NASCAR »

Scott Speed to sue over Red Bull firing

Scott Speed has filed a lawsuit for $6.5m for breach of contract against Red Bull's NASCAR team, after he was let go by the team to make way for Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers.
Driver Scott Speed broke the news about his firing from Red Bull's NASCAR team via his Twitter feed at the end of last month, saying that the letter terminating his contract was "not huge surprise", adding in subsequent tweets that it "will for sure be weird being a free agent" and "Got some meetings today.. Puttin in applications" which were getting "alot of 'ur actually over qualified' and 'we will call u's" [sic].

However, in press interviews Speed was less sanguine and has spoken about his disappointment with how the dismissal was handled via a fax machine without so much as a telephone call from Red Bull's headquarters in Austria. "I can't describe how upset I am just by the morality of it," he is reported to have said. "I don't understand how you can treat people like this," he added: "They were, okay, we're done with you. Thank you for seven and one half years."

Speed has long been associated with Red Bull, having been the leading driver for Red Bull's Driver Search back in 2002 which led to his Formula 1 stint with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2006 that ended abruptly midway through the next season.

Speed also broke the news about the legal action in a tweet that read "today should be the day my lawyer files this lawsuit against Red Bull...Had to tell my loyal twitter followers before they saw it online."

Speed's lawsuit is for $6.5m and claims breach of contract, and was filed with the North Carolina Superior Court. The driver claims he has a signed contract with the team for 2011, while Red Bull's general manager Jay Frye said in October that Speed needed to meet performance clauses in the contract to keep the drive.

The lawsuit states that Speed's contract was amended in June 2008 to include the 2011 season at a seasonal salary of $1.5 million, which also granted RBR the right to pick up contract options on the driver for the 2012 and 2013 seasons with salary raises of $500,000 per year. The lawsuit also states that in January 2010, Red Bull revised the year's salary from $1m to $500,000 but that despite the cost-cutting moves Red Bull exercised their 20112 and 2013 options in May of this year. Speed's claim for $6.5m represents money Speed would have earned from the 2011 through 2013 seasons, plus the $500,000 in salary lost from this year plus compensation for the likelihood that he will be idle during the upcoming 2011 season since the possibility of signing with another NASCAR team this late in the year is unlikely.

Speed started 2010 - his second full-time season in NASCAR - well and was into the top 12 at one point, qualifying on the front row in Phoenix and finishing in the top ten in the series' second visit of the year to Daytona. After that his form declined. and he ended up down in 30th place in the driver's championship by the end of the year. Red Bull say that the contract's performance clause allows them to break the contract if Speed finished lower than 16th. Speed's lawyers say that Red Bull failed to provide the funding for his team to be competitive and made it impossible for him to meet the performance clause: "[Red Bull] withheld financial and technological … resources to prevent [Speed's] team from fielding competitive race cars throughout the 2010 Sprint Cup Series season," Speed states in the complaint. “[Red Bull] significantly reduced its financial commitment to Speed's race team and was unable and/or unwilling to provide [Speed] with 'supporting equipment' satisfactory for a driver of [his] skill to [be] effective [to] compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” Speed's complaint states.

Red Bull have already moved Kasey Kahne into the team and need to make room for the return of Brian Vickers who returns from a serious health issue that sidelined him for most of the year but which is now behind him following heart surgery to repair a hole between the right and left atrium in his heart with a stent from his leg. Vickers' return was still uncertain until late in the season, which probably explains why Red Bull left it so late to terminate Speed's contract.

Speed said last week that the filing of the lawsuit was in order to be able to pay bills due next year, given that the chances of now getting a ride for 2011 are very slim. "I don't know how to describe how much I think filing a lawsuit, how stupid it is and how ridiculous this is that we're doing this, but I literally have no other option," Speed explained. "I have to protect myself.

"I would have been so easy to deal with if Red Bull would have just explained to me straight up and honestly what the real situation was."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Scott Speed
Red Bull Racing Sprint Cup driver Scott Speed [Pic credit: Red Bull/Getty]
Brian France, NASCAR President (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Joey Coulter`s #21 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet is towed off the track under a red flag after an incident during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Alex Bowman in action at Charlotte Motor Speedway. October 9, 2014. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, who is in the Chase, finished in 2nd place and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet SS finished in 1st place Sunday, November 2, 2014 in the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS, races to his first place win Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, which Johnson is not in, continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, which Johnson is not in, continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, which Johnson is not in, continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates with Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage and AAA VIP Employee Recognition Winner David Tiger with pistols in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS qualified for third position Friday, October 31, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Johnson is shown with his crew chief, Chad Knaus. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Boss B - Unregistered

December 14, 2010 11:49 AM

I loved watching scott in F1. Hw was like the great american hope. But then you started to see his arrogant and conceited side. I think it's ok when its coupled with pure performance, but he's just arrogant with no performance to back it up. He's talented, but somewhere along the line the red bull posh treatment got to his head, and he forgot how he got there. I think it was only time this came about. Can us single seater fans get a fully backed entry in indycar with the likes of a stud like Graham Rahal??

Eddie - Unregistered

December 18, 2010 12:53 AM

If they didn't terminate Speed their would be no room for Vickers for return to kind of underhanded but, now what happens to Kahne when Vickers returns to Red Bull Racing will they share the ride or field a second car for Kahne



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.