Alex Keyes

On Friday, Alex Keyes joined J.R. Todd at qualifying for the Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo: Gary Nastase)

NHRA’s J.R. Todd, Red Bull GRC’s Alex Keyes crossover their rides

Leave a comment

WIX Filters-supported drivers J.R. Todd (NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Funny Car) and Alex Keyes (Red Bull Global Rallycross, GRC Lites) participated in a ride swap over the last few days, with Keyes paying a visit to Todd’s most recent NHRA race in Las Vegas for his first nitro experience and Todd swinging back to Indianapolis to check out Keyes’ world of rallycross.

The release with full details is below:

Just days after Global Rallycross driver Alex Keyes experienced nitro for the first time, J.R. Todd completed the crossover as he stepped behind the wheel of Keyes’ WIX Filters machine this morning.

Todd strapping aboard the WIX Filters GRC Lite machine. (Photo: Kalitta Motorsports)

At a closed test session in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Raceway, Keyes drove Todd around the prepped track before turning over the wheel completely to Todd. The NHRA veteran made two three-lap segments and was completely blown away.

“It is pretty cool to be driving around here where we typically park our 18-wheelers when we are here racing,” said Todd, driver of the DHL/WIX Filters Toyota Camry Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports. “It gives you a new respect for what these guys do. You are shifting gears going all the way around the course, it is a lot of fun. It is easy to go as fast as you can on the straightaways, but then you got get on the brakes to get on the corners that are always coming up. Huge thanks to Alex and the WIX Filters team for having me out.”

Keyes said he jumped the first time he experienced nitro. (Photo: Gary Nastase)

Blown away could also discribe Keyes’ experience as he stood behind a 10,000-horsepower nitro-burning machine just days ago as Todd qualified for the Las Vegas Nationals on Friday.

“It was so sweet. I have seen NHRA on TV and I know they are fast, but it just does not do them justice,” said Keyes, driver of the WIX Filters GRC Lite for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. “First off, I did not know that they ran on nitro, so I was crying a little bit. Then got to the starting line and wasn’t anticipating it and I jumped. After that, I got to watch about 10 runs. When you know its coming it is sweet. You feel it through your chest and it is definitely a cool experience.”

Both are making plans to attend the other’s actual events this season. Currently, Todd sits 10th in the NHRA point standings after four of 24 events, while Keyes will make his 2017 debut at the GRC season opener in Memphis at the end of the month.

Red Bull GRC: DRR confirms three GRC Lites drivers for 2017

All photos courtesy Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Leave a comment

Alex Keyes, Travis PeCoy and Christian Brooks will seek to deliver Dreyer & Reinbold Racing another championship in the GRC Lites division of Red Bull Global Rallycross, after Cabot Bigham did so last year.

The release and details of the program are below:

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, the defending Red Bull Rallycross Lites champions, announced today that young driving stars Alex Keyes, Christian Brooks and Travis PeCoy have signed with the team to compete in the 12-race 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites division beginning at the series opener scheduled for April 28-29 in Memphis, Tenn.

Keyes, Brooks and PeCoy return to the highly-competitive GRC Lites division with the reigning Lites series winners in Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, the Indiana-based operation which captured five Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites Series main events, 23 heat races and seven fast qualifying honors in 2016. Keyes, racing a limited schedule in 2016, scored two main event wins, seven heat race victories and five fast qualifying times for DRR.

“I am extremely thrilled to announce the three-driver lineup with Alex, Christian and Travis joining our Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Lites team in 2017,” said Dennis Reinbold, team owner of the DRR organization. “All three of the drivers have shown tremendous potential in the Lites cars already and we feel this ‘Triple Threat’ offers us another great chance to repeat as Series champions. We’re very excited to have Buddy Rice back as our Lites director, Jeff Britton returning as our chief engineer and to maintain the continuity of our high-quality core group of personnel, which we believe positions us very well for another run at a championship in 2017. I couldn’t be more excited for the 2017 season.”

Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion, will continue to serve as DRR’s Lites director in 2017 where he will oversee the DRR Lites program and focus on driver development. Britton also has been a race-winning engineer in the Verizon IndyCar Series for the past 20 years.

