Ken Block reveals 2014 livery, schedule, and a crazy crash from 2013 (VIDEO)

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Rally driver Ken Block has a flair for the dramatic, and has cultivated a huge new media following through his series of Gymkhana videos (like Gym 6, linked here) and other rally events.

He’ll have a busy 2014, competing in several different rally divisions including a full year of Red Bull Global Rallycross in his Monster-backed, Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta.

Here’s the official release and schedule:

Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block is proud to debut his 2014 livery and announce his full race schedule for the year.
“I’m stoked with how the new liveries for my Ford Fiestas have turned out, as well as the race schedule we’ve been able to put together for 2014,” said Block. “Once again I’ve been fortunate enough to put together a highly diverse schedule that has me going around the world. I’m competing in the full Global RallyCross Championship, doing a handful of Rally America events, competing in a WRC round in Spain, doing the Monza Rally Sprint for the first time ever with Valentino Rossi as a teammate, returning to the Monster Energy Gymkhana GRID finale in Madrid, heading back to Japan to do more Gymkhana demos and, most interestingly, racing in three of the World RallyCross Championship rounds for the first time ever. I’m pretty sure nobody has a better job than me this year!”
In addition to having an action-packed year planned, Block has once again reinvented his race look for the 2014 season with a graphics package that will be incorporated across a full line of signature product including apparel from Hoonigan, sunglasses from SPY and RC cars from HPI.
“Every year I’m challenged with outdoing my livery from the season before,” said Block. “Luckily, I think we were able to do it once again. This year’s livery mixes animal pattern and 8-bit, which I love. We’ve come up with a sort of digital zebra graphic that I think is awesome and also brings me back into that familiar black and white color scheme I had starting back in 2010. I think the fans are going to enjoy this look.”
To catch Block and his all-new livery in action, be sure to follow along this coming weekend as he takes part in Rally America’s Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, where Block will be looking to reignite his winning streak for that event.
Block’s 2014 schedule:
Global RallyCross Championship:
  • GRC Barbados: 5/18/14
  • GRC X Games Austin: 6/17/14
  • GRC Washington D.C.: 6/22/14
  • GRC New York: 7/20/14
  • GRC Charlotte: 7/26/14
  • GRC Detroit: 8/3/14
  • GRC Daytona: 8/23/14
  • GRC Los Angeles: 9/20/14
  • GRC Seattle: 9/27/14
  • GRC Las Vegas: 11/5/14
Stage Rally:
  • Rally America Rally in the 100 Acre Wood: 2/21-22
  • Rally America Suesquehannock Trail Performance Rally: 5/30-31
  • WRC Spain: 10/24-26
  • Monza Rally Show: 11/22-24
World RallyCross Championship:
  • WRxC Norway: 6/14-15
  • WRxC France: 9/6-7
  • WRxC Turkey: 10/11-12
Gymkhana demos:
  • Japan: 7/5-6
  • Gymkhana GRID, Madrid: 11/1-2

Meanwhile, apart from the 2014 preview, Block has one look back at how his 2013 Rally America Championship title quest ended. A single missed pace note – the word “in” was left off – caused a barrel roll of an accident. Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino relive the moment in the below video.

NHRA: Chad Head to substitute for Alexis DeJoria in Charlotte

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Alexis DeJoria will miss this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, with her Kalitta Motorsports team confirming DeJoria will need to tend to a family matter.

Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports Director of Safety, will step into the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry this weekend. No timetable was given for DeJoria’s return; after Charlotte this weekend, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues for its third consecutive race weekend next week in Atlanta.

This isn’t the first race DeJoria has had to miss recently, as she also was diagnosed with a concussion and missed the 2016 NHRA season finale in Pomona.

F1 Paddock Pass: Russian Grand Prix (VIDEO)

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Following his victory in Bahrain two weeks ago, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel arrived in Russia on Thursday targeting a third win of the year to extend his lead at the top of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship.

Not since 2004 has a Ferrari driver made such a good start to a season, putting Vettel in contention for a fifth world title this year – although with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton hot on his tail, it will have to be a hard-earned success.

The fourth round of the year sees F1 head to the Olympic city of Sochi, which hosted the winter games back in 2014. The Sochi Autodrom played host to its first grand prix the same year, and is now a key part of Russia’s post-Olympic legacy.

Bringing you all of the latest news and interviews ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, Will Buxton brings you Paddock Pass.

 

Times: F1, IndyCar, Red Bull GRC all on NBC, NBCSN this weekend

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This is NBC Sports Group’s first tripleheader weekend of the 2017 motorsports season, with all of Formula 1, the Verizon IndyCar Series and Red Bull Global Rallycross in action across NBC, NBCSN and CNBC this weekend. The full release with more information is linked here, via the NBC Sports Group Press Box website.

The IndyCar race is first up, as it airs Saturday night from Phoenix International Raceway, with the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix on 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Formula 1 then heads to Russia for the Russian Grand Prix, with coverage beginning Sunday morning on NBCSN at 7 a.m. ET with F1 Countdown.

Red Bull GRC’s kickoff to its 2017 season at Memphis airs at 1 p.m. ET on NBC.

