FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING Go-karts. Formula cars. Stock cars. And now sports cars for Scott Speed. Driver No. 82 turned his first laps in a Daytona Prototype on Monday in preparation for his Grand Am Rolex Series debut on Saturday. Speed, along...
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Go-karts. Formula cars. Stock cars. And now sports cars for Scott Speed.
Driver No. 82 turned his first laps in a Daytona Prototype on Monday in preparation for his Grand Am Rolex Series debut on Saturday. Speed, along with co-pilot and fellow Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch, took to the 10-turn, 1.87-mile Putnam Park Road Course in Mount Meridian, Ind., for a crash course in the art of Grand Am racing.
The two friends will drive the No. 02 Waste Management-sponsored Lexus Riley fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona. They'll complement the team's primary entry driven by defending Grand Am champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, who's a Red Bull athlete.
"Driving a road course is one thing," Speed said "But driving a car that has got downforce, you attack the corners differently, and it requires a totally different driving style which falls right into my lap. That's how I've driven cars my whole life. So it's certainly a lot easier for me to get used to this type of car."
Ganassi DPs have won the famed Rolex 24 three consecutive times, three team championships and Pruett and Rojas are coming off back-to-back victories.
"We'll go there to win for sure," Speed said. "I think that it's going to be tough for us. We've got a lack of experience doing this stuff, but hopefully we'll be competitive to where we can challenge for the win."
The one-off in Grand Am is an extension of "Team BS" - a recreational RC car team Busch and Speed (hence the BS) recently formed. With backing from Waste Management, they've been competing for quite some time now and even have limited swag.
"It's Team BS in its full form, in a real race car and not at an RC track," Speed said. "I'm just one of those lucky guys that meets the coolest people to work with. It's a great opportunity. With as much downforce as these cars have and as light as they are, I'd say they're more like an open-wheel car than a NASCAR stock car. Kind of like a happy medium, I guess."
RBRT: REVIEW AND PREVIEW
Reviewing Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
No. 82: Scott Speed was on target for a top-20 finish in his first trip to New Hampshire before his No. 82 Red Bull Toyota was sent spinning in turn one on lap 190. The damage was too much, and Speed's car got a lift to the garage. He finished 36th, and the No. 82 sits 36th in the car owner standings - 155 points from the top 35.
No. 83: Brian Vickers' No. 83 Red Bull Toyota was one of eight cars involved in an accident entering turn one on lap 175. Vickers had nowhere to go - except to the infield care center while his crew went to work in the garage. Vickers returned to the track but retired in 35th after 190 laps. Vickers remained 17th in the driver standings (197 points out of the Chase).
Previewing Saturday night's race at Daytona International Speedway:
No. 82: Speed, a Sprint Cup rookie, has one start in a NASCAR points race at Daytona. In February's Daytona 500, he finished 35th after the No. 82 team pitted twice to fix damage sustained in an accident on lap 124.
No. 83: Brian Vickers was the main victim in the aforementioned Daytona 500 crash, finishing 39th. He has two top 10s at Daytona - a ninth-place finish in July 2004 and a seventh in the 2006 Daytona 500.
TWO NIGHTS OF DRAFTING
Brian Vickers will get a double dose of drafting this weekend when he drives Braun Racing's No. 32 Toyota in Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Daytona.
The Subway Jalapeno 250 will be Vickers' 10th Nationwide start at the 2.5-mile track, and had it not been for mechanical gremlins and crashes that have led to four DNFs he'd be far ahead of his two top-five and four top-10 finishes. Vickers finished 37th in this race last season and followed up with a sixth-place showing the 2009 opener.
This season, the 25-year-old Vickers owns three top fives and six top 10s with a best finish of third at Las Vegas.