Look for a lot more Speed Saturday at Daytona – Scott Speed, that is

2 Comments

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.

MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

Follow@KyleMLavigne