“We believe that our three young Lites drivers are very talented and Alex, Christian and Travis have a great opportunity to battle for the Lites championship in 2017,” said Rice, also a Rolex 24 winner at Daytona. “Alex is already a race winner in the Lites division and Christian and Travis have been winners in other racing divisions and showed potential in their rookie seasons in GRC Lites last year. With some early testing, I think we can develop all three Lites cars into winning machines for the three drivers.”

Alex Keyes.
Alex Keyes.

Keyes, 19, enters his third GRC Lites season in 2017 but his third-year as a GRC Lites competitor, as the Folsom, Calif., racer has been a regular on the victory podium in 2015 and 2016. Keyes, coming from open-wheel racing including winning a Formula Pro Mazda title, has recorded five career Lites feature wins as well as taking numerous Lites heat races and No. 1 qualifying spots. Alex will drive the No. 24 car for DRR in 2017.

“I’m excited to be back in the Red Bull GRC Lites in 2017, but I’m stoked to be back with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing,” said Keyes, who scored features at Atlantic City and Los Angeles last year. “Over the past few years, I have gotten to know this team, not only have we been successful but they have become a family to me. I think we have a recipe for success. Everyone from Dennis, Buddy, our mechanics and our partners are all motivated to win this year. I’m looking forward to working with Travis and Christian too. DRR always has a great atmosphere so I look for us to elevate each other.”

Christian Brooks.
Christian Brooks.

Brooks, 16, comes to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing after his rookie season in GRC Lites in 2016 with a stellar racing career in karting. The Santa Clarita, Calif., driver spent ten years in various karting divisions and took championships in the 2011 US Rotax Grand Nationals and the 2012 and 2016 Rotax Challenge of the Americas.

Last year, Christian recorded three top-five finishes in main events and placed fifth in the final Lites point standings. Brooks, a “fan favorite” throughout the 12-event Red Bull GRC Lites series, will pilot the No. 44 machine for DRR in 2017.

“Driving for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is truly an honor,” said Brooks. “To be among the historic list of drivers to compete for the team will be something that pushes me to the limit and to achieve the best results possible. With one GRC Lites season under my belt and a championship team behind me, I am entering the year with high confidence and I’m excited about the 2017 season!”

Travis Pecoy.
Travis Pecoy.

PeCoy, 16, also debuted in the Red Bull GRC Lites category in 2016 with a second place in the Atlantic City feature and a heat race win. The Yorba Linda, Calif., high schooler comes from an off-road background where his father, Bobby, is a multi-time winner. Travis scored five off-road championships early in his racing career as well as taking a world title. Last season was PeCoy’s first experience racing on pavement but he quickly showed his potential despite a limited schedule. Travis will compete for the DRR squad in the No. 3 Lites car.

“I’m very excited to join a championship-winning team this year with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing,” said PeCoy. “I think we can work together in hopes of gaining a 1-2-3 in the championship. I want to be in contention for the title. GRC is a chance to show who I am and what I have to offer through driving and self-preservation. I’m a normal kid – I go to school dances and I play video games, surf, ride mountain bikes and snowboard. But I’m ready for the potential of having a great race team in 2017.”

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will utilize the spec GRC Lites machines from Olsbergs, the all-wheel drive vehicles with six-speed sequential transmissions and 310-horsepower engines.

DRR will announce a full roster of commercial partners for the Red Bull GRC Lites team in the near future.

The Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites division will be televised nationally with each event being produced on the NBC Sports Network.

Red Bull GRC: Speed, Keyes win Saturday races in LA

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
Leave a comment

Editor’s note – there’s been a late add to the programming schedule with today’s first Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercars race airing tonight at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on NBCSN. Coverage continues as scheduled on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT on NBC. Full recaps from today’s races are below:

LOS ANGELES – Scott Speed (Supercars) and Alex Keyes (GRC Lites) have claimed victories in the second-to-last races of Red Bull Global Rallycross’ 2016 season at the Red Bull GRC Los Angeles presented by Honda.

Both drivers dominated their races from pole, but that did not mean both races were lacking in action. It was far from it in both categories.

Speed, who entered 13 points behind Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross teammate Tanner Foust entering the weekend (465-452) launched off the line and was well clear of Foust, with both of the #PinkBeetle cars running away from the rest of the field.

Foust’s best chance to overtake him came when he took the Honda Joker Lap on the 12th and last lap of the final.
Although that cut the deficit significantly once Foust took the Joker, he was unable to overcome the deficit Speed had built up in his No. 41 Beetle GRC the rest of the race. The win is Speed’s fourth this season.

Steve Arpin launched from the fourth and final row of the grid, 10thh place, up to fifth by the end of the first lap in his No. 00 Ford Fiesta ST for Chip Ganassi Rallycross. Only a couple laps later, he was up to third, where he ran for the remainder of the race.

The most dramatic moment of the race came when Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE’s Joni Wiman and Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins actually collided in mid-air going over the jump on Lap 5 when engaged in a battle for fifth place. Wiman went to Higgins’ inside and his right rear tire of his No. 31 Honda Civic Coupe hit the No. 75 Subaru WRX-STi, which punctured it. Wiman limped around from there and ultimately retired. Brian Deegan leapt to fourth in his No. 38 Ganassi Ford behind the top three.

The final battle in the race occurred for fifth, with Wiman’s teammate Sebastian Eriksson prevailing in a last-lap scrap over Patrik Sandell of Bryan Herta Rallysport. However, after the race, Eriksson was dropped to ninth place for aggressive driving, with a five-second penalty assessed.

Higgins was seventh ahead of teammate Chris Atkinson, who had a miserable start and spent the race recovering, with Supercars debutantes Mitchell DeJong (Honda) and Tanner Whitten (SH Rallycross/DRR) completing the top 10. Wiman and Austin Dyne retired from the race.

In GRC Lites, Keyes took his No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing entry to an early lead over points leader Oliver Eriksson (No. 16 Olsbergs MSE X Forces), teammate Miki Weckstrom (No. 45), Colin Braun (No. 54 CORE autosport) and Travis PeCoy (No. 3 AF Racing).

Weckstrom used the Honda Joker Lap to get past Eriksson and Braun into second before the drama intensified behind them.

Braun darted to the inside of Eriksson into the left-hander before the jump, which knocked Eriksson off the road and out of the race.

Keyes won from Weckstrom, Braun, Cabot Bigham and Christian Brooks on the road. Braun was disqualified from the race after the contact with Eriksson, and that brought everyone from Bigham in fourth up one position.

Points standings will follow in due course ahead of tomorrow’s season finales, when the championships will be determined.

Today’s first Supercars race will air tonight at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on NBCSN, a bonus broadcast. Full coverage from the weekend airs Sunday at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT on NBC.

Alex Keyes breaks through for GRC Lites win at Atlantic City

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
Leave a comment

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Alex Keyes, who’s running a limited season in the GRC Lites division of Red Bull Global Rallycross this season, secured his first 2016 win on Sunday in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Teammate Cabot Bigham finished fifth and retains the GRC Lites points lead, with two more weekends of the year to go in Seattle and Los Angeles. Bigham won the series’ most recent final round in Washington, D.C.

The series’ race recap is below:

IN BRIEF: Alex Keyes did something he’d never done before: he won every single session of GRC Lites action in Atlantic City. From turning the fastest laps in practice and qualifying, to winning both of his heats and the main event, he posted the first perfect weekend of his career; first-time podium finisher Travis PeCoy and Colin Braun placed second and third.

HEAT RECAPS: Keyes blasted out to the lead in both of his heats to back up his pole position and earn lane choice in the main event. Conner Martell, who qualified second overall, won the other first-round heat, but fell back to third in the second round; instead, it was AF Racing Team’s Christian Brooks who would take his first career heat victory in that session. Braun would earn the win in the last chance qualifier over defending series champion Oliver Eriksson.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: For a majority of the race, the podium wasn’t in question; Keyes jumped out to an early lead, PeCoy settled into second place by the second lap, and Braun staked a claim to third place before the race reached halfway. But behind them, the field shuffled throughout the race, with championship contenders having to deal with the implications.

Miki Weckstrom briefly held a top-three spot, but slid back in the pack as the race went on. Martell also had to claw his way forward in the main event to get back into the top six. It was championship leader Cabot Bigham who did the most work to get up front, though; after falling back to ninth on the start, he still made his way back up to fifth. Likewise, Eriksson still managed to salvage fourth place after his LCQ appearance.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: The results from Sunday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Atlantic City, the ninth round of the 2016 GRC Lites season:

  1. Alex Keyes, #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
  2. Travis PeCoy, #3 AF Racing Team
  3. Colin Braun, #56 CORE autosport
  4. Oliver Eriksson, #16 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
  5. Cabot Bigham, #2 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
  6. Conner Martell, #21 DirtFish Motorsports
  7. Miki Weckstrom, #45 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
  8. Sandra Hultgren, #51 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
  9. Christian Brooks, #44 AF Racing Team
  10. Alejandro Fernandez, #126 AF Racing Team
  11. Cole Keatts, #53 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
  12. Jon Bennett, #54 CORE autosport

QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Sunday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Atlantic City, the ninth round of the 2016 GRC Lites season:

Alex Keyes, #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: “This is a great way to end my half of the year! It’s actually been a pretty rough year so far, I haven’t had the results that I’ve wanted, and I’ve made some mistakes along the way. It feels great to finish good, because there are a lot of great people behind it. We have some new partners, but I’m still at DRR—I love the team and everyone on there. We have a mechanic with a birthday today, so this is a nice gift for him. Everyone on the team has been great, and it’s been a great year.”

Travis PeCoy, #3 AF Racing Team: “It’s been building this whole season. The last race, I was fourth and chasing the podium, so I had to get it done this weekend. Keyes was unstoppable this weekend, so kudos to him—he was on rails all day. The Joker really came in handy, and then Weckstrom made a mistake, so I was able to capitalize on that. It was really good racing, thanks to everyone who ran a proper and clean race, and thanks to my whole team. They work so hard, especially coming off of a terrible qualifying run, so it was a surprise to find myself in second. I’m stoked for my mechanics and all my sponsors.”

Colin Braun, #56 CORE autosport: “It’s a blast! This is so fun, very different from what I came from in the style of racing. We proved today that if you find yourself in the LCQ, and you have a fast car, you’re not out of it—but it makes it a lot harder. Hats off to these guys. The CORE autosport guys did a great job of getting the car fixed back up in between rounds, my spotter made a good call on the Joker, and we had good pace. It’s a whole new world, and it’s a blast.”

FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from Sunday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Atlantic City, the ninth round of the 2016 GRC Lites season:

  • Alex Keyes earned the fourth victory of his GRC Lites career, and his first of the 2016 season, on Sunday at Bader Field. It was Keyes’ second podium of the season after a third place in Phoenix, in his final scheduled appearance with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing this year.
  • Travis PeCoy earned his first career Lites podium by placing second in Atlantic City. He also gave the AF Racing Team its first podium result of 2016, while besting a season-high result of fourth earned at Washington DC last month.
  • Colin Braun gave CORE autosport its second podium finish of the season with a third place result on Sunday. Braun’s first podium of the year came in his Lites debut in Daytona in June.
  • None of the top five drivers in the championship standings earned podium finishes on Sunday. Oliver Eriksson (second in points) led the group with a fourth place run, while championship leader Cabot Bigham followed him in fifth.
  • Christian Brooks won the first heat of his GRC Lites career in the second round of heats on Sunday. Brooks finished ninth in the main event.

UNOFFICIAL DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Cabot Bigham, 344
  2. Oliver Eriksson, 324
  3. Miki Weckstrom, 306
  4. Conner Martell, 267
  5. Christian Brooks, 210
  6. Alex Keyes, 178
  7. Travis PeCoy, 175
  8. Tanner Whitten, 165
  9. Alejandro Fernandez, 153
  10. Colin Braun, 106
  11. Collete Davis, 94
  12. Parker Chase, 85
  13. Harry Gottsacker, 85
  14. Trenton Estep, 57
  15. Blake “Bilko” Williams, 55
  16. Sandra Hultgren, 36
  17. Preston Murray, 33
  18. Jon Bennett, 29
  19. Cole Keatts, 15
  20. Nur Ali, 3

Alex Keyes confirms GRC Lites return with DRR, WIX Filters

Photo: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Leave a comment

Past GRC Lites division race winner Alex Keyes will continue in the division this year, the second rung in the Red Bull Global Rallycross, and is back with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

The full release is below:

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (DRR) is excited to announce Alex Keyes, three-time Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) feature winner, will return to the racetrack this season. Driving in the No. 24 DRR Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites car, Keyes will showcase WIX®Filters as the primary sponsor partner for six races.

Keyes, the 18-year-old driver from Folsom, California, made a dramatic debut last year with Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites victories at the New River Military Base, Washington D.C., and the season finale in Las Vegas. In addition, Keyes recorded four podium finishes and placed sixth in the final Lites point standings as a rookie.

The former open-wheel star is scheduled to compete in numerous 2016 Red Bull GRC Lites events including the season-opening weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona, May 20-22. The No. 24 will feature WIX primary livery at the famed Daytona International Speedway June 17-19, as well as at The Base at MCAS New River in Jacksonville, NC on July 1-3, in Washington D.C. on July 30, and in Atlantic City on August 28. WIX will serve as a full time major associate partner for the Red Bull GRC Lites season on the No. 24 entry. 

“We love partnering with these young drivers,” said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX. “Their passion for the sport only equals their enthusiasm for their fans, and it’s remarkable to be around. The energy is infectious, and we can’t wait to see how this year unfolds.”

WIX products include oil, air and fuel filters that have been track-tested and proven in all levels of stock car, dirt track, off-road and drag racing. WIX uses motorsports as a grueling testing ground for scenarios involving high temperatures, fluctuations in pressure and rapid breakdown in engine oil.

“I’m very excited to return with the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team in 2016,” said Keyes, a former Formula Car Challenge Series champion in 2014. “Last year’s series was an eye-opening experience, and I learned a lot. But the biggest take away for me? It was the most fun I’ve ever had racing; it was intense. You always had to be on top of it. There’s a learning process, and once I worked through mistakes and the team as a whole started to learn the cars, we really found a good rhythm.” 

DRR will field two Red Bull GRC Lites machines in 2016, including the No. 2 DRR Red Bull GRC Lites entry with newcomer Cabot Bigham and Paratek Pharmaceuticals. Coming off a 2015 season resulting in four wins and eight podium finishes, DRR is poised for continued success in 2016. The DRR organization has been successful in the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2000 and continues to expand its effort within both Red Bull GRC SuperCar and Lites series.

“We are very pleased to have both WIX Filters and Alex back with our Lites program in 2016. WIX has been a partner since the beginning, and we believe the pairing couldn’t be a more appropriate fit,” said Dennis Reinbold, team owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. “Alex has developed into a strong contender and team leader, winning three races with us in 2015. He’s gained the experience and confidence to win at any circuit in the series. We’re excited to have Alex debut at the season opener, and we look forward to working hard and producing results both on- and off-track for WIX in 2016.”

Keyes, 18, was a successful karting racer for six years before moving into formula cars in 2013 where he was chosen as a Lynx Racing Academy driver, competing in the Pacific F1600 series. In 2014, he moved up to the West Coast Formula Pro Mazda class and captured the title with ten wins and 13 pole positions. He also competed in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires. 

Former Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice again will serve as a driver consultant and program manager for DRR’s GRC Lites program. DRR will continue to utilize many of his personnel from its IndyCar team, including engineering, mechanical, shock and damper, and management staff.

“I work well with Buddy as he comes from a similar background as me: the Lynx Academy,” said Keyes. “All DRR mechanics are hard workers who know how to put it out there on the racetrack! In 2016, everything for me is going out and trying to win every race, no one remembers who finishes second.”