Kahne's arrival and Vickers' recovery made Speed redundant. (LAT photo)
Red Bull Racing announced it has released Scott Speed, driver of the team's No. 82 Sprint Cup Toyota.
“We have exercised our rights to end the relationship at the end of 2010,” the team said in a statement. “We wish Scott the best of luck in his career.”
Speed confirmed on his Twitter account that he had been terminated by Red Bull. "Not [a] huge surprise," he wrote.
Speed's future with RBR's NASCAR squad had looked questionable since the team concluded a deal with Rick Hendrick to field Kasey Kahne next year. Kahne drove the final five races in the team's No. 83 Camry after quitting the troubled RPM team. Red Bull expects to have Brian Vickers back in that car next year, as his treatment for blood clots is considered to be on schedule to make that happen, making Speed expendable.
The development ends another phase of the 27-year-old Californian's association with the energy drink giant, which named him to its Formula 1 driver development program in 2003 and groomed him for grand prix racing in European single-seater formulas. He advanced to F1 with its Scuderia Toro Rosso squad in 2006, but was acrimoniously dropped by STR midway through his second season in favor of Sebastian Vettel. Red Bull then transferred Speed to its NASCAR program, running him in ARCA, Nationwide and Truck Series races before moving up to Sprint Cup.
Although he was promising in stock car racing's lower tiers, and won a Truck race at Dover in 2008, Speed's Cup career has been a disappointment to date. He competed full time for RBR in Sprint Cup since 2009. He finished 30th in the standings in 2010, with a pair of 10th-place finishes being his best results, and 35th in points in '09.