ESR/Red Bull Team season review

No. 2 Red Bull Team -- 2008 Review DENVER, N.C. (November 6, 2008) -- The final image of the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota for the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX season was that of charred defeated wreckage -- nothing representative of the successful year had ...

No. 2 Red Bull Team -- 2008 Review

DENVER, N.C. (November 6, 2008) -- The final image of the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota for the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX season was that of charred defeated wreckage -- nothing representative of the successful year had by Scott Speed and his Eddie Sharp Racing team. From Daytona to the dirt, and Canada to the return of racing at Rockingham, the No. 2 Red Bull team unloaded solid each and every week, collecting 17 Top 10's, ten Top 5's, three pole positions, and four wins. The 2008 season was full of excitement and fun both on and off the track.

Here's a little 2008 review...

Kickin' it off in style...Speed turned heads at Daytona International Speedway both on track and off. Sporting bleach blonde hair and white shades, Speed started exactly where you want to at Daytona International Speedway, on the front row with no one in front of him. The No. 2 was in a league of its own, leading nearly every one of the laps before coming to the pits during a caution on lap 24. Shortly after the race resumed, the notorious "Big One" occurred, collecting Speed and the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota, ending the day in only 29 laps. Speed left Daytona 39th in the point standings.

Nine weeks of down-time? NEVER! Between the season opener at DIS and the return to Salem Speedway, the No. 2 Red Bull team tested and tested and tested! Well, that was when the weather would let them. It rained at Kentucky, it rained at Salem, finally tested at Iowa, and no-go at Kansas Speedway. Why? You guessed it, rain!

Finally back on track, Speed wheeled the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota around the Salem Speedway like a seasoned veteran. Speed backed his superspeedway qualifying results with a short track start in the fifth position. Despite freezing temperatures and the rain-delayed start of the race, Speed effortlessly hit his marks, led eight of the 200 laps, and crossed the finish line in the fifth place, leaping him to 12th in the points.

MOVED INTO TOP-10! Speed again showed that consistency and patience does indeed pay off in the end in the Prairie Meadows 250 at Iowa Speedway. Under dreary skies, the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota started on the outside pole for the event. Running a solid race and leading 28 laps, Speed took the checkered flag in the 6th position broke into the top-10 in ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship points.

FIRST WIN! At Kansas Speedway, Speed and the No. 2 team notched their first win in only four 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts. Speed effortlessly led the first lap and the last lap of the Kansas Lottery $150 Grand, but the 98 laps in between were anything but easy. The team endured being black flagged for a window net down, going a lap down, charging for the lucky dog, and executed a series of kickass restarts. Speed grabbed Red Bull its first stock car win and moved into the fourth position in the championship point standings.

Returning to the Rock and the sight of owner Eddie Sharp's glory days...Restored to its former glory, stock car racing returned to the famous Rockingham Speedway this year when the track was purchased by former ARCA Champion Andy Hillenburg. Team owner Eddie Sharp is old friends with the legendary track. In February 1993, Sharp made his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start in the Goodwrench 200.

Unfortunately, Speed's first race at the high-banked Rockingham Speedway was short and not-so-sweet. The No. 2 Red Bull Toyota was collected in a multi-car incident on lap 10 of the inaugural Carolina 500. Eddie Sharp Racing's Red Bull crew worked relentlessly on the wounded Camry for over 100 laps and returned it to the track for a 35th place finish.

Another caution!? Seriously! Who can forget the first Kentucky race? Some things just are not meant to be, and Scott Speed and the Red Bull team were not meant to be in Victory Lane at Kentucky Speedway in May. Speed dominated the race, leading more laps than any other driver and earning him the Aaron's Lap Leader award for the caution-extended 168-mile Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150. With restarts plagued caution after caution, missing a gear and running on fumes, the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota was in the second late-race restart. Unable to regain the lead in the final one-lap dash, Speed finished the night in the second position.

What the hail? Next it was off to the Buckeye State this weekend for the Hantz Group 200 at Toledo Speedway where the Red Bull team endured wind, rain, and hail before taking the checkered flag in the sixth position. In typical short-track fashion, there was a lot of beating, banging and flared tempers. Speed walked away smiling and the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota was loaded back onto the transporter with minor damage and a solid top-10 finish.

FIRST POLE POSITION! Speed and the No. 2 Red Bull team earned nearly every accolade at Pocono Speedway in June. Speed sat at the top of the practice speed chart, earned the SIM Factory Pole Award by blowing the competition away with a 53.862 second qualifying lap, the Aaron's Lap Leader of the Race for leading the most laps and charged from 25th to a second place finish in the final laps of the Pocono 200. Oh, yes, and in between all of that, Speed jetted to Texas Motor Speedway and back to run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race. Just another weekend in the life of one of stock car racing's rising stars.

