Scott Speed… Indycar Driver!?!?!?!
I’ve wrote a lot of negative Indycar articles over the last week or two, but today the news came out that Scott Speed will run the Indy 500 in a car with Dragon Racing. I’ve advocated the entry of Scott Speed into Indycar since it first looked like his Cup ride might be over last year. Scott Speed is an American in a racing series that needs more of them and he’s got a personality in a series that has some personality challenged drivers. I’ve wanted it and hyped it but had absolutely no reason to actually think it would happen. Then, Marshall Pruett wrote this article on Speed. According to Marshall Pruett Scott Speed will drive an entry for Dragon Racing in the Indy 500. Is this the beginning of a new star being born in Indycar? Even better, according to Nate Ryan, Dragon Racing also plans to run him in Vegas!
Scott Speed has raced in GP2, F1, all three main levels of NASCAR, ARCA, and Grand Am. He was mostsuccessful in Trucks and ARCA where he won races (his only career wins) and GP2 where he went winless but finished 3rd in points. His Cup and F1 season’s were not nearly as successful as he never scored points in F1 and struggled throughout his Cup career scoring the occasional top 10 and top 5 without ever winning a race. Still he’s seen success on both ovals and road courses so he’s got the potential for success in Indycar. I’ve been as critical as anyone about the “F1 Rejects” coming into Indycar, but the difference is this one might actually bring in some fans!
Having Speed debut at Indy will be difficult simply because we’re likely to see over 40 cars trying to make 33 spots. From NASCAR, Scott has been involved in Go or Go Home qualifying which will help with the pressure on Bump Day if it takes that long. He’s ran on ovals and he’s ran open wheel cars, but he’s never done both together and he’s never even sat in a current Indycar! That could be a major issue. On the plus side he will go to a test at Chicagoland first and then have what looks like the full Month of May program to get up to speed. Dragon is a good team which will help his qualifying efforts a lot. As long as Speed can avoid crashing too much he should make the field and run well.
While there are a ton of reasons to be excited for Scott Speed’s arrival into Indycar not all fans are rejoicing. The main reason why some Indycar fans dislike Speed has to do with his previous comments about Indycar which are less than positive. He’s always been F1 oriented and grew up during the Split and it shows. When his F1 career died he still hadn’t changed his tune about Indycar and went head on into NASCAR. Obviously this has created some hard feelings and the fact that Speed is coming to Indycar doesn’t help. But come on, we’re getting Scott Speed into Indycar. A guy who has some notoriety and who, if he’s successful, can get a lot of attention on Indycar and become one of it’s biggest stars!
How can you not see Scott Speed running Indycar as a good thing? His career hasn’t been great yet but he has shown flashes of talent. If he can just harness it he could become one of the biggest names in Indycar. It’s true Speed is only coming to Indycar out of desperation but with a little luck a good Month of May will change his tune and he’ll want more. His NASCAR career is almost dead… so he might as well take whatever money he can scrape together and try and reinvent himself in Indycar. Scott Speed: an F1 reject I can get excited about!