Sunday, May 2, 2010

Women in NASCAR …. Amanda Speed

The SPIRITED
Amanda Speed
Amanda grew up in King, N.C. She is the daughter of seven-time IHRA champion "Tricky” Rickie Smith and sister of Matt Smith, who in 2007 won the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Championship. Amanda grew up in a drag racing family and was used to working on cars as she grew up. She spent a couple of years working on both her father’s and her brother’s pit crews. As she grew up, she turned from a girlie girl into a tomboy. She went from loving puzzles and reading to loving racecars and getting dirty.

At the age of 20, Amanda became pregnant. She found herself married and then shortly thereafter, divorced. Needless to say, she grew up fast. During this time, while raising her son Rex, she was in nursing school, but soon realized that her heart and soul were in racing. She changed her major and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and public relations. It was at this time that she took over all PR responsibilities for her father and her brother.

While working at the NHRA, Amanda ran into Barry Dodson, a NASCAR buddy of her father’s. Barry introduced Amanda to Roger Bear and Keystone Marketing. This chance meeting led to her leaving the family business and becoming in charge of the entire Jim Beam account in NASCAR. From there she moved to Bill Davis Racing. Her title was PR manager for all three truck teams, as well as the travel coordinator for the entire company.

The trucks were piloted by Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson. During the second year she worked with BDR, Scott Speed came along to drive the third truck (this is how she met Scott). Eventually Amanda left BDR and began working with Scott and Red Bull. One thing led to another and Scott and Amanda became an item. She now works directly with Scott.

This is Rex (Amanda’s 9-year-old son), Amanda and Scott
This photo was taken in 2009 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Amanda generously agreed to a Q & A session with me for the Women in NASCAR (WIN) Series I am doing for Skirts and Scuffs. You will find that Amanda opened up, sharing quite a bit with me for our readers as well as her and Scott's fans. Please enjoy learning a little more about her and her life with Scott and son Rex. I have found her to be a very sincere and highly motivated woman. A very loving wife and last but not least, a great mother.

LindiBess (LB)-While growing up, what were your passions or aspirations for your future?
Amanda $peed (A$)-“Growing up I wanted to be a lawyer, then a nurse, but eventually realized that racing is where my heart belongs. Every time I was away from the track, it made me miss it more. I have always been very independent. I would love to run my own race team/company. I wanna be the boss.”

LB-Were you active in any sports or activities during your school years? If yes, what?

A$-“I played softball in high school and was a cheerleader. I was always into working out and being one of the boys. I LOVE FOOTBALL!!"

LB-How did you and $cott meet?
A$-“While I was working at Bill Davis Racing, Slugger Labbe brought $cott in to introduce him to everyone because he was going to be driving some in the third truck. I was like WTF… I thought he was cute, but sooooo gay. We eventually started hanging out and getting pedicures and manicures together, as well as shopping. I totally thought he was my new gay best friend. However, soon thereafter one thing led to another, and well, he is definitely not gay. LOL.”

LB-Did you ever question getting involved with such an "outspoken" racecar driver?
A$-“ Oh hell yea, my dad always told me to stay away from racecar divers, they were bad news. Plus the fact that I had grown up around them all and saw how they acted. There was was no way in hell I was gonna date one. But somehow Scott suckered me in. LOL”


LB-How did $cott propose to you?
A$-“We hadn’t actually been dating that long before we got engaged/married. Basically we were lying on the couch around 3 a.m. watching TV. I was getting tired and wanted to go to bed, but he was like, 'Just wait till the end of the movie.'” Finally, after I bitched so much about being tired and I wanted up, he finally rolled over and got on his knee and proceeded to ask me. It took him a while to get it out. I remember him saying at one point, 'Wow, this is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.' I then realized what he was doing and said, ‘YES!’ He then proceeded to ask me when did I want to get married. I was like, 'I don’t know.' And we eventually decided on that same day. We got married in downtown Charlottte and kept it a secret until our wedding day the following year. It was a very Scott and Amanda moment. :) We had our wedding in Winston Salem, N.C., at Graylyn. It is an AMAZING place! So cool…. We had a photo booth, cotton candy machine, snow cones, cookies and milk. You name it, we had it. We even walked out to the Darth Vader Theme Song for my little boy, Rex. It was the best day ever!”



