Forgive Red Bull’s NASCAR drivers if they don’t vacation in New Hampshire anytime soon…
Not only did Loudon continue to cause Scott Speed fits, but it also made him deathly ill this time around. Meanwhile, teammate Reed Sorenson saw his string of top-15 finishes in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota snapped at two, care of the 1.058-mile flat oval.
Speed woke up Saturday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway with flu-like symptoms which worsened as the day wore on. He vomited before practice; after the session, he needed to visit the track medical center for intravenous fluids and missed Happy Hour later in the day.
The team turned to NASCAR truck series driver Aric Almirola to fill in for Speed and even asked him to stick around for race day just in case the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota driver didn’t improve overnight.
As it turned out, the tornados in Speed’s stomach subsided and he was able to get in the car for the Sylvania 300. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay settled for long, although this time for a different reason.
Things went south for Speed only 26 laps into the race when Bobby Labonte got into the No. 82’s left rear quarter panel on the exit to turn 4, causing the Red Bull Toyota driver to lose the back end. Speed fishtailed once and slammed the left front into Labonte’s right door as the pair exited the turn, severely damaging the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota’s suspension. For good measure, Speed’s car then spun into the inside wall and came to a stop opposite the pitlane.
Unhurt, a growling Speed hopped from the car and jumped the pitwall to get to the Red Bull garage where the car arrived a few minutes later. The damage was enough to keep the car in the garage for 80 laps as the crew completed repairs. He went back out 41st but managed to climb to 36th by the end of the race, completing 213 of 300 laps.
“We had the battle of starting deep in the field, and that put us in the position to potentially be caught up in something, and we did,” Speed said.
“The guys worked really hard to get the car back on the track, which allowed us to continue to learn throughout the race.”
'The crew tried all they could to find the right combo in the car… but nothing seemed to work' – Reed Sorenson
Things also didn’t go well for Reed Sorenson’s return to the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota after stepping out of the car in Richmond last week to allow DTM star Mattias Ekström to make his maiden NASCAR start on an oval.
In the two races prior to moving aside, Sorenson scored a 15th in Bristol and followed that with a 14th in Atlanta. He arrived in New England looking to continue his run, but struggled to find front grip all afternoon and finished a lap adrift of the leaders in 27th.
“The crew tried all they could to find the right combo in the car – wedge, air pressure and track bar adjustments – but nothing seemed to work,” he said.
“It was a tough day, considering the momentum we had coming off of Bristol and Atlanta, but there’s no reason we can’t get it back this week at Dover, where the 83 car’s been strong in the past."