Scott Velocity, who has probably the most fascinating profession trajectories of anybody to ever pilot a race automobile, certified 27th out of 44 entries at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway in March 2013. He was on the point of do battle within the NASCAR Cup Meals Metropolis 500.
Effectively, perhaps not battle. Extra like survive.
Velocity, the primary American driver to race in System 1 since Michael Andretti in 1993, had left open-wheel racing for stock-car racing. Issues weren’t going effectively. He was driving for the chronically underfunded Leavine Household Racing NASCAR group. Within the Meals Metropolis 500, Velocity ran 184 of the 500 laps earlier than retiring in 40th place with “electrical issues.” NASCAR wrote the group a verify for $75,700, and it was on to the subsequent race.
However one thing occurred earlier that day that modified Velocity’s life. A stranger named Colin Dyne walked as much as Velocity as he was standing on the grid previous to the race and requested if he’d be concerned with driving a rallycross automobile within the X Video games Brazil the subsequent month.
“F**ok yeah!” Velocity informed him. “I’ll race something.”
After the Bristol race, “I YouTubed ‘rallycross,’ and I believed, ‘What the hell was I pondering?’” There was an enormous bounce, and half the race was on grime, half on tarmac. That lengthy, tall tabletop bounce actually bought Velocity’s consideration. “In my racing profession, I had by no means been requested to drive up actual quick to a dust wall.” The primary time he approached the bounce, he swerved on the final minute.
As soon as he bought the hold of it, he surprised the game by profitable a gold medal in his very first race, beating Travis Pastrana, Ken Block, Buddy Rice and Tanner Foust — then the reigning World Rallycross champion.
Velocity completed out the abbreviated ’13 Cup season for LFR, truly scoring a ninth at Talladega, then left NASCAR behind, having run a complete of 118 Cup races.
Dyne, an investor identified for creating the William Rast vogue line, contributed closely to World Rallycross. He turned the CEO on the finish of 2012 and lured Velocity to GRC after his triumph in Brazil. Velocity ran 9 Purple Bull World Rallycross races in 2013 for Andretti Autosport, 10 in 2014 and the complete season since. He received the 2015 and 2016 championships, and he’s second within the 2017 standings behind teammate Foust.
That is positively an older, arguably wiser Scott Velocity, who was identified for being, let’s consider, opinionated, particularly throughout his time in System 1. That started in 2005 as a take a look at driver for Purple Bull Racing, then as a full-time driver for the Purple Bull-affiliated Toro Rosso group in 2006 and 2007. He ran 18 races in 2006 and 10 in 2007 earlier than getting yanked out of the seat by group principal Franz Tost, following a bodily altercation between the 2 after Tost accused Velocity of wrecking on objective on the soggy European Grand Prix.
Velocity had earned a fame, deserved or not, as a foul boy—he was as soon as fined $5,000 for a remark he made to driver David Coulthard. (The remark? Merely, “f**ok off,” in keeping with Velocity.)
Scott Velocity at NASCAR’s Daytona 500 media day in 2013.
As soon as the Toro Rosso deal was over, Velocity thought lengthy and laborious concerning the emotional and bodily funding he had made racing in lesser collection abroad, combating his manner up by British F3, System Renault, Asian System Renault, GP2 and A1 Grand Prix.
“I had one other System 1 contract on my desk,” Velocity recollects, “however I used to be completed. I used to be able to go dwelling.”
Velocity had received the Purple Bull Driver Search in 2003, and the energy-drink producer nonetheless had a powerful relationship with him. He was employed to drive for the brand new Purple Bull Toyota NASCAR Cup group. Although the Andretti VW group is now related to the Rockstar power drink, Velocity doesn’t hesitate to credit score how a lot Purple Bull did for him through the years. “With out them,” he says, “I’d be someplace fixing go-karts for a dwelling.”
That mentioned, his tenure with the Purple Bull NASCAR Cup group was an unmitigated catastrophe. Ultimately Purple Bull left NASCAR with its proverbial tail between its legs, and the corporate’s cancellation of Velocity’s contract prompted him to file a $6.5 million lawsuit towards his benefactor of seven years.
At age 34, he appears to have discovered a cushty dwelling on the winningest, quickest and finest funded Purple Bull World Rallycross group within the collection: Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross. Typically he and teammate Foust appear to be clubbing child seals out on the observe: There have been seven races at 5 venues this season, and Velocity and Foust, or Foust and Velocity, have completed first and second 4 instances. No less than one in every of them has been on the rostrum in each race.
Scott Velocity gave System E a whirl within the 2014-15 season.
For Velocity, it’s an ideal gig and a gentle paycheck, however he stays concerned with driving in different collection when he can. A one-off trip in an Andretti System E automobile in Miami in 2015 earned him a surprising second place his first outing; had there been yet one more lap, he doubtless would have received. He’s additionally run just a few races within the VW-affiliated Audi TT Cup and Lamborghini Tremendous Trofeo collection.
He was particularly complimented when, out of the blue, he was provided the Renault System E seat — vacated by factors chief Sébastien Buemi, who had a dedication to race within the World Endurance Championship occasion abroad—on the New York Metropolis races in July, . However his boss, Michael Andretti, nixed it as a result of Andretti has a two-car group within the collection. Velocity understood however was a bit of disenchanted — “as a result of that automobile can win races.” It might have additionally given System E an American driver for the collection’ solely look in America this season.
Velocity is fairly convincing when he says that World Rallycross is sufficient, however he additionally admits to answering the cellphone. He’d love to do extra races, however it must be the suitable collection, group and time.
However you don’t have to speak to Velocity lengthy earlier than his ardour emerges as he talks about his previous adventures. A favourite story: His 2008 season in ARCA, the place Purple Bull despatched him to get some stock-car expertise earlier than the transfer to NASCAR.
Scott Velocity from his System 1 days in 2006.
Velocity took to the full-bodied inventory automobiles, in addition to the wide range of tracks ARCA races on. He received 4 of the 21 races, with 10 top-fives, 18 top-10s. Surprisingly, maybe even to Velocity, he was main the factors when it got here all the way down to the ultimate race in Toledo, Ohio. Future NASCAR drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Justin Allgaier have been second and third in factors, respectively.
Primarily all Velocity needed to do to win the title was get an honest end, so he was cruising. “Stenhouse got here up behind me and bumped me. Then he bumped me once more. I gave him the ‘go on by’ wave, however he simply saved bumping me.” Quickly, he bumped Velocity into the wall, damaging the rear axle. There could be no season championship.
Velocity pitted. “Give me 4 contemporary tires,” he informed the crew. NASCAR crew chief Slugger Labbe was the spotter. “It wants greater than tires,” Labbe mentioned over the radio.
“Simply give me 4 tires,” Velocity mentioned. The crew did.
“They put the tires on, and I went on the market, and I waited for that motherf**ker to come back by, and I didn’t raise. Physique-slammed him proper into the wall. It was probably the most satisfying moments of my profession—my Ricky Bobby, ‘Talladega Nights’ second. Went out in my ARCA profession—mic drop like a champion. It was nice.”
Allgaier, whom Velocity likes, received the championship.
“That was good,” Velocity says. Stenhouse, whom he doesn’t, didn’t. And that was good. No regrets?
“It was ARCA. It’s not like that trophy is happening my mantle.”