Race Weekend Central

Scott Speed Driver Diary: Learning from Jimmie Johnson in 2008 While Looking Forward to 2009

Editor’s Note: This diary is part of a wrap-up series detailing the end of the season for Frontstretch‘s four driver diary participants.

Well, the 2008 season has come to a close, and it certainly has been an interesting one for me. Overall, this year has been one big learning experience. In fact, there has been so much I’ve taken in that it’s difficult to point out any one thing as the most significant learning experience for me. When you are at the Cup level, you learn so much in just one weekend because you are racing with the guys at the top, so you pick up things that much quicker.

What really helped me down the stretch was pulling double duty between the Trucks and the Cup cars. It’s sometimes hard to go from one series to the other, but having the extra laps of experience is by far the most valuable thing in racing. I’ve enjoyed driving for Bill Davis Racing in the Truck Series. I have no idea if I’ll have an opportunity again with them next year; we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The last two weeks certainly could not have been more different. The Phoenix race will always be memorable to me, as it’s not every day that you have another car land on your hood. That accident really looked a lot worse than it actually was though. It was nothing really. Then, his past week at Homestead turned out to be my best Cup start yet. I was driving in Brian Vickers, my teammate’s car, but that fact that I was in the No. 83 and ran well was nothing more than a coincidence. I’m really starting to get the hang of everything as I gain more experience and it’s starting to show.

I couldn’t talk about the 2008 season without mentioning Jimmie Johnson. That guy is clearly the best driver in the sport right now. From where I’m at, I could not even imagine doing what he has done. In fact, I really don’t care to even think about that. All I try to do is go out there and try as hard as I can and see what happens. I’ve already accomplished everything I want to in motorsports, so the way I look at it, beyond this point, whatever happens, happens.

One of the things that helps me do my best each weekend does have to do with Jimmie, though. He is very open, and one of those guys that I know I can call up and he will be willing to help me. It makes the learning process a lot easier and a lot more fun when you can call up the best guy in the sport.

I’m really looking forward to the offseason; and besides catching up on some Scrabble, I don’t have any particular plans. I just want to relax. Hopefully, we’ll get some testing done as well. We have a good idea of where we want to go, and it’s not too early to start thinking about 2009. My goals for next season are very similar to what they were in ’08, and that is to keep learning.

In fact, the goal will always be to continue the learning process. If I leave a race weekend and I don’t think I’ve learned anything, then there is a problem, and we have to sort out what’s wrong. Fortunately though, that hasn’t happened. I still have a lot more to learn.

As always, thanks for supporting us at Red Bull Racing. I hope you enjoy the holiday season, and we look forward to putting on a great show for you in 2009!

About the author

Tony Lumbis has headed the Marketing Department for Frontstretch since 2008. Responsible for managing our advertising portfolio, he deals with our clients directly, closing deals while helping promote the site’s continued growth both inside and outside the racing community through social media and traditional outlets. Tony is based outside Philadelphia.

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