Scott Speed, now driving the No. 46 Red Line Oil Ford for Whitney Motor Sports, is back at the track after being losing his Red Bull ride to Kasey Kahne last year.
[media-credit id=62 align=”alignright” width=”216″][/media-credit]Yet in spite of being back in the competition fray, the 28 year old former Formula 1 driver seems unfazed, still maintaining his laid back, mellow persona, at least in every way but one.
Speed definitely is laid back as far as being at the track. Yet he has also missed much when he was away, more than he even realized.
“It feels great to be back here,” Speed said. “It certainly gives us something to do on the weekends.”
“I have a lot of friends out here,” Speed continued. “I forgot how many actually.”
“There are a lot of people here and I know a lot of them,” Speed said. “And to be back in sort of a routine that’s normal for me is for sure nice.”
Speed is back in the race saddle thanks to a thirteen race Cup deal with Whitney Motorsports, driving for owner Dusty Whitney.
“I really like Dusty and his guys,” Speed said. “They work really hard with the little amount they have.”
“There’s a lot of passion over here and I love how tight a group we are,” Speed continued “We’re the underdogs and I love it.”
“We’re going to run a couple more full races and start and park the rest,” Speed said. “We’ll just keep trying to build it.”
“We have so little people, and help and money,” Speed said. “We’re just trying to make it by in this tough economy.”
For Speed, getting back behind the wheel of a stock car proved easier than he had anticipated. And as usual, Speed approached getting back at it with his typical laid back style.
“I felt like I might be a little rusty, but we were still pretty quick right away,” Speed said. “It’s one of those things where I don’t think you forget.”
Did Speed learn any lessons on his hiatus away from the track?
“You learn a little bit every day,” Speed said. “Nothing really sticks out that I can recall. I don’t take anything for granted but then again I never have.”
Speed has, however been keeping himself occupied throughout his time away by pursuing one of his primary passions, golf, as well as picking up a new hobby or two.
“I’m still golfing and still getting better,” Speed said “And I’ve been cycling a lot.”
“Me and Josh Wise have been riding our bikes around Charlotte,” Speed continued. “Just staying fit and staying busy.”
Speed is also doing some mentoring of his own, taking fellow up and comer Josh Wise under his wing. Wise made his second Cup start at Loudon behind the wheel of the No. 37 Front Row Motorsports Ford.
“He’s doing good,” Speed said of Wise. “We’re good buddies. We’re kind of teammates at the moment. I help him out as much as I can.”
Although he maintains a good relationship with his former team, Red Bull, Speed is also laid back about his continuing legal battles with them. In spite of that unfolding drama, he remains relatively unfazed.
“I have a good relationship with a lot of the guys there,” Speed said. “We’re still in the law suit. It’s going slowly but surely.”
“And it’s all looking really good at the moment,” Speed continued. “I couldn’t be happier at this point.”
Although Speed is set for this season, his future plans remain unsettled. Yet again, he tries not to stress about that.
“I don’t know,” Speed said of his future. “Right now I hope we can grow this into something that’s better for next year where we can run more races and be more competitive. That would be the best thing.”
While Speed is laid back about most everything else, there is one thing that revs him up significantly. He cannot wait for his wife Amanda to have their daughter Juliet, due at any minute.
“The baby is coming Monday at the latest,” Speed said. “We’ll be induced. Amanda’s doctor is good and has been able to schedule it for us.”
Will Speed be a laid back new father? And will he still be behind the wheel of a race car as their child grows up?
“Hopefully, I’ll be just like my dad,” Speed said. “But I don’t plan on being the dad that when my daughter is at that age of ten to thirteen and starts to be really be active and do sports, I won’t still be racing.”
“I can’t miss every single weekend of my child’s life doing what I want to do,” Speed continued. “My dad did that for me and I’ll do that for my daughter for sure.”
Speed is also not laid back about pressuring his child to pursue a career in any form of racing, no matter how athletic or competitive she turns out to be.
“No, absolutely not,” Speed said when asked about racing as a future for his daughter. “I would push her the other way.”
“It would take me a lot to put her in a car,” Speed continued. “I know how it is. I’m not rich. I don’t have a dad that can sponsor me halfway up, which is what you need to have these days.”
“I got really lucky to make it from what we had. I’ll push my daughter into something more reasonable like tennis or golf,” Speed said. “I’m sure she’s going to be really athletic and competitive knowing myself and Amanda.”
“So, if she wants to do that, then sure,” Speed continued. “It’s whatever she wants. I’m certainly not going to push her.”
While Scott may be laid back in his approach to all things racing, there is one thing that he is most passionate about, greeting his soon-to-be daddy’s little girl.
“I’m sure that’s how it will be.”