Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull GRC: Saturday heat races, pre-race notebook

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LOS ANGELES – Once again, there are lots to get through before the semifinals and finals start today at Red Bull Global Rallycross’ season finale weekend, Red Bull GRC Los Angeles presented by Honda.

Here’s a recap of a number of nuggets around the paddock:

Heat race winners are:

  • Supercars: Heat 1A: Scott Speed; Heat 1B: Joni Wiman; Heat 2A: Scott Speed; Heat 2B: Joni Wiman
  • GRC Lites: Heat 1A: Alex Keyes; Heat 1B: Oliver Eriksson

The track here at Port of Los Angeles is painted pink in portions (pictured, top) at what’s ordinarily red curbing and off-course areas. Susan G. Komen Foundation representatives will be on site to educate and bring attention to the initiative, as well as accepting donations. This weekend’s course will also feature pink and white stripes on the infield to promote awareness.

Per the series, it took five people over three days to paint the track with two primary painters and the other three people assisting.

Great crowd thus far from those who’ve made it on the grounds at the Port of LA. It was a really long line for fans to get in:

Henry Ford III is here to provide a Ford family presence on site this weekend. There’s five Ford Fiesta STs entered within GRC’s Supercars class (two Chip Ganassi Rallycross, one Bryan Herta Rallysport, one SH Rallycross/DRR and one AD Racing) among the 13-car field, which is most in the field. By comparison, there’s three Hondas and Subarus apiece, and two Volkswagens.

On Friday, IndyCar veteran Oriol Servia made it out to the track for a day of ride-alongs and taking in the atmosphere. The Catalan rode shotgun with Steve Arpin, driver of the No. 00 ENEOS USA Ford Fiesta ST for Chip Ganassi Rallycross. Servia had a blast doing so, although I’ll admit it was weird to see him as a passenger and not driving himself!

Servia, who lives in nearby Santa Monica, is not the only member of the IndyCar world here this weekend. It actually feels as though it’s an IndyCar weekend with the high volume of IndyCar people present.

To wit, we’ve seen:

  • Michael Andretti and Rob Edwards (Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross)
  • Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan (SH Rallycross/DRR)
  • Bryan Herta (Bryan Herta Rallysport)
  • Dennis Reinbold (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing)
  • Conor Daly (Dale Coyne Racing in IndyCar; guest of Honda this weekend)
  • Dale Coyne (attending his first GRC race)

Many of the IndyCar team owners or co-owners often can’t attend Red Bull GRC races owing to IndyCar conflicts.

Daly, who’s here as a guest of Honda this weekend, is expected to test drive one of Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE’s Honda Civic Coupes on Monday after the weekend. The talented, young American overachieved this year with Coyne’s IndyCar team and remains determined to continue in the championship for a second full season, although nothing for him is done yet.

Had a long chat with Buddy Rice, who is program manager for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s GRC Lites team. Rice hailed the camaraderie of the Red Bull GRC paddock, noting how much other teams will help pitch in when cars go down with damage or mechanical failures. Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion, drove for DRR during portions of his IndyCar career, which spanned from 2002 through 2011.

DRR’s two GRC Lites drivers are motivated to succeed this weekend. Alex Keyes won his first heat race in the No. 24 Traction Factory/WIX Filters entry, Heat 1A. Keyes told NBC Sports the track at LA this year is significantly wider and faster, but it’s still difficult to pass.

Cabot Bigham meanwhile, suffered a setback in his heat race in the No. 2 Paratek Pharmaceuticals/WIX Filters entry and the crew was thrashing on his car after his heat race.

Past DRR Lites driver Miles Maroney and his father Michael are on site this weekend, catching up with drivers and teams in the paddock. The younger Maroney, now 23 and who made his debut in the American Le Mans Series as a 17-year-old in PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Prototype Challenge car at Long Beach in April 2011, is looking to get back into the series, with a Supercars drive the target for the talented Californian.

