The Hot Pass: Time for Red Bull to make choices

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Lee Spencer

Lee Spencer is the Senior NASCAR Writer for She has provided award-winning coverage of auto racing over the last 15 years. Spencer has lent her expertise to both television and radio and is a regular contributor to SiriusXM Radio and the Performance Racing Network. Follow her on Twitter.

Jay Frye, General Manager of Team Red Bull, has been in a holding pattern for the last month waiting for direction from team owner Dietrich Mateschitz across the pond. Frye found relief this week following a trip to Red Bull headquarters in Austria. "The meeting went really, really well," Frye said Friday morning. "Hopefully, we'll have some resolution in the next few days. The direction of the meeting was good. This was the first step." At stake are the choice of manufacturer going forward and the future of Brian Vickers with the No. 83 Red Bull car. With a verbal agreement in place, all indications have Vickers remaining with the organization. While he has yet to win this season, he's posted a tour-high five poles and he finished fifth at Indianapolis last weekend — his third top-five of the season. Vickers is currently 15th in the point standings. Red Bull has been aligned with Toyota since its inception in 2007 and has suffered growing pains along the way. Vickers qualified for just 23 of 36 races that first season and has yet to win a race under the banner. With Frye's former association with Chevrolet and his relationship with Rick Hendrick, it's understandable that he would want to align Red Bull with a proven brand that continues to enjoy dominant success in NASCAR As for Scott Speed, Frye admits this is a pivotal time for the driver. The rookie driver is currently 35th in the point standings but now has the benefit of returning to many of the tracks where he raced earlier this season. "The second part of the season is going to be big for Scott," Frye said. "We have really high expectations for him." Part of the difficulty for the company getting up to speed was having two rookies in the program over the last three years. AJ Allmendinger came on board in 2007 with very little stock car experience prior to entering NASCAR's top tour. Speed was given more of a warm up through ARCA, Trucks and Nationwide before his Cup debut. At Atlanta, Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix, Speed will be competing at these tracks for a third time. Still, with so little stock car experience, Speed contributes very little to expediting the learning curve of Red Bull Racing. Frye expects to have more answers in the next few days. At this juncture in the organization's development, Frye is looking at the future of Red Bull Racing not just the immediate results. "It's not just about the next two or three days," Frye said. "These decisions will affect where we are four to five years from now."
Tagged: Brian Vickers, Scott Speed, AJ Allmendinger

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