After being released from Red Bull in 2010, Scott Speed spent most of last season without a NASCAR ride. He mostly start-and-parked for Whitney Motorsports and Max Q Motorsports and figured he'd probably have to do the same in 2012.
But racing has a funny way of giving second chances sometimes, and Speed believes he may have found a team to help resurrect his career.
Speed will drive a partial Sprint Cup Series schedule for Leavine Family Racing this season, focusing mostly on the 1.5-mile tracks and road courses. Team owner Bob Leavine (pronounced "leh-VINE," not "leh-VEEN") was impressed with Speed's ability to out-qualify his car last season with inferior equipment and decided to give the ex-Formula One racer a shot.
The team plans to avoid start-and-parking if possible and run the full races it enters, beginning with the Texas Motor Speedway race in April.
"You can make more money doing (start-and-parks), for sure, but that's not what Bob wants to do," Speed said Tuesday night. "We want to be professional about it. We're going to look good, we're going to have all of our stuff right and represent our brand and what we're doing the right way and not just be another start-and-park team."
Leavine gets its engines from Roush Fenway Racing (on a lower tier) and buys used Roush cars to field its No. 95 entry (which David Starr drove last season).
"We're going about it the right way – as much as you can be," Speed said. "We're not a fully-funded team that's running a full year. But instead of doing a lot, we're doing what we can and doing it right. If we're running well, the pedal is to the floor."
Speed said running half-assed races for Whitney Motorsports last season was "the most frustrating thing I've ever had to do in my life." Now he's with a team that hopes to establish itself over the next couple seasons and eventually become a full-time team.
"Last year, there was no way I thought I'd have such a good opportunity," he said.