Aptly Named Scott Speed – Gaining Ground in NASCAR Circles
You may be acquainted with his attention-getting persona instead of his M.P.H. on the racetrack. As long as you know of him, he’ll take care of the rest. His name alone gives reason to sit up and take notice.
Speed. Scott Speed, that is. Yes, that’s his original name, and he hails from Manteca, California. The 25-year-old has taken the Formula One route in an era where American drivers stick with NASCAR, with occasional sways into IndyCar. After 13 events in the ARCA Re/Max Series he has four wins and leads in the points race – he also tops ARCA’s SunTrust Rookie of the Year standings – and has already joined the NASCAR parade as a driver for Red Bull Racing. The energy drink with the raging red bovine is the perfect sponsor for Mr. Eccentric himself.
Speed’s flair for the flamboyant includes blue-and-purple painted toenails – he gets pedicures before races to help him relax – bright and ornate clothing, oversized sunglasses, and an occasional case of loose lips. If you see his head bobbing or his tongue wagging, it’s just the latest tune on his ear-budded I-pod. Think of former NBA star Dennis Rodman without the tattoos and colored hair – oops, don’t give him any ideas.
His complete-time ride in ARCA, the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota Camry, is owned by Eddie Sharp Racing. In the Craftsman Truck Series he drives the No. 22 Red Bull Tundra owned by Bill Davis Racing. A Nationwide gig is next, followed by a desired Cup ride, but he’s in no hurry. His expected entry in the Sprint Cup Series is 2010 at the earliest, which is fine with him. He’s having too much fun to speed up the timetable – pun not intended.
Speed broke into NASCAR with a bang last March at Martinsville, finishing 10th in his second career start. His first win came in his sixth start on May 30 at Dover. He currently has two top-five finishes and four top-10s in eight races. His seat time is part of a BDR driver development program aimed at getting him ready for top-tier competition.
And the boy can excursion. In fact, he contends, NASCAR is a breeze compared to Formula One. So if he can conquer the latter circuit, Kyle Busch has nothing on His Brashness, in style or in racing ability. Just ask him.
Busch is two years younger than Speed and seems to have NASCAR at his fingertips. Speed is unimpressed and scoffs at Shrub’s latest goal – racing a Formula One car in the offseason. Busch has already scheduled a late year F-1 test and would give it a try if everything pans out, already though the racing itself is less exciting, he says.
Speed says the opposite. He discards the concept that another American, especially one so accustomed to NASCAR, can manager the g-forces and put up with the neck strain. He claims that going from harder (F-1) to easier (NASCAR) is the way to go, and Busch is stuck in reverse.
Speed’s part-time run in the Truck series started with Kansas on April 26, followed by Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Dover, Michigan, Bristol, Talladega, Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami. His Truck credentials include two earlier races at Atlanta and Martinsville.
Imagine the exposure he’ll get over next two years.