Former F1, NASCAR driver has two wins this season so far.
In just one short week, Red Bull Global Rallycross returns to The Dirt Track at Charlotte, July 25-26, and Scott Speed, the defending champion of the event, is looking to pick up where he left off, with another victory.
The Mt. Holly, N.C., resident captured the win last year in front of a hometown crowd after tackling what was considered one of the toughest courses on the circuit.
“It’s a great course because you get to go out of the race track and back into the track again, so it’s quite fun to drive,” said Speed. “Overall it was one of the best events we had last year so definitely looking forward to coming back. Obviously the track is something that worked out well for us and we expect to still be able to be fast again this year.”
While Speed seems like a seasoned rallycross pro, he is still somewhat new to the fast-growing sport. Coming from a diverse racing background, including Formula 1 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Speed was looking to master a new style in 2013 and set his sights on rallycross. His career jumpstarted after he took home a gold medal at the X Games in Brazil during his very first race.
“It all started with an invite to the X Games in Brazil as sort of like a star car. It was supposed to be switched between a lot of different guys throughout the year,” said Speed. “That was my first race in rallycross. When we ended up winning the X Games we were able to put together a program throughout the whole year.”
Speed ran the entire Global Rallycross season, racking up two wins in nine starts, including his victory at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The successful season landed him a 2014 ride with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, a prestigious team that also fields a car for Tanner Foust.
So far, 2014 has proved to be just as big for the sophomore. He kicked off the season with a win in May in Barbados and followed it up with another victory at the X Games in Austin – something that was definitely worth celebrating.
“That was unbelievable. For us it was two wins in a row this year and obviously the X Games is one of our marquee events,” said Speed. “It’s a part of our championship, but is still sort of a one-off race that normally brings a bit of a different crowd and it’s super competitive. It was a really good moment for our team and for Volkswagen. For all of us to kind of come together this year and be so successful right away, it’s really been a special year so far.”
With one race standing in the way before Global Rallycross comes to Charlotte, Speed currently holds just a one-point lead over Nelson Piquet Jr., a former NASCAR driver and a fellow resident of the Queen City. Speed considers Piquet to be his biggest competition this year along with Finnish driver Joni Wiman.
“They are in really good equipment and Nelson has a similar motor racing background as me,” explained Speed. “He’s raced a lot of things and that experience is what I think is our biggest advantage over the competition here between us. Having raced overseas, having raced F1, growing up in motor racing our whole lives, that’s a big advantage when you go to a series like this."
Other than going for his second win at The Dirt Track, there is one reason Speed is looking forward to the return to Charlotte.
“The biggest thing is that it’s local. All my family and friends don’t have to travel to see me race,” explained Speed. “I get a lot of friends that are able to come watch that normally aren’t able to see me compete in Global Rallycross. That’s probably the best part of the weekend.”
Charlotte Motor Speedway