Red Bull Global Rallycross begins X Games weekend in Austin

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Tomorrow’s the big day for Red Bull Global Rallycross at X Games Austin, but it never hurts to have a good start. Today, the Circuit of the Americas saw the first round of heat races for the GRC contingent.

In Supercars, Andretti Autosport claimed two of the four heats with wins from Tanner Foust (Heat 1c) and Scott Speed (1D), while fellow Volkswagen squad Marklund Motorsport picked up one with Anton Marklund (1A) and Travis Pastrana grabbed one for Subaru (1B).

Based on today’s results, here’s how they’ll line up for the second heat tomorrow:

Heat 2A

  • Scott Speed (1st, Heat 1D)
  • Patrik Sandell (2nd, Heat 1C)
  • Austin Dyne (3rd, Heat 1A)
  • Ricky Johnson (4th, Heat 1B)
  • Pat Moro (5th, Heat 1D)

Heat 2B

  • Tanner Foust (1st, Heat 1C)
  • Ken Block (2nd, Heat 1B)
  • Bucky Lasek (3rd, Heat 1D)
  • Joni Wiman (4th, Heat 1A)
  • Steve Arpin (5th, Heat 1C)

Heat 2C

  • Anton Marklund (1st, Heat 1A)
  • Sverre Isachsen (2nd, Heat 1D)
  • Toomas Heikkinen (3rd, Heat 1B)
  • Liam Doran (4th, Heat 1C)

Heat 2D

  • Travis Pastrana (1st, Heat 1B)
  • Nelson Piquet Jr. (2nd, Heat 1A)
  • Rhys Millen (3rd, Heat 1C)
  • Brian Deegan (4th, Heat 1D)
  • Emma Gilmour (5th, Heat 1B)

This weekend’s format differs a bit from what normally occurs in a GRC weekend. Instead of a typical third heat and last chance qualifier, there is now a quarterfinal round, which will send the Top 3 finishers from each heat into two, six-car semifinals. Each of the semis will send the Top 3 into the six-car final round.

Tomorrow will begin with the aforementioned second heats in the morning, followed by the elimination rounds at 1:30 p.m. ET.

As for the Lites category, they too had a round of heats this afternoon in Austin. Atila Abreu, Mitchell DeJong, and Kevin Eriksson – all from Olsbergs MSE – were victorious.

The Lites semifinals are set for a 12:30 p.m. ET start. The Lites final (six cars) will take place afterwards with the Top 3 finishers from each semifinal heat:

Semifinal A

  • Mitchell DeJong (1st, Heat 1B)
  • Nelson Piquet Jr. (2nd, Heat 1A)
  • Austin Cindric (2nd, Heat 1C)
  • Colton Herta (3rd, Heat 1C)
  • Mark McKenzie (4th, Heat 1A)

Semifinal B

  • Kevin Eriksson (1st, Heat 1C)
  • Atila Abreu (1st, Heat 1A)
  • Geoff Sykes (2nd, Heat 1B)
  • Alejandro Fernandez (3rd, Heat 1B)
  • Tyler Benson (3rd, Heat 1A)

Red Bull GRC returns to the NBC airwaves with Volkswagen Rallycross DC, LIVE from RFK Stadium on June 22 at 2 p.m. ET.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Marco Andretti

Marco Andretti
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the Verizon IndyCar Series field in 2015 with Marco Andretti, who finished ninth after another top-10 season in points.

Marco Andretti, No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda

  • 2014: 9th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 5th, 2 Podiums, 2 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 23 Laps Led, 12.4 Avg. Start, 12.2 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 9th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 3rd, 2 Podiums, 4 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 60 Laps Led, 11.5 Avg. Start, 9.1 Avg. Finish

It was a dependable, quiet but usually consistent season from Marco Andretti, who up until the final quarter of the season had actually been his father’s most reliable finisher.

Andretti didn’t necessarily have a ton of standout drives but he was usually there or thereabouts, and by the end of the day he was often at the low ends of the top-10, which earlier this year given the at-times troublesome Honda aero kit package on road and street courses was more of an accomplishment than you’d think. Three top-10 results in the first four races was proof positive of that.

As ever Andretti excelled most on the big ovals. Sixth at the Indianapolis 500 was as good as was possible given the lack of top-end speed; similarly, he probably could have emerged at the head of the field at Fontana, ending third when all was said and done.

His best result was second in the rain at Detroit race one, although coming second to teammate Carlos Munoz had to sting a little bit. Andretti had driven well that race, and was unfortunate not to be rewarded with his first win in four years.

The thing that would have been his standout stat of the year, finishing every lap, game unglued with an odd accident on home soil in Pocono. It was a shame to see because Andretti was typically good, if not great, for yet another season.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Tony Kanaan

Tony Kanaan
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver lineup in the Verizon IndyCar Series, after the 2015 season, with eighth-placed Tony Kanaan.

Tony Kanaan, No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

  • 2014: 7th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 2nd, 6 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 12 Top-10, 407 Laps Led, 9.2 Avg. Start, 9.3 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 8th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 2nd, 3 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 213 Laps Led, 7.6 Avg Start, 9.9 Avg. Finish

You have to give TK credit. Armed with one of the best cars on the grid, Kanaan has certainly raised his game the last two years, and probably hasn’t received enough credit or enough results for some of his drives he’s put in since joining Chip Ganassi Racing after the 2013 season.

The 2015 season was no exception. All 10 of his top-10 finishes were between second and seventh, so there were plenty of times he was in win and podium contention. The other area where he improved was his qualifying. Kanaan only had two starts outside the top-12 all season, one of which occurred at Detroit race two, where the grid was set by points following a rain cancellation. Detroit was pretty much the only weekend where Kanaan didn’t figure into qualifying or the race. Blame the Taylor Swift-inspired Big Machine Records livery for that one if you want.

Accidents at the Indianapolis 500 and Pocono were costly retirements as Kanaan definitely had a shot to win both those races. But realistically you couldn’t find many other faults. Losing a sure win at Iowa due to a mechanical issue was a gutting blow. He was also unlucky to come up just shy at Fontana, and may have prevailed in a last-lap shootout.

More often that not however, Kanaan was firmly on top of his game, and reliably on par with his championship-winning teammate Scott Dixon, which was all you could ask for. It’s fitting the two of them opened the year as part of the winning lineup in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Kanaan then helping out matters by finishing ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya at Sonoma, to ensure Dixon had enough points to win the title on countback.