Speed Finishes Fourth at MIS; Climbs to 2nd in Series Point Standings Brooklyn, Mich. (June 14, 2008) -- Scott Speed and his Red Bull team travelled to the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend for the Race for Wildlife 200. With a flawless ...
Speed Finishes Fourth at MIS; Climbs to 2nd in Series Point Standings
Brooklyn, Mich. (June 14, 2008) -- Scott Speed and his Red Bull team travelled to the Irish Hills of Michigan this weekend for the Race for Wildlife 200. 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. 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.
[IMAGE]"There was definitely something wrong today that we just couldn't fix," said Speed following the race. "Hoosier changed the tires on us after qualifying, so I don't know if that was the issue or not. Something just did not agree with our Red Bull Toyota today. We were the best car out there, for the first five laps, that is. On a restart with fresh tires, we could jump out and dominate. After that, we fell off and did everything we could to stay in the top 5. I know my team worked hard to try to fix the problem but it still was very disappointing."
Speed qualified the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota in the pole position with a 38.895 second lap on Thursday afternoon. Teams returned to the track Friday afternoon for the 5:15 p.m. race. Ominous skies threatened the day's events, and when the rain finally arrived, it resulted in the race's postponement until Saturday morning.
The Race for Wildlife 200 started under clear blue skies at 8:30 a.m. Speed immediately jumped out front and led the field for the first 14 laps before relinquishing the lead to the No. 15 of Brian Scott. Speed reported to the team that the car was "incredibly tight all around" and that "it's getting worse and worse with each lap."
When the first caution of the day came on lap 21, Speed was running in the fourth position. The No. 2 Red Bull Toyota came down pit road for four tires, fuel, and track bar and air pressure adjustments.
On the restart, Speed immediately climbed to the second position. He was fast and ready to challenge the leader when the car's condition tightened again. Speed slipped to third behind leader Sean Caisse in the No. 01 and Scott. Speed struggled to keep the car from climbing up the track, losing additional track positions. When the second caution of the day came out on lap 59, Speed was in the fourth position.
Speed radioed his team prior to pit lane being opened by ARCA officials, "the car is definitely worse after that last stop. I don't know, maybe we went the wrong way with that change on the last stop. But it definitely did not help it at all. It is even tighter now."
Crew Chief Patrick Donahue made the call to put on two scuff tires on the left side and two sticker tires on the right side of the Camry when Speed came to pit road. The team also went down with air pressures and added a half rubber in the right rear spring. Speed restarted in the fourth position on lap 63.
The day's final caution came one lap later, on lap 64. Speed reported to his team that "the 01 [Caisse] is incredibly loose out here. He's coming off the corner almost in a drift. We're just so tight, I don't understand." Speed added, "It definitely feels better compared to that first change that we made, but it's still really right."
The race restarted on lap 66. Speed went three-wide with the No. 20 of Eddie Sharp Racing teammate Justin Lofton and the No. 99 of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. as they battled for positions 2 through 4. With 25 laps to go, Speed was in second place behind the No. 01. Lofton chased Speed down lap after lap. Speed was unable to hold the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota low on the track, lost momentum and slipped back to finish the race in the fourth position.
"We had something strange happen today," said Speed. "We had the field covered by quite a lot, and it seemed that no matter what we changed in the car during the race we couldn't fix the problem the tight condition. So, I don't have an answer yet, but we'll figure out what happened there and move on to our next race"
Despite the frustrating morning, Scott Speed jumped to second in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship point standings, only 95 points behind leader Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
Next Stop: Speed and the Red Bull crew enjoy an off-weekend before traveling across the border to Nelles Corners, Ontario (Canada) for the Cayuga ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Cayuga Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 29th.