Mid-Season Review: Scott Speed
STATS: 5th in Supercar points (180); 6 starts, 3 podiums, 4 heat wins
POSITIVES: For the third year in a row, Speed left an X Games event with a gold medal hanging around his neck when he won in Austin. For the first time, the race wasn’t a points-paying event, but a gold medal is a gold medal, right?
In actual championship races, though, Speed has still shown that race-winning form that led him to a Supercar-best three wins last year. Multiple fastest laps in practice and starting spots near the front of the pack have enabled him to claw out three second-place finishes in six starts.
NEGATIVES: The problem for Speed is that it’s been checkers or wreckers all season long, limiting him to fifth in the standings. Daytona, in particular, was a weekend to forget; mechanical issues kept him off the LCQ grid in the first race, and contact put him out of the second final earlier than expected.
To make matters worse, an engine issue at MCAS New River caused him to miss his second final in three races and ensured that Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross wouldn’t have a car in a main event for the first time in its history. With all of this misfortune happening in a three-race stretch, Speed and company put themselves in a championship hole fairly early in the year.
OUTLOOK: Detroit was a make-or-break weekend for Speed’s championship hopes, but he passed every test thrown at him with flying colors. He came into the season with a championship-or-bust mentality, and that may be his biggest ally as he works his way back up the ranks. More wins will come.