Brett Westcott has been racing his Nissan Sentra SE-R for six years in NASA Central’s PTE class. The Nissan is the same car he helped his dad repair before driving it to high school and college as well as the only car he’s ever raced. He holds multiple track records and has won the Central Region PTE championship four of the last five years. He also has stood on the podium in three out of four trips to the NASA Championships, finishing third at Miller Motorsports Park, and second at VIR and Watkins Glen. He lives in Bellevue, Nebraska, and enjoys cycling and sim racing when he isn’t thinking of ways to make Sentras go faster, or working as race director for NASA Central.
Q: You’re one of the original members of NASA Central. Can you describe the evolution of the Central Region during the time you’ve been racing?
A: In just a few short years, we’ve grown from a handful of events with modest car counts to multiple events with over 100 cars, a thriving HPDE program, and multiple national champions. Right now we have some of the largest PTE fields in the country, which makes for great racing and good fun week after week, while also working on growing new classes like NP01.
Q: Your location allows you to branch out and compete in other regions. Do you have any favorite destination tracks or any particular regions you like to visit?
A: At around a seven-hour drive, Hallett is always a great place, and the Summer Shootout is an absolute must-attend each year. I’m fortunate that my dad is super supportive and likes going to most of the races, so together we’ve been able to make the tow to iconic places like Road Atlanta, VIR, and Watkins Glen for the Eastern States Championships the last few years. Those are some really amazing tracks and memories that I’ll hold onto, and winning my first qualifying race — in the rain! — at VIR on the way to finishing second was nothing short of spectacular.
Q: It looks like your car broke a couple of times in 2016 and you took home some wins, too. How was the 2016 season for you, overall?
A: Our first event had a field of 13 PTE cars on a roval with an infield section that gave the Miatas running aero a bit of an advantage and the last two corners, and front straight of the oval the gave my car a chance to stretch it’s legs. Long story short, I got ahead early only to be reeled in by the Miatas in the infield. Later, through some unfortunate contact, I found the tire wall, which led to retirement that day and control arm failure the next day.
After replacing some control arms and starting over on setup between events the car was better than ever and I was able to carry that momentum to multiple race wins, second place at the ESC at Watkins Glen, and a regional championship with a couple of track records along the way. Overall, I’m happy with how the season turned out.
Q: You race a unique car in Performance Touring E. What are the challenges of campaigning a Nissan Sentra SE-R in a class populated primarily by Mazda Miatas?
A: Corner speed! Mazda has done a fantastic job building a car that does just about everything well in the Miata. The Sentra is basically an econobox that Nissan shoved a decent engine in and said, “Go have fun!” It’s been a struggle to get my car to handle on the same level as the Miatas, but in exchange, I get a bit more power to try to make up what I lose in the corners down the straights. I enjoy the give and take of racing different platforms in the same class and believe that is one of the things that makes the Performance Touring classes great.