We’ve heard of road course ringers in NASCAR, but restrictor plate track ringers?
Scott Speed, he of painted toenails fame, will be back behind the wheel of the No. 95 Leavine Family Ford in Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
It will be Speed’s ninth Sprint Cup race this season … but there’s a big caveat. He’s failed to finish six of his first eight starts due to a variety of mechanical issues including brakes (twice), transmission (twice), electrical problems and a broken rear gear.
But in the two races he did finish – at two of the toughest places to race at, namely Daytona and Talladega – he finished 23rd and a surprising ninth, respectively.
“Even at Daytona we led laps,” Speed said in a team press release previewing this Saturday’s race.
Leavine Family Racing is in its third year of existence and continues building towards its goal of becoming a full-time Sprint Cup team. While it hasn’t raced since Charlotte on May 26, it’s longest break planned for the season (five races), crew chief Wally Rogers is anxious to get back on top of the pit box.
“This car finished ninth the last time it was on the track, so there’s not a lot that has to be done with it,” Rogers said. “This car is fast and it drives really well. More than anything else we’ve gone over our strategy.”
In his career, Speed has completed 877 of 886 laps (99 percent) across five races at Daytona, including leading 14 laps. He finished 10th in the summer 2010 race there and was 19th in the season-opening Daytona 500 earlier that same year.
After Saturday night’s race, the team’s next race will be the Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 (aka the Brickyard 400) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28.