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

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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.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool