GRC Personalities // Scott Speed: Racing, Family, and Fatherhood
In my case, with racing and family, there’s never really been a balance between the two because they’ve always been so intertwined. My dad and my mom were always super involved in my racing, so as a kid, how I grew up in my family, there was never really a separation between the two. And for my wife, it was the same—her dad and her brother were both in drag racing, so she is very much the same. If I had to say Amanda’s favorite place to be in the world, it’s either the beach or the dragstrip, but probably the dragstrip outweighing the beach!
For me, it’s how I grew up in my family, and that’s how my family is now. My little girl, Jules, she’s one and a half, she loves the racetrack. Her first word, I swear to god, was “car.” She loves being around the noise and the environment, and I think that’s a product of how you’re brought up. My wife and I both were brought up in racing. So there isn’t really a balance between the two—they are the two, you know?
Bringing Amanda and Jules to Barcelona was definitely an experience, because traveling on a nine hour flight with a toddler is interesting! I was probably more stressed out the days before that flight than I’ve been in a long time, just dreading the thought of Jules freaking out, screaming on the plane, and not having anywhere to go. I honestly was really stressing it a lot!
As it turned out, she was awesome on both flights. She travels real well. The only thing that was… let’s say different, was that the jet lag after it was a lot worse, because we were kind of on Jules’s schedule. That was “we’re really excited to be on an airplane, so we’re only going to sleep three hours,” and by the time we got to Barcelona at lunchtime, we’d basically been awake 30 hours! The jet lag got a little out of control, but other than that it was an easy, relatively stress-free trip. That’s a good thing, obviously!
We did a little bit of sightseeing, but we also spent a lot of time at the track and at the event. There always seemed to be something that we could do while we were there that was GRC-related, so we definitely spent a lot of time doing that. But we got to see some stuff too, the girls had a good time, Jules liked it.
It’s a comfort to have the family, because your family is your rock. It’s the core. And when they’re there, there’s a sense of comfort. Obviously you’re really focused on the race, and myself especially, you’re really focused on what’s going to happen and prepare as best as possible. But when the family’s there, there’s always this feeling that outside of this, I don’t have to worry about anything, because they’re there supporting. There’s just this feeling that there’s this safety net there, if that makes any sense. If I have a real bad race, I’m not too worried about it, because I know as soon as I get outside the car—let’s assume everything went terrible, I qualified bad, we wrecked, nothing good happened on the racing side—I know, as soon as I see Jules, I’ll be happy. There’s just a safety net there on a bunch of different levels.
There’s definitely something missing when they’re not there. There’s always FaceTime, and all that, but that only goes so far. We talk all the time, so you’re just missing the physical part of it. If they’re not there, you don’t get to share good moments, or even bad moments with them. It’s never the same.
I believe they’ll be in Munich. Right now, with Amanda being so far along in this pregnancy, it’s going to be more difficult for sure. And then once we have the two, it’ll be still more difficult, but she does a real good job with that. She’s great at not being afraid to do something, she’s not the stay at home and do nothing kind of person. I’m sure it’s something that we’ll do more of.
I speak for myself—I’ve never really been a preparer, per se. Amanda never really made me go to any of the baby classes. The only class that we both went to go do was the CPR class, I never had to go do all that. She was really good at not forcing a bunch of unnecessary preparations, because she knows the kind of the person that I’ve always been.
The father thing, I just let happen. Your natural instincts, especially for me—they’re there for a reason. You just act normal. I didn’t really plan a lot, I just reacted to becoming a father, and that worked out really well for both of us, actually. I’m sure it will be the same for this one. It’s more or less not being worried about what’s going to happen, it’s more about enjoying the journey and enjoying the process you’re going through.
I can’t say I react differently in the car. I think what’s different is, it does change you because it puts lots of perspective on it. And that perspective is what’s important in life. Sometimes you can lose that when it’s just you driving, and you think that’s the only thing that matters in the world. And it’s not that I don’t try as hard with the driving, and I certainly realize how big a part of my happiness racing is, but when you have a little girl, you realize how much more important that part of life is. I think, if anything, it makes you a little bit more even keeled on your priorities, and not getting so overly obsessed about racing, or having to win every race. I think it brings you to a more well-rounded state.
You know, it’s all part of the experience. The unplanned is what makes everything so nice, I think. The unexpected—living it, experiencing it, going in and not planning or worrying about it. I think that the whole family’s in a good spot where that’s concerned.
Photo credit: Alison Merion Padron