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Speed fails to qualify; could still race
Scott Speed collects his thoughts after not qualifying for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 starting field at Infineon Raceway. - photo by Photo by DONNY YEE
SONOMA — Manteca native Scott Speed failed to make the starting field for Sunday’s 21st Annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.

Speed was on a lightning quick lap in qualifying when he lost control and went into the dirt in turn 10. He was able to recover and return to the racing surface, timing in at 78.743 seconds/90.98 mph, which put him 39th overall out of the field of 47 cars, but it was not quite good enough.

Although 43 cars qualify for the race, the top 35 drivers in owner points coming into th weekend are guaranteed a starting spot.  Speed’s No. 82 Red Bull Toyota entered the weekend 36th in owner points and though he still managed to turn quicker lap than several other drivers, many of those drivers held guaranteed spots leaving Speed ninth among the 12 drivers vying for the eight remaining non guaranteed positions.

Speed was unavailable for comment following Friday qualifying session.

Ironically, Speed’s teammate Brian Vickers (No. 83 Red Bull Toyota) earned the pole for Sunday’s race with a lap of 76.475 seconds/93.676 mph.

“Our lap was really good and I thought I even left a little on the table early on, but I could tell we were fast. It tried not to overdrive the car and avoid any mistakes,” said Vickers. “We made a few small changes after practice and they really paid off.”

Kyle Busch, last year’s race winner, Marcos Ambrose, Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five.

There is still a chance that Speed could be behind the wheel for Sunday’s race.
The team is reportedly in negotiations with a couple of other teams to secure a seat for Speed in one of the cars that did make the starting field.

To contact Dale Bosowski, e-mail