Fired Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Scott Speed may attempt to follow in the footsteps of Juan Pablo Montoya by undertaking a career in NASCAR.
Speed – until recently the only American driver on the Formula One grid – got the axe earlier this season from team bosses Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger for lack of performance, despite posting better numbers than teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi. Now, the 24-year old is being hyped for a possible NASCAR career by no less than Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz.
Mateschitz told a prominent German motorsports publication that NASCAR could be a good fit for the California native, saying, “Speed drove in Formula One against the world's best drivers. He is courageous, and his name is a marketer's dream. With a cowboy hat, it is perhaps complete. He would be an asset for us in NASCAR."
Mateschitz owns the Team Red Bull NASCAR Nextel Cup Series operation, fielding Toyota Camrys for Brian Vickers and A.J. Allmendinger. He did not say whether he is considering a third Nextel Cup entry, or whether Red Bull would merely contribute financial and sponsorship support to Speed’s effort.
Red Bull Director of Motorsports Helmut Marko confirmed this week that the company is interested in assisting Speed’s jump to NASCAR, saying that informal discussions are underway with at least one unnamed team. “NASCAR is a very special form of racing,” said Marko. “Even a guy like Montoya, with all his F1 experience and his Champ Car racing on ovals, can’t just jump in and be competitive. So they may look at some Busch races, and if that is going well, (move) him up to the Nextel Cup.”