The full breakdown of this weekend’s motorsports coverage is below. Streaming is also available for all shows on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports App, with links available via NBCSports.com/live.

Following is this week’s motorsports coverage schedule on NBCSN:

Date Program Network Time (ET)
Thurs., April 27 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – Bristol NBCSN 11 p.m.
Fri., April 28 F1 Russian Grand Prix – Practice 1 Streaming* 4 a.m.
F1 Russian Grand Prix – Practice 2 NBCSN 8 a.m.
Mecum Auctions – Monterey (Encore) NBCSN 12 p.m.
IndyCar Phoenix Grand Prix – Qualifying Streaming* 11 p.m.
Sat., April 29 F1 Russian Grand Prix – Practice 3 Streaming* 5 a.m.
F1 Russian Grand Prix – Qualifying CNBC 8 a.m.
F1 Russian Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) NBCSN 6 p.m.
IndyCar Phoenix Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) NBCSN 7:30 p.m.
IndyCar Phoenix Grand Prix NBCSN 9 p.m.
IndyCar Post-Race NBCSN 11:30 p.m.
Sun., April 30 F1 Countdown NBCSN 7 a.m.
F1 Russian Grand Prix NBCSN 7:30 a.m.
F1 Extra NBCSN 10 a.m.
Red Bull Global RallyCross – Memphis NBC 1 p.m.
F1 Russian Grand Prix (Encore) NBCSN 4:30 p.m.

INFOGRAPHICS

F1 (Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett, Will Buxton)

INDYCAR (Rick Allen, Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy, Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt, Robin Miller)

RED BULL GRC (Toby Moody, Anders Krohn, Will Christien)

Vettel tips Mercedes to strike back at Ferrari in Russia

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SOCHI, Russia (AP) Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari have had the upper hand so far in Formula One.

They don’t expect to have it against Lewis Hamilton this weekend at the Russian Grand Prix.

The long straights in Sochi suit Mercedes, which has won all three races to date around Olympic Park.

With two wins from three races, Vettel is seven points ahead of Hamilton in the standings, but expects that lead to come under pressure from the Mercedes drivers on Sunday.

“On paper, it’s a very, very strong circuit for them,” Vettel said. “A lot of straights, a power-sensitive circuit, so we’ll see, but there’s also a lot of corners where I believe last year already the (Ferrari) car was very good.”

Vettel’s wins in Australia and last time out in Bahrain have already disrupted the Mercedes dominance of the previous three seasons. Turning those promising signs into a serious title challenge over the remaining 17 races is a different proposition.

“We had a great start, yes. We’re very happy about it, yes. But have we, you know, achieved anything yet? No,” said Vettel, a four-time champion with his previous team Red Bull. “Head down and full steam for this race.”

Hamilton said he was hoping for a “counterattack” in Russia, but warned that Mercedes’ history of dominance in Sochi doesn’t mean an easy win is on the cards.

“If we win, it’s going to be earned, and we’re here to earn it,” he said. “We’re just going to have to drive the socks off the car.”

Hamilton and Vettel have beaten their respective teammates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen in all three races this season. As the title race takes shape, Bottas and Raikkonen face being forced to sacrifice their own opportunities to help a more successful teammate’s title chances.

When Mercedes teammates Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fought for last year’s title with other teams far behind, letting them fight it out on the track carried less of a risk. In 2017, Ferrari and Mercedes know that if one of their drivers fights his teammate, it could allow the other team to steal valuable points.

Raikkonen, a former champion who hasn’t won a race since 2013, said he’d help Vettel’s title hopes “if it comes to that at the end of the year,” but doesn’t see himself as No. 2. Vettel said it was too early in the season to talk team orders.

At Mercedes, there’s a stark contrast between Bottas and Rosberg, who had a fierce rivalry with Hamilton for years before winning the 2016 title and promptly retiring.

“Our job is to get maximum points (for the team). If I’m ordered to move over, I will,” Bottas said. “But I’m working to make sure I’m not in that position.”

No fan of team orders, Hamilton said Mercedes will order one of its drivers to let the other pass only in “special circumstances,” but added: “Our approach is, the team needs to win.”

Bottas was ordered to let Hamilton, who was on fresher tires, pass in Bahrain so that the British driver could attack Vettel.

“Whilst it was very tough for him, he was a great gentleman about it,” Hamilton said, adding he’d have done the same for Bottas if ordered to.

The Finn admitted he’s still learning how to get the most out of the car after joining Mercedes in January at short notice when Rosberg announced his retirement.

“It’s all about fine details in the fight between us and Ferrari and obviously it’s also very close between teammates as well, so every little bit helps,” Bottas said. “These 100 days, I’ve never in my life learned so much.”

The only team capable of challenging Mercedes and Ferrari so far is Red Bull, which showed its potential with third in China for Max Verstappen.

However, reliability has stopped Red Bull gathering much momentum, with brake failure for Verstappen at the last race in Bahrain, and a fuel pressure issue for Daniel Ricciardo in Australia.

Ricciardo said he’s hoping for “a bit of a bullet” when promised upgrades arrive at the next race in Spain. That could make the championship a “three-way fight” with Ferrari and Mercedes, he added.