It’s just been a few weeks since Scott Speed was unceremoniously released from his contract with Red Bull Racing. On the heels of the email that has apparently changed the direction of the young man’s racing career, Speed, through his attornies, has filed a lawsuit in North Carolina Superior Court asking for $6.5 million in compensation he says is due him through the contract extension he recently signed during the 2010 season.
Speed who is one of the drivers who are more adept at social media marketing had already tweeted to his followers, “today should be the day my lawyer files this lawsuit against Red Bull…Had to tell my loyal twitter followers before they saw it online..”, most likely in order to garner public favor and sympathy.
NASCAR racing along with every other motor sport is a business. Sponsors and owners expect results. Speed has been less than stellar since his debut in NASCAR Sprint Cup and although he claims otherwise, he was less than stellar in the beginning of the 2010 season. So much so that Red Bull renegotiated his contract for $500k less and added a performance clause that gave them an out should he not live up to his mouth.
Scott Speed, in a nutshell, has been all bark and no bite since his debut in Formula One. He was replaced there by Sebastian Vettel in the middle of the 2007 season after accumulating absolutely no points and becoming known as a loud mouth with a lead foot. The highlight of Speed’s Formula One career came in a post race conflict with David Coulthard. That cost the young Californian $5k. Vettel, on the other hand, took several poles and a series of wins on his way to claim this year’s Formula One Championship.
Speed got dumped in an email. Poor planning and bad taste by the Red Bull management team, but does it really change anything. They have poured money into Scott Speed for over seven years. The last time Speed did anything behind the wheel was in the Formula Renault Series. The only thing fast about the driver is his last name. Speed’s numbers do add up. If Red Bull is in breach of the driver’s contract he will be owed a significant amount of cash for the duration of the contract Speed says runs through 2013. If the performance clause holds, than Speed is out of luck.
No matter what happens, Scott Speed has joined a long list of drivers that are standing in line waiting for a chance to drive again. The difference here is that he has never proven himself in any NASCAR touring series. Speed needs to check himself and his talent level and try to figure out if he needs to find a decent Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series ride and work his way to the top. They used to call it the A,B, C’s (Arca Busch, Cup). Drivers worked their way up the proving grounds. There is a long list of successful drivers who did this, and the plan still works.
My opinion is Speed doesn’t deserve the money. He needs to work on his ability and his attitude just a little bit. One of the best drivers, still in NASCAR today, came up in the early 1980’s and lost it all before he came back to make a name for himself. Mark Martin proved losing your ride isn’t the end of a career. Speed should re-evaluate his options and try to find a competitive ride in the in Nationwide or Truck series and work his way back into a contender position. If he doesn’t act quickly enough, he may become as relevant as Jeremy Mayfield.