Scott Speed met with the media Wednesday to talk about his upcoming Indianapolis 500 run with the Dragon Racing team.
Q. This deal with Jay Penske and Dragon Racing, how did it come about?
Well, I got a text like about a week ago I guess, asking if I was available to run the Indy 500. At the time, I had a conflict on qualifying weekend with the Iowa Nationwide Series race. The next morning, Jay called me and basically assured me that the equipment they have is top‑notch and that they have got a real solid program, and convinced me that basically I needed to really try to get out of my Nationwide deal.
I basically called Kevin Harvick and, you know, explained to him the opportunity that I had and I needed to make sure that it was going to be no problem with his sponsors and the stuff he has going on on the Nationwide Series side that I had already committed to. He was able to replace me and me leaving that program wasn't going to cause him too much pain. So I was able to basically get out of the Nationwide Series race and fully commit to the Indy race.
Q. Tomorrow is the Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis. You have laps around the oval in stock cars and Formula 1 cars, as well – at least, you've been on part of the oval. What are your thoughts on racing in IndyCar at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
Well, I think it's going to be completely different and there's no question it's going to be a really big learning experience for me. It's going to be nothing like the stock car, for sure and running around the ovals, it's probably a different experience.
Q. Have you driven an IndyCar before?
I drove an IndyCar on a road course before I started racing in GP2. Red Bull wanted me to get familiar with a heavier car, and I came over and tested it for a day with Eddie Cheever Racing at Sebring. But, other than that and what we did a couple of days ago at Chicago, I haven't driven one, no.
Q. Are you definitely planning to do the Las Vegas race as well as Indy?
Certainly, I think we are committed for Vegas, the old $5 million up for grabs. Beyond that, it's something that is still up in limbo a little bit.
It's certainly a crossroads in my career – it was a really tough situation at the beginning of this year with nothing lined up, and having to search for something, and you know, it's one of those things where I need to take my time and pick a really good opportunity for next year and make a good decision and chase down the right thing. That's something that I haven't 100 percent decided on, which direction I should go.
Q. Jay Penske indicated he was ultimately going to have you team with Paul Tracy for at least a year, maybe Paul's final year next year. Would that be OK with you or do you really have a compelling need to get back to NASCAR?
I have a compelling need to get back into something that's competitive enough to win, for one thing. Formula 1 is hard enough to be in when you're not with a team that can win. And I really enjoyed the time that I raced in the Truck Series and Nationwide Series, and we had a chance to win every weekend. I miss that.
I can promise that wherever I go, it will be something that I can win races in, because I certainly have a lot more fun doing that.