Full Name: Scott Andrew Speed
Look beyond the name. It’s nearly impossible, being that this racer goes by Speed — Scott Speed. But there’s plenty behind the last name of this renaissance man of racing.
After kicking ass and taking names and championships in karting for eight years, Speed stepped up to open-wheel racing in 2001, when he won the Formula Russell title in his first try. In 2002, he continued the climb, competing in the Barber Formula Dodge and Star Mazda series.
That same year, Red Bull began its own version of “American Idol” for single-seat racing. It was called the Red Bull Driver Search, aimed a putting a United States-born hot shoe in Formula One. Speed, at a still-green 19, proved his mettle and won the competition. With Red Bull backing, he crossed the pond for British Formula Three. In 2004, he won the German Formula Renault and Eurocup championships.
He appeared to be getting the hang of this whole racing on European circuits thing, and GP2 came calling a year later. Podium finishes were a regular occurrence, and Speed ended up third in the championship. He got a taste of Formula One, too, running a third car for Red Bull Racing in the North American swing through Montreal and Indianapolis.
Believe it. Speed became the first American in Formula One since Michael Andretti in 1993. Red Bull gave Speed one of two full-time seats on its sister team — Scuderia Toro Rosso — for the 2006 season.
He immediately was impressive, when in the third grand prix in Australia, Speed was awarded his first world championship point for eighth place before race stewards discovered he had overtaken Red Bull’s David Coulthard under yellow flags. The ensuing 25-second penalty saw him classified in 11th. Speed, of course, flirted with points finishes a few more times but never scored.
In February 2007, Scuderia Toro Rosso confirmed that Speed would again hold a race seat, but the season was largely disappointing, punctuated with a mutual parting of the ways with the team. After seven races, his home grand prix in Indianapolis being the last, Speed was released from his contract at Scuderia Toro Rosso.
His relationship with Red Bull, however, remained strong, and Speed turned his attention to landing a Red Bull-backed drive in the States.
Speed manned up from an evil stomach bug that once threatened his career’s longevity in 2003, so bouncing back after an exit from Formula One is right up his alley. Red Bull Racing Team took on the role of guidance counselor for Speed’s first few seasons in stock cars.
After winning three poles and four ARCA races in 2008, Speed all but won Rookie of the Year and the ARCA Championship. Speed had both awards wrapped up until he was taken out at the last race of the year. That same year, Speed ventured into the NASCAR Truck Series. Winning in just his sixth race ever at Dover International Speedway and capturing the pole at Bristol Motor Speedway is his ninth start.
Over the next few seasons (2009-2013), Speed raced a few times in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, capturing the pole in his first ever NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He also finished in the top-10 in eight of his 13 races ran in 2009. Speed soon, however, focused on the top series in NASCAR, the Sprint Cup Series. Speed sat outside pole four times, had one top-five and three top-tens over the years.
In 2013 Speed also began racing in the Global Rallycross Series. He competed in Xgames in Brazil at won Gold in his first ever race for OlsbergsMSE, Rdio and Ford. As well as winning the GRC race in Charlotte.
In 2014 Speed ran his first season with Andretti Autosport and Volkswagen. He won three races during the RedBull Global Rallycross season. The first was at the season opener in Barbados. Then Speed won Gold for a second year in a row at the XGames, in Texas this time. He captured his third win of the 2014 season at the Port of LA race in California. Speed finished the year third in the Championship points battle.
In 2015, Speed has teamed up again with Andretti Autosport and Volkswagen to race for the RedBull Global Rallycross Series Championship.