Scott Speed has admitted that he 'doesn't really care' about results heading into his rookie season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, with the former F1 racer stating that he simply wants to finish where his car is capable of finishing.
The Red Bull Racing driver saw his hopes of a strong run in the Budweiser Shootout brought to an early end when he was involved in a shunt in the opening laps, but he bounced back to set the 17th quickest time in qualifying for this weekend's Daytona 500 – quicker than a number of more established runners, including team-mate Brian Vickers.
However, the American was quick to play down his expectations for the year ahead and admitted he was keeping his goals in check for his first full year of Sprint Cup competition.
“As far as results are concerned, I don't really care, honestly,” he said. “What I care most about is being able to finish where the car is set up to run. If we've got a 20th-place car, I'd like to finish in 20th by the end of the season. The car's going to be better than I'm making it look for a while, just because of my inexperience with this type of racing.”
Speed added that he is well aware of the fact that he has a lot to learn about competing at the highest level in NASCAR, but said he wasn't afraid to approach his rivals for advice.
“Everyone,” he said when asked who he will go to. “It's difficult to get (helpful) advice. I'm an extremely talented racecar driver. There's nothing you can tell me that I don't know. What's impossible is the experience, doing it, getting the feeling for it. That's priceless. The experience plays a lot into it. Not necessarily into going fast, but making good decisions on what you want to do to the racecar. If our racecar's right, we're going to be fast. Then there's the racing itself. Just racing three-wide, racing on the topside, how that whole thing plays out as you go into a corner is completely different from road racing. I'm learning a lot as we go.
“When you're by yourself, it's pretty easy. When you get around a pack, when five guys go into the corner in front of you, see how that all shakes up, you learn it with experience. I could pick up the phone right now and call Jimmie Johnson, and he would tell me anything I wanted to know. That's what's really cool about a couple of the guys in this sport. It's like one big family. Everyone really helps everyone. It really makes it an enjoyable process to learn. Nobody's out to get you.”