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Allmendinger for Speed trade not working so well for Red Bull

By admin | March 18, 2009

By Richard Allen


Last year the leaders of Team Red Bull Racing decided to replace driver A.J. Allmendinger with Scott Speed. So far in 2009 that trade has not worked out in the best interest of Team Red Bull.

Speed had excellent credentials. He had wins in the ARCA Series and as well as in in NASCAR’s truck series. Also, and probably most importantly to the Red Bull bosses in Europe, he had Formula 1 experience.

At one time rumor had it the organization would attempt to find additional funding and field three teams in 2009. When that scenario did not come to fruition the move was made. Speed was put in the Sprint Cup car #84 and Allmendinger was let go.

Speed took over the Red Bull Toyota from Allmendinger near the end of 2008. His first race in the car was at Martinsville. In five races his best finish was only a 16th in Homestead, where he started the race on the outside of the front row.

Driving what is now car #82, Speed has struggled in 2009. His highest finish of the season has only been a 21st in Las Vegas. Most importantly, the #82 sits in the 37th spot in owner points. If Speed is unable to move into the Top 35 after this weekend in Bristol he will have to go to Martinsville without the assurance of being locked into the field.

In the meantime, Allmendinger has landed on his feet, for the time being, with Richard Petty Motorsports in car #44. A strong Top 5 run in the prestigious Daytona 500 has been the highlight of his season thus far.

Unlike Speed, Allmendinger is safely inside the Top 35 of owner’s points by ranking 20th.

Unfortunately, adequate funding for a full season has not been found. The team is only set to compete in eight races. Unless more money is provided by sponsors, the RPM team will scale back to a three car operation for drivers, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson.

So far, the trade of A.J. Allmendinger for Scott Speed has not worked to plan for Team Red Bull, which could result in their car missing races if things do not improve quickly.

However, Allmendinger may miss races as well, but for an entirely different reason.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

3 Responses to “Allmendinger for Speed trade not working so well for Red Bull”

  1. Jared Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 6:12 am

    I agree that Speed has not been up to par with the ‘Dinger this year. However in the first 4 races, Speed has not had to rely on being in the top 35, and had he not been already locked in, his time trial speeds would have been fast enough to get in. Allmendingers rookie year, he didnt qualify at all for the first 4 races, and even in his 2nd season, he had trouble qualifying for races. When the season rolls around to next year, we can compare the 2 seasons. I just think its too early to compare, yet thus far, Speed has qualifyied for all races.

  2. Brian Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Thats what red bull gets.Last year right when almendinger starts doing well and running competitively they pull him out of the car.I think kid has showed alot of promise after he got back in after Skinner helped out.I wish no bad luck to Vickers or Speed personally but it would’nt hurt my feelings to see red bull fall flat on there face.

  3. John Says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    While I agree that a true comparison can not be made until Speed gets more seat time, one must also take into account that Red Bull is now a ‘more’ established team. AJ was a first year driver on a first year team. Lots of kinks have been worked out since Red Bull started, many thanks to AJ. And, while Speed would have made every race on time this year, he has yet to face the pressure of being a “go or go home” driver. Something AJ has been his entire Nascar career (for various reasons). Lastly, let’s not forget that Speed did get some seat time at the end of last season and did not perform very well (actually dropping the car out of the top 35 after AJ put it into the top 35), so it is not like these first four races have been the first of his carrer.