timesdispatch.com.