2015 Year in Review: Scott Speed
Overall Rank: 1st, Supercar
2015 Stats: 12 starts, 2 wins, 8 podiums, 11 heat wins, 456 points
Key Fact: Finished third or better in seven of the final eight races
“If I don’t win (the championship), then that’s on me,” Scott Speed said before the start of the 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross season. “I feel like it’s my job to win, and if I don’t, then I’ve done something wrong at this point.”
He had plenty of reason to be confident, of course. In his first year with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Speed was the only driver to make all 10 main events in 2014, and with a rented Polo, no less. Racing the new Beetle for a full season, Speed saw himself as the Supercar championship favorite—and last week in Las Vegas, that confidence paid off with his first Red Bull GRC title.
It wasn’t an easy ride, though. Despite finishing second in the season opener in Fort Lauderdale and earning his third X Games gold medal in the invitational event in Austin, two missed finals and a DNF between the Daytona doubleheader and MCAS New River saw Speed plummet to ninth in the championship standings.
From there, Speed went on a tear that ranks among the most impressive in Red Bull GRC history.
Save for a seventh place finish in Washington DC, the American driver wouldn’t miss the podium again in 2015, tying Toomas Heikkinen for most podium finishes in a Supercar season with eight (nine counting the non-points round in Austin). He became the first Red Bull GRC driver to win both legs of a rallycross-only doubleheader when he did so in Los Angeles. His 11 heat wins were tied for most in the Supercar class, while his three poles led the series outright.
Entering Las Vegas with a 36-point lead, though, the field still made the new champion earn the crown. Heavy contact from Sverre Isachsen sent Speed into a tire barrier and dropped him to fourth in his second round heat, but he bounced back to win his semifinal and lead the field through the first corner in the final. Though both Joni Wiman and Sebastian Eriksson got past him, third place was more than enough to clinch the title.
Locked up alongside teammate Tanner Foust at VARX through the 2017 season, Speed will enter next year as a heavy championship favorite. If the Beetle is as fast throughout next year as it was in the second half of this year, it may not be a fair fight.
Photo credit: Louis Yio