Toledo: Scott Speed race report

Through Sun and Storms Speed Steers to Sixth at Toledo Speedway TOLEDO, Ohio (May 18, 2008) -- Scott Speed and the Red Bull team traveled to the Buckeye State this weekend for the Hantz Group 200 at Toledo Speedway where they endured wind, ...

Through Sun and Storms Speed Steers to Sixth at Toledo Speedway

TOLEDO, Ohio (May 18, 2008) -- Scott Speed and the Red Bull team traveled to the Buckeye State this weekend for the Hantz Group 200 at Toledo Speedway where they 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.

"We had a good race today," said Speed. "I was putting the car in places where it shouldn't have gone. Slugger [Labbe] did a great job spotting and Patrick [Donahue] did a great job making adjustments on the car to free it up during the race. We had a chance to win the race until some late-race contact dramatically changed the car's handling. After that we just held on to finish as best as we could."

Speed qualified the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota in the fourth position with a 16.165 second lap on Saturday afternoon. Temperatures dropped dramatically on Sunday. The first of the day's showers sprinkled the crowd and crews during the driver autograph session. The race went green on schedule at 2:00 p.m.

Speed quickly moved through the field, taking the lead on lap eight.

The first caution of the day came at lap 11. Speed reported that his No. 2 Red Bull Toyota was "very very tight. Really tight." Speed remained on track and continued to lead the race.

As the tires wore down and the third caution waved on lap 36, Speed radioed to the team that the handling of the Camry changed to "loose entering and in the middle of the turns." At this time the conversation between Donahue and Labbe turned to the rear bumper bar that was hanging from Speed's Toyota. Labbe reported that ARCA was not black-flagging the No. 2 car yet, but that "they told us to have a plan in place to take care of it [the bumper bar]."

Not wanting to be told to come down under the green flag, Donahue radioed Speed to come to the pit on lap 41. The Red Bull crew hopped over the wall and pulled the hanging bumper bar from the No. 2 Toyota. They also removed two strips of tape from the grill and made a track bar adjustment. Speed returned to the track in the 26th position.

Executing confident and veteran-like passes, the SunTrust Rookie of the Year candidate moved into the 15th position by lap 60. Under the lap 65 caution, Speed came down pit road for fresh tires and fuel. Under the next caution at lap 76, Speed, Donahue, and Labbe chatted comically about the race to that point. In typical short-track fashion, Labbe was on the radio non-stop talking his driver through traffic in some very exciting racing.

"That's going to make for some very exciting TV," Crew Chief Patrick Donahue commented on the team radio. "I have a dry mouth down here. How about you, Slugger?"

Labbe replied, "I've already gone through two bottles of water up here [in the spotter's stand]."

Speed added that "the most exciting thing I've done so far was passing Frank [Kimmel] legitimately because he is my hero! I was thinking, YEAH as I went by him!"

The teams returned to green flag racing for 25 more laps when the rain started to fall. At lap 105, the yellow flag was brought out for rain. Shortly following, the red flag was displayed and the cars brought to a halt on the field between turns three and four. Speed was in the fifth position.

Crew members scrambled to the cars to cover them and retrieve their drivers. Once the rain stopped, drivers returned to their cars and drove them to pit road, where the vehicles were parked for the nearly two hours. Between showers, the ARCA RE/MAX Series crews worked to dry the track.

At 4:45 p.m. drivers were requested to restart their engines and the cars returned to the track to run under the caution flag. The race restarted following 25 laps under the yellow flag and with 69 laps remaining in the 200-lap event.

Speed moved to the third position and held it until lap 190. Following the pass by the No. 60 of Patrick Sheltra, Speed radioed that he felt a "tire going down. The right front I think."

Labbe confirmed that the tire did not appear to be rubbing. Donahue radioed to his driver to hang in as pitting wasn't an option due to the end of the race nearing. Speed replied with a chuckle, "I wasn't suggesting we pit. I was just telling you what the car was doing. And to show you I wasn't sleeping out here."

Speed slid back to the sixth position. The final caution of the day came at lap 199, and the race concluded following a green, white, checkered finish.

"We had a solid race all day," said Speed. "Those last laps we had the front end grip go away dramatically after a little rubbing while we were being passed by the 60 and the 39. Patrick and Slugger did a great job today and my guys brought me here with a strong car. It'll be fun to come back here in October."

Speed retained his sixth-place position in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship point standings, 115 points behind leader Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Next Stop: The ARCA RE/MAX Series teams have the next two weekends off from racing and return to competition at Pocono Raceway. The Pocono 200 takes place on Saturday, June 7, 2008. The event will air same day time-delayed on SPEED at 10:00 p.m.

-credit: esr

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Scott Speed , Patrick Sheltra