LB- How does he handle the attention $cott receives as a NSCS Driver?
A$-“$cott is Rex’s stepfather. But regardless, Rex thinks it is so cool. His favorite driver is Jeff Gordon, so for the last few years I have been trying to change him into a $cott $peed fan and I think it has worked. Rex loves to tell the kids at school how he gets to go to the track. It’s pretty funny. I will never let him get outta control with it though. I am a very grounded girl and I want Rex to be the same way.”

Rex at Charlotte 2009

LB-Does Rex want to be a racecar driver when he grows up? If yes, how do you feel about that?
A$-“Rex doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. He changes his mind everyday. He does want to race go-karts though, but it’ll be a few years before that happens. I think he is torn between drag racing and stock cars. Whatever Rex wants to do, we support, even if it isn’t racing.”

LB-What is your involvement in things associated with Scott’s career? Charities?
A$-“I do everything for him. LOL! Regardless of whether it is coordination appearances, interview, approving clothing with Red Bull. Whatever involves Scott in general, I handle. From his website to taking notes during the race to his schedules to his personal life. I am basically his motorsports manager without having the title. I am in the process of starting his fan club and his foundation, as well.”

LB-Given that racing can be unpredictable, how do you deal with the unexpected?
A$-“The fact that I have grown up around it and have actually lost a good friend to racing really puts things into perspective and taught me that it is what it is. You can’t be in this sport and be scared, if you are, you will never make it.”

LB-Can you share a moment in which $cott has really made you proud?
A$-“My proudest moment of $cott ever was the beginning of this year. Coming into 2010 we really didn’t know what to expect since the team had struggled so much last year. However, we had our hopes set high and at Daytona when his CC, Jimmy, left him on the track to lead the field near the end of the race and he held his own for 12 laps, I just sat on the pit box and cried. I cried tears of joy because I really felt that it was his defining moment in NASCAR. It made believers of those who didn’t believe and those who doubted him. It was a very powerful moment.”

Scott and Kyle Busch at Daytona
LB-Are there a lot pressures that come with your role as the wife of an NSCS driver?
A$-“Not really…it’s just according to who you are and how much you apply yourself. I am out there all the time and I know racing. I was here before $cott, so I think people respect $cott and I more because of that. When the crew, crew chief and fans talk, I know what is going on and can respond back, so it works for us.”

LB-The NASCAR season is a long one. What do you like most about being on the road? Least?
A$-“I love being on the road, because I have been my whole life, but sometimes breaks are good. The worst part about it is missing Rex. He goes too and I have him during the week every week, but he is in school right now. Missing him is the worst!!! The best part is just being is so many different places, so quickly. It keeps you busy and we like it.”

LB-What do you do to relax? Girlfriend time? Your "Happy Place"?
A$-“I love spending time with Rex. Whether it's at the track or watching movies at home. I just love being with him. He relaxes me! I also love to run. It relieves lots of stress.”

LB-When $cott and you need time to yourselves to relax and unwind, what is your favorite thing to do?
A$-“Lock ourselves in our bedroom for some ‘alone’ time.”

LB-Can you share something about $cott that the fans may not know?
A$-“There is not much people don’t know about $cott. LOL! He’s an amazing golfer and a very sweet husband. He is always wanting to cuddle or hold hands, which is what I love most about him. But he is sooooo unorganized.”

LB-Finish these statements:
A normal day in my life goes something like this……….. I get up at 5:15am, take Rex to school, then go to the gym for two hours. Hang with my family at their raceshop and work on $cott $peed stuff from there. Then later pick up up Rex from school, sometimes soccer practice. Home for dinner then review the day with $cott, then bed.”

A race day in our lives goes something like this……Wake up, eat oatmeal, go run, $cott practices/qualifies, which I tune in to. Return e-mails, organize website, chat and hang with crew chief, hang out with Kyle and Sam (normally dinner), watch movies, then bed.”

LB-For those who aren’t sure about $cott, what would you like to say?
A$-Scott is no different from every other driver out there, except for the fact that he speaks his mind and the rest of them hold it back. He is a very driven individual and thrives off of challenges. He may come across a little different than most people but really he is just like everyone else. He likes to have fun and sees no reason not to live life to the fullest.”

Thanks to Amanda for opening up a little and sharing a piece of her life with me. I enjoyed getting to know her a little better. Both Amanda and $cott Speed are available on Twitter as well as ScottSpeed.com.


Amanda_Speed

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