DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Nov. 1, 2002) -- Located in the infield near Turn 4 at Daytona International Speedway, guests at the Brumos Continental Historics will find NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Lake Speed tooling around with his No. 83 Ford Thunderbird.
Speed, who last competed in a Winston Cup car back in 1998, is visiting the "World of Center of Racing" this weekend to compete in a pair of Historic Stock Car Feature races.
The 54-year-old Speed, a native of Jackson, Miss., who now resides in North Carolina, is retired from racing, but remains very active by spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
He's also involved in the real estate business and is currently the chairman of the board for Motor Racing Outreach. But Speed still misses the feeling of driving a race car.
"Full-time basis now with 38 weekends, I don't miss that part, but I really miss driving a car," said Speed, who made 402 Winston Cup starts. "It's been really hard. I started racing when I was 12 years old. I raced non-stop every season until halfway through 1998 when I got hurt. I haven't been able to race since and that was tough. It was a big life change."
Earlier this year, one of Speed's friends twisted his arm and convinced him to compete in one of the Historic Stock Car Racing Association events at Phoenix International Raceway. That was the first time Speed has gotten behind the wheel since he drove his last Winston Cup race at Loudon, N.H., in 1998.
Speed had so much fun that he decided to knock the dust off one of the stock cars he still owns and come to Daytona. He visited some Winston Cup auctions to pick up some equipment and another friend built him a motor.
This weekend at Daytona, Speed won't be competing on just the 2.5-mile tri-oval like he did during his Winston Cup career as the Historic Stock Car Feature races utilize the 3.56-mile road course.
"It's different," Speed said. "I had to back up because I raced go-karts here twice on the road course. I had an idea where it went. I had to knock the dust off the cobwebs."
Speed has experienced success at Daytona, finishing second to Bill Elliott in the 1985 Daytona 500.
"I had the whole field lapped except Bill," Speed recalled.
Speed's other big moment in NASCAR came at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway when he picked up his only Winston Cup victory in the 1988 spring race. He's glad his first and only win came at the "Track Too Tough To Tame."
"There were several times at Darlington that a win got away," Speed said. "I only got Darlington once. I think the credibility that goes along there. Most any driver will tell you it's a driver's race track. From a driver's standpoint, if you win there, that's a good place to win. There's other tracks that you know that a bigger percentage of it is just the car and motor, but at Darlington, you got to have your driving hands on that day."
In Friday's action in the Brumos Continental Historic races, Duncan Dayton, wheeling a 1972 Cevron B-23, 2000, picked up the victory in the 2 Litre Shootout and Kevin Wheeler in a 1972 Porsche 914 claimed the win in the Klub Sport Porsche Challenge.
The Brumos Continental Historics continues this weekend. Tickets are available by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.
2 Litre Shootout: 1. Duncan Dayton, 1972 Chevron B-23, 2000; 2. Bill Hart, 1978 Chevron, B-36, 2000; 3. Howard Cherry, 1970 Chevron B-21, 2000.
Klub Sport Porsche Challenge: 1. Kevin Wheeler, 1972 Porsche 914; 2. Terry Wolters, 1970 Porsche; 3. Hurley Haywood, 1970 Porsche 914.