Red Bull GRC gears up for “monumental” event in Washington, D.C.

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After the first two rounds of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, the mission is clear for almost everybody in the paddock: Stop Scott Speed.

The ex-Formula One and NASCAR racer and his Andretti Autosport crew have shot out of the gates with back-to-back wins at Top Gear Festival Barbados and more recently at X Games Austin.

Those triumphs have enabled him to build a 28-point gap (110-83) early on in the driver’s championship over another ex-F1/NASCAR driver, Nelson Piquet Jr.

Now the scene shifts to RFK Stadium in Washington, DC – or, to be more precise, the “Festival Grounds” that lie outside the former longtime home of the Washington Redskins.

A half-mile, asphalt and dirt course has been constructed there, featuring a tantalizing passing opportunity at the Turn 3 hairpin, a jump between Turns 6 and 7, and a joker situated near the 10th and final turn.

The event is being put on by Andretti Sports Marketing, so expect Speed and Andretti Rallycross teammate Tanner Foust to be as motivated as ever (the latter especially so after his X Games run ended with a rollover in his quarterfinal heat).

As for Piquet, the closest championship pursuer to Speed, he believes that the DC track will lead to a wide-open affair for everyone.

“It has been a while since I last raced on a counter-clockwise track, so I think DC should be fun,” he said recently to the GRC website.

“I’m anticipating a lot of action in Washington. The track seems wider, with room for overtaking in the first two corners. I also like the balance in tarmac and dirt sections, a combination that should provide lots of fun for the drivers and a great show for the fans.”

Another driver to keep an eye on will be Bucky Lasek, who is coming off his first-ever GRC podium finish in Austin. As a native of suburban Baltimore (Dundalk, Maryland), the Subaru driver and skateboarding icon will enjoy home support this weekend.

Here’s the entry list for this weekend’s Volkswagen Rallycross DC event:

#00 Steve Arpin, Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
#04 Sarah Burgess, BMI Racing Chevrolet Sonic
#11 Sverre Isachsen, Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
#14 Austin Dyne, Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
#18 Patrik Sandell, Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
#27 Emma Gilmour, Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
#31 Joni Wiman, Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
#34 Tanner Foust, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
#43 Ken Block, Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
#67 Rhys Millen, Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
#75 Nelson Piquet Jr., SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
#77 Scott Speed, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
#81 Bucky Lasek, Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI

Additionally, here’s how the driver’s standings look heading in:

1. Scott Speed, 110 points
2. Nelson Piquet Jr., 83 points
3. Brian Deegan, 70 points
4. Steve Arpin, 69 points
5. Patrik Sandell, 52 points
6. Austin Dyne, 50 points
7. Bucky Lasek, 49 points
8. Joni Wiman, 39 points
9. Sverre Isachen, 34 points
10. Rhys Millen, 30 points
11. Ken Block, 29 points
12. Emma Gilmour, 15 points
13. Tanner Foust, 11 points
14. Pat Moro, 3 points

You can watch the event LIVE on NBC this Sunday, June 22, at 2 p.m. ET.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.