TWO IN A ROW... With a flawless qualifying effort, the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota started on the pole at Michigan International Speedway, becoming the first repeat SIM Factory Pole award winner for 2008. The 100-lap event was postponed until Saturday morning due to rain Friday afternoon. Struggling with a tight condition, Speed wrestled the Red Bull Toyota home in the fourth position. Despite the disappointing finish, Speed and his Eddie Sharp Racing team climbed to second in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship points, only 95 points out of the top spot.

Can we say FIVE laps down?! Speed took an early spin on the back stretch of the Cayuga Motor Speedway and lost five laps while the tow truck pulled the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota out of the mud. Speed regained his lost ground over the course of the remaining 207 laps and finished the Cayuga ARCA 250 in the eighth position and earning his eighth Top-10 of the season!

Dejà Vu? Almost but not quite! Gambling with pit strategy and fuel mileage, the bet paid off at Kentucky Speedway in July. With the caution flag coming out on the last lap and sending the event into overtime, the team held their heads in their hands remembering the dramatic May race. This time, when the fat lady sang, the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota rolled into Kentucky Speedway's Victory Lane for the team's second win of the 2008 season.

Back to Back WINS!! Speed made his first visit to Berlin Raceway, and stepped up to the challenge of the 7/16-mile track for the win under the lights. The former-F1 driver, found his rhythm, took the lead at lap 153 and led the final 48 laps to the take the checkered flag in the Berlin ARCA 200.

Top Dog in Points... Sweeping the pole positions at Pocono Raceway in 2008, Speed battled for the win in the final laps of the Pennsylvania 200 in August. Speed took the checkered flag in the second position but left the 2.5-mile triangular speedway with the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship points lead!

Great Scott! That's FOUR! Just four laps from the checkered flag in the Toyota 150, Scott Speed grabbed the lead at Nashville Speedway. Following a last lap caution and one-lap race to the finish, Speed rolled to the checkered flag and was strumming the famous Sam Bass Gibson Guitar in Victory Lane, rocking out in his fourth career win.

Speed and the Red Bull team got down and dirty in the late summer heat at Illinois State Fairgrounds and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. Speed endured frustrating races on the unfamiliar surface and finished in a very respectable eighth-place at both events.

Sweet home Chicago... Speed found himself trapped a lap down in the Chicagoland ARCA 200 due to an ill-timed late-race caution. Immediately following their green-flag pit stop the No. 2 Red Bull team was scored one lap behind the leader when the caution came only two laps later. With a stellar restart in typical Scott Speed fashion, the No. 2 was able to jump past the leader and return to the tail end of the lead lap cars when the caution came again. In a mad green-white-checkered dash, Speed charged from sixth to a third-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway.

Survival-mode in Salem...Speed and the No. 2 Red Bull team packed up and left Salem, Indiana exhausted, with a heavily damaged Toyota Camry, an eighth-place finish and retaining the lead in the Championship point standings.

Rain, rain go away... The No. 2 Red Bull team had very high hopes and expectations of success as the ARCA RE/MAX Series returned to road course racing at New Jersey Motorsports Park. A pit road penalty and early checkered flag due to anticipated inclement weather were both costly and forced the team to take an eighth-place finish.

2008 Speedway Challenge Title!!! The No. 2 team has endured the trials and tribulations of Talladega Superspeedway for two consecutive years. This year the team worked quickly to get the Red Bull Toyota back on track after a blown right rear tire. Speed returned to the speedway and finished in the 23rd position. The Eddie Sharp-owned No. 2 Toyota Camry clinched the 2008 Speedway Challenge title.

Holy Toledo! Scott Speed and his No. 2 Red Bull team took the green flag leading the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship point standings. Short track tempers flared and 34 laps later, the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota sat in flames against the inside wall between turns 1 and 2, dashing the hope of championship dreams.

Toledo marked only the fourth race this season that Speed and the No. 2 Red Bull team finished outside of the top-10. The team and rookie driver finished the 2008 season with some very impressive statistics. The No. 2 Toyota started in the top-10 in 19 of 21 races, with 12 of those starts in the top-5. Speed claimed three SIM Factory Pole awards. The No. 2 finished in the top-10 in 17 of 21 races, recording ten top-5 finishes. Speed and his Red Bull team visited victory lane four times.

The No. 2 Eddie Sharp Racing team is already hunkered down, preparing for the quickly approaching 2009 season while Speed is continuing his career behind the wheel of the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

What lies ahead for the No. 2 team? Well, stayed tuned! This talented group of guys led by 2008 Cometic Crew Chief of the Year Patrick Donahue challenged for the championship for two consecutive seasons. Look for them to come out of the gates, ready to charge in 2009!

-credit: www.teamesr.com

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Series ARCA
Drivers Andy Hillenburg , Scott Speed