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

Patrik Sandell’s No. 18 Cuttwood Ford Fiesta ST for Bryan Herta Rallysport features King Taco signage on the left and right rear window covers. The California restaurant was also on Alexander Rossi’s No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda of Andretti-Herta Autosport for the Verizon IndyCar Series weekend here in April.

More to follow after this afternoon’s semifinals and final round races.

GoDaddy to sponsor Patrick in ‘Danica Double’ at Daytona, Indy — now all she needs are rides

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By The Associated Press

Danica Patrick is going back to green.

GoDaddy Green, to be exact – a fitting color for her farewell tour.

The company will sponsor Patrick in the upcoming “Danica Double” that will close out her racing career, The Associated Press has learned. Patrick has no ride yet for next month’s Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500 in May, but she now has the financial backing to pull it off.

This time around, the original GoDaddy Girl will symbolize the new core mission of the company that helped make her one of the world’s most recognizable athletes.

“There’s this great story: I left IndyCar with GoDaddy on my car, I started NASCAR with GoDaddy on my car, I’m most recognized as the GoDaddy green car and driver, and so to finish up my career that way feels appropriate,” Patrick told the AP from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Her final race will be the Indy 500, an appropriate choice because it was “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” that rocketed Patrick and GoDaddy into pop culture notoriety.

GoDaddy and Patrick grew up together. The company switched series with her and marketed her as a strong, sexy woman in 13 Super Bowl commercials – a record appearance for celebrities. Now, the company is most interested in Patrick the budding businesswoman who is firmly closing the door on her racing career and rebranding herself as an entrepreneur . She has a book out, an apparel line, a wine label and confirmed to AP this week that she’s dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Our goals are so well-aligned,” Barb Rechterman, the chief marketing officer of GoDaddy, told AP. “She’s passionate, tenacious and creative just like so many of our customers who are also looking to leverage the power of the internet and turn their `side hustle’ into a full-time business. Danica absolutely epitomizes the heart of our GoDaddy customers.”

Prepare to hear a lot about the “side hustle” as GoDaddy climbs aboard the so-far fledgling “Danica Double.”

Patrick announced in November she would end her driving career with the Daytona 500 and Indy 500, but didn’t have a deal completed for either race. Still doesn’t. Yet somehow, Patrick always figures a way to get what she wants. Talks ended with Chip Ganassi Racing about a possible ride, and late last month, Patrick said, she called former GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and asked about a reunion.

GoDaddy has rebranded since it last teamed with Patrick. The company now touts itself as “the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures,” and there’s no better spokeswoman than Patrick, who is in the next chapter of her life and her brand.

GoDaddy pulled out of racing after the 2015 season, and Patrick hasn’t had the same level of funding and marketing support since. Patrick has slowly reshaped her image, first into a Instagram model and is now a full-blown lifestyle guru. She realized – at the age of 35 – she was on her own.

She and GoDaddy aligned for a splashy move into NASCAR, where she was glamorous off the track but only mediocre on it. Through all of this, she was married, divorced, spent five years dating fellow driver and competitor Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and then seemed to find herself through a tailored diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

She is cutting the cord on racing after Indy, and her focus is on a sense of well-being far away from the track.

“Their business is so perfectly paired to what is going on with mine, so when we sat down and met, it was like, `Let’s talk about our business. Let’s talk about the messaging. How does this work?”‘ Patrick said. “And this is undeniably perfect for both of us. Not only is it a huge two races and the biggest two races of the year, but on top of that, you have so much `side hustle’ going on, and all the messaging and our brands, and where we are going is so perfectly paired.”w

GoDaddy can help Patrick move on to whatever it is for racing’s former “It Girl.” The company will help her streamline her online presence. Patrick, for the company, is back as a neon green-and-yellow symbol to all the wannabe entrepreneurs chasing dreams.

She’ll get those rides, too. Patrick said she knows she will because she believes she will.

“That’s just the way the universe works,” she said. “You have to ask for what you want. Things have taken a long time with this, but you just have to go with the flow on these things. The universe is not on your time schedule.”

More AP auto racing: https://racing.ap.org/