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Speed hits his groove
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Toyota driver Scott Speed has started the season well after a tough rookie campaign in which he finished 35th in the points standings. - photo by John Clark/NASCAR this week

Four races into the 2010 Sprint Cup season, there are indications that Scott Speed has found a home in

A native of Manteca, Calif., the 27-year-old Speed has a varied background. In 2006-07, he competed in a total of 28 Formula One races, though he never managed a podium finish or earned any championship points. Since making the switch to stock-car racing, Speed has won four Automobile Racing Club of America events and one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. His best cup finish was a fifth at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2009.

This season? So far, so good. Speed occupies 12th place in the cup point standings after a 10th-place finish at Atlanta.

Asked about the possibility of making the Chase before the season, Speed said, "I’d like to say that we are still improving. I guess if we keep getting better and better, it should be possible, theoretically." Though the current season is only four races old, Speed’s performance has made a chase berth seem a bit more plausible. The long NASCAR schedule hasn’t been a difficult adjustment, though.

"I love the (NASCAR) schedule," said Speed. "I love being able to get out every weekend. I’m having a lot of fun doing it. It’s, like, if you have a good race, you’re ready to get back out there and keep it going. If you have a bad race, in the next weekend you can completely turn the whole thing around. So, you can forget it easily. I love the fact we race so much."

Speed’s first season in the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota was a struggle. The Talladega race marked his only finish in the top 10, and he finished 35th in points.

"Year one was hard," he admitted. "There were a lot of ups and downs. We learned a lot, but I think, as well, we had a lot of bad luck go our way.

"We really had a lot of things that could have gone either way ... that went to the bad way."

Maybe he’s due.


Monte Dutton has covered motorsports for The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette since 1993. He was named writer of the year by the National Motorsports Press Association in 2008. His blog NASCAR This Week ( features all of his reporting on racing, roots music and life on the road. E-mail Monte at

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