2017 Year in Review: Scott Speed
FINISH: 1st in Supercar points
2017 RESULTS: 12 starts, 4 wins, 11 podiums, 30 heat wins, 826 points
2016 RESULTS: 11 starts, 4 wins, 7 podiums, 18 heat wins, 571 points
THE GOOD: Perhaps we shouldn’t ask “how is Speed ever going to top this one,” because we asked the same thing last year, and we got this. Sheer dominance, unparalleled in Red Bull Global Rallycross history, saw the now three-time champion take an astounding 11 podiums, and somehow top teammate Tanner Foust’s old record of 27 heat and semifinal victories in a single season.
Speed kicked off the year by winning the season opener in Memphis, the third time in his career he’d won an opener, and added his other three wins in Indianapolis and a sweep of the Atlantic City doubleheader. He took home a trophy from every track on the schedule, and added five poles along the way—including four in a row from Ottawa II to Atlantic City II.
THE BAD: When you only miss one podium all year, it’s going to be “the bad” by default, but Speed’s lone blemish in 2017 had the potential to crush his championship hopes. Engine issues in Ottawa I forced an engine change that was not completed in time to make the semifinals. Because he couldn’t grid for his semifinal, he was not allowed to compete in the main event.
The immediate fallout was disastrous. The missed semifinal and final gave him a pair of zeroes on the points table, where every other driver had a chance at a minimum of 27 points (or a maximum of 60, as Steve Arpin was able to accomplish that day). As a result, Speed fell to fourth in points, behind new championship leader Arpin, Foust, and Mitchell deJong.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “I think this season was a lot more difficult from the competition side of things, but we made a lot fewer mistakes. We only had one failure that prevented us from making a final, and other than that, the car has performed with amazing reliability. That’s been the biggest factor.”
2018 PROGNOSIS: If Speed continues to not make mistakes and his car continues to be a powerhouse, we’ll probably be recycling this article next year.
Photo credit: Louis Yio