Scott Speed was not his typical outgoing, ebullient self on Saturday after qualifying 30th for the Brickyard 400.
The Red Bull Racing driver looked frustrated, and said his team was continuing to search for answers about its performance.
"In general, we've still been off," he said. "I don't know where (the speed) is at. If you go back to Chicago, the feel of the car to me felt really similar to when we were running top-10s at the beginning of the year and running really well.
"We just don't have any speed. Not really sure where it's coming from."
Speed said at Red Bull, "everyone is searching for something," which has made for a "really tough atmosphere." The absence of 2009 Chase participant Brian Vickers hasn't helped, but Speed said the team was struggling well before that.
"It sucks running like we are right now," he said. "I much more enjoyed the beginning of the year. It's not just myself, it's the whole team. Everyone is really frustrated at where the speed has gone."
Chicagoland was a prime example. Last year, the Red Bull cars qualified 1-2 for the race and ran strongly. This year, Speed qualified 39th and finished 30th; interim teammate Reed Sorenson qualified 24th and finished 27th.
"It's like we know we have a good package there, we know it's super solid and we just can't make it work," he said. "It just doesn't have the speed."
In regard to rumors that Speed has already signed a contract extension for next season, the former F1 driver said, "I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about it."
Did he expect to be back with Red Bull next year?
"We'll see," he said.
In the meantime, Speed said, "I just try to do everything I can do the best I can and focus on what I can do the best, and not try to be a crew chief or a team manager."