MUSCATINE, Iowa–Though most people in Muscatine know Scott Schultz for his coaching, both for the Muscatine High School golf teams and at Impact Nutrition and Fitness, he also has a love for the Indianapolis 500 that goes back to childhood. Since 1993, Schultz has participated in his family’s tradition of track observing for the race, a tradition he continued at the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 May 29.
The Schultz family first got into helping at the Indy 500 in 1969, when Scott Schultz’s father, Gene Schultz, first served as a track observer. Scott Schultz remembers accompanying his father to the track as a kid and welcoming the chance to work as a track observer when he grew up. “I had always attended practices and qualifications growing up, he recalled. “When I was eligible to become a track observer in 1993, I jumped at the chance to join the crew.”
A true family passion, many different Schultzes got involved with the Indy 500 at various times. “It became a family affair when my mom, Patsy Schultz, worked in the gift shop, and my older brother, Steve Schultz, has also been a track observer since the mid-1980s,” Scott Schultz shared.
As a track observer, Scott Schultz and 14 others play a vital role in keeping the race as safe as possible for everyone involved. From his post, Scott Schutz monitors a specific section of track, searching for any kind of debris, such as rocks, wires, plastic bags, and tire weights, among other things, and reports them to racing control in case they need to get removed, as even a small object can cause a lot of damage to a car traveling over 200 miles an hour. Additionally, track observers memorize the colors and numbers of the different cars during pre-race practices so that if one gets in an accident or rubs against the wall the can call it in.
Through all of his experiences with track observing, Scott Schultz has come to love going to the Indy 500 more and more. “It’s truly the greatest spectacle in racing, growing up listening to it on the radio, and finally watching your first race and experiencing the pageantry, the traditions, and the pure excitement of the speed and bravery that these drivers take on being part of the racing field,” he shared. “The feeling you get every day when you get to the race track is a feeling I truly can’t explain.”
For Scott Schultz, the time he has spent working with his family and sharing their enjoyment of the Indy 500 have given him his best memories over the years. “The top one would be working the same post at Pit Entrance with my dad for his last year in 2009,” he shared.
In the future, Scott Schultz looks forward to continuing the family practice of track observing, and to even get his son interested in it as well. “I always look forward to making each year a family event with my wife, Autumn, and son, Patrick, joining me for race weekend, and when Patrick is of age, I hope to have him continue within the Schultz tradition of being a track observer.”