Editor’s note: Providing a behind the scenes take during his 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) season, Scott Speed, driver of the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle GRC for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross (VARX), will contribute to NBCSports.com, giving readers his view from behind the visor.
In his first blog installment, Speed looks back on his time in the series while looking ahead on his fourth season with the team, highlighting the ups and downs while heading to season-opener Memphis defending back-to-back championship titles.
The season begins at Memphis the weekend of April 29-30. Qualifying coverage airs at 12 a.m. ET on April 30 on NBCSN, the race at 1 p.m. ET on NBC.
If I could sum up my time so far in GRC in one word, it’d be “exciting” for sure. From the moment I first drove a GRC car all the way to winning two championships, it’s been ups and downs; a lot of exciting highs and lows.
Standing out, winning my first X Games gold in Brazil really started it all. It was my introduction to the sport. I was brought in to guest drive that weekend and no one expected me to win. From the first time I got in the car, I felt super comfortable. We came from being the underdog to win gold. Without that moment, I wouldn’t be racing GRC now. That race changed my career.
On the flip side, Daytona last season isn’t exactly my favorite memory. Catching on fire while leading is something I don’t want to repeat, and without that we would’ve most certainly won the race. It would’ve changed the points landscape and made last year less stressful.
But in pairing with Volkswagen and Andretti Rallycross, it obviously was a great decision by everyone from the start. I think it’s one of those things where it was a no-brainer for me. Volkswagen has had so much success globally in their rallycross programs, and Michael [Andretti] has always run a first-class operation. Everyone’s been super happy this whole time and it’s been outstanding since day one.
Heading to Memphis to start the 2017 schedule, there’s some added pressure for the three-peat, no question. But I think it’s great we’re able to continue success, working together with VARX and partnering with Oberto, Circle K and Rockstar this season. Their brands fit my personality and lifestyle so well. Between Rockstar and Oberto which I consume every day, I love representing those brands. Oberto’s great for getting nutrition, especially while I’m on the road traveling so much. So I’m very much looking forward to working with everyone this season.
Defending back-to-back championships won’t be easy with the target on our backs. We’re going to hopefully go and not make the same mistakes we’ve made in past, not going to catch on fire like I did in Daytona. I know we can win, I know we’re fast enough. That’s the difference. I’d like to focus on minimizing the downsides, the small mistakes this year.
I’m also already looking forward to Seattle. It’s my time to go up there and have a great showing this year, and to do it in front of Oberto’s home crowd. I’m looking forward to getting redemption out west and I know we can.
Above all, I’m looking forward to having my family at the track. It’s something I’ll continue to look forward to every time I go racing like I have. For me, racing has always been a family sport. It means everything to me with GRC being so family-friendly. My dad got me in to the sport when I was younger, and my mom has supported me along the way. For my wife and kids to be around me, to share the experiences with me, it means everything. It doesn’t feel the same when they’re not at the track. It’s something I feel very passionate about, and look forward to sharing every step of the season with my family as we work hard to three-peat.