Atlantic City

Red Bull GRC: Speed completes Atlantic City weekend sweep

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Scott Speed’s roll in Red Bull Global Rallycross rolled on in Round 9 of the 2017 season. The driver of the No. 41 Volkswagen Beetle GRC for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross enjoyed a perfect Sunday in Atlantic City at Bader Field, winning all preliminary races on the day and then completing a lights-to-flag sweep in the Round 9, 10-lap final.

He was never headed from the off, after another great start, a semifinal win in the race just before the final and heat races before that.

“There’s no question our Circle K Oberto Beetle was awesome. It always has been; for us, we play a lot of defense. Today was the full performance. No one could touch us all weekend,” Speed told NBC’s Will Christien in victory lane.

This is Speed’s third final round win in a row and fourth this season as he extended his points lead, which was just seven points going into the race over teammate Tanner Foust (535-528). After the race, unofficially, Speed now has 616 points and holds a 38-point lead over Steve Arpin with Foust now third, 41 points back.

Foust’s miserable weekend in Atlantic City continued, having been penalized for contact in the semifinal and then trying to rally from the back of the 10-car field off the start throughout the race.

Further back, a good battle took place for second between Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE’s Sebastian Eriksson in his No. 93 Honda Civic Coupe and Steve Arpin in his No. 00 Loenbro Motorsports Ford Fiesta ST.

The two banged wheels occasionally and that brought Eriksson’s teammate, young rising star Mitchell DeJong in his No. 24 Honda and Patrik Sandell in his No. 18 Subaru Rally Team USA Subaru WRX-STi, into podium contention.

Arpin tried around the outside of Eriksson on the final corner of the final lap, making contact, but didn’t make it around.

Even more contact occurred beyond them with Chris Atkinson keeping his head in his No. 55 Subaru, moving into fourth, as Foust nudged Sandell and Sandell hit DeJong in a crazy finish to the race.

Unofficially, Speed beat Eriksson, Arpin, Atkinson, DeJong, Cabot Bigham, Oliver Eriksson, Austin Dyne, Foust and Sandell. Foust was assessed an five-second post-race time penalty (plus three seconds in an earlier race), which dropped him from seventh to ninth in this race.

The series is off until Sept. 9-10 in Seattle, at Evergreen Speedway, for Rounds 10 and 11 of the season.

Red Bull GRC: Speed snatches win from Sandell in Atlantic City 1

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
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Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Scott Speed ran down Subaru Rally Team USA’s Patrik Sandell in the final few laps of Red Bull Global Rallycross’ first race at Atlantic City at Bader Field, to claim a decisive victory in Round 8 of the 2017 season.

After using the Joker lap on Lap 5 of 10, Speed launched past Sebastian Eriksson’s Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Honda Civic Coupe for second, and then had a handful of laps to catch race leader Sandell to secure his third win of the year and second in a row, denying Sandell both his and Subaru’s first 2017 wins in the process.

On Lap 9, Speed forged through on the dirt, muscling his way past Sandell – briefly – before Sandell regained the lead over the jump on the same lap. But Speed made it through just at the end of the lap to hang on for the lead, then brought it home a lap later.

With his 14th career win, Speed now moves into first in Red Bull GRC history among race winners, breaking a tie with teammate Tanner Foust. Unofficially he now has a 7 point lead over Foust (535-528) with Steve Arpin 18 points back in third.

“To be fair, he drove a great race and it was a super difficult pass to make! It was such great racing at the end!” Speed exhaled to NBCSN’s Will Christien, describing the battle with Sandell.

Sandell was a season-best second, while Steve Arpin in his Loenbro Motorsports Ford Fiesta made it to third on the final lap, getting around Eriksson. With Volkswagen, Subaru, Ford and Honda in the top-four positions, it made it four manufacturers in as many positions.

Mitchell DeJong was fifth ahead of Oliver Eriksson and Austin Dyne, with Cabot Bigham, Chris Atkinson and Foust all out of the race.  Results are unofficial.

As noted, for Foust, day one in Atlantic City couldn’t have gone any worse. He entered with a 22-point lead but contact with Speed on the opening lap sent him off course, somehow saving the car even as he careened through the grass. But things got worse upon re-entering when making contact with another car, which appeared to be Arpin, sending him into a final spin and first lap retirement.

Sunday’s second race coverage from Atlantic City airs at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Red Bull GRC: Post-summer break stretch kicks off in Atlantic City

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
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After a little more than a month break since its last race in Indianapolis, Red Bull Global Rallycross is back in action this weekend with a doubleheader at Bader Field in Atlantic City, N.J.

There’s just five races remaining this season, with Atlantic City and Seattle hosting doubleheader weekends before the season finale in Los Angeles in October. The two Atlantic City Supercars finals air Saturday at 5 p.m. ET and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET, both on NBC, while GRC Lites coverage airs Wednesday, August 23, at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In Supercars, the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross pair of Tanner Foust and Scott Speed continue their duel for the title in the pair of Volkswagen Beetle GRCs. Foust leads Speed, 488-462, heading into the doubleheader weekend. Foust last won race two in Ottawa while Speed took the series’ most recent win in Indianapolis, at the Andretti team’s home base. Speed also won in Atlantic City last year.

Steve Arpin in his Loenbro Motorsports Ford Fiesta ST remains the only other driver in really close title contention, in third place with 455 points. Arpin was on the podium in Atlantic City last year, ending third, and has won twice this weekend.

The Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE contingent fell back in Indianapolis; Mitchell DeJong’s impressive recent string ended with a 10th place classification there and he’s now fourth in points, some 103 points back of Foust.

Similarly, the pair of Subaru Rally Team USA drivers Chris Atkinson and Patrik Sandell look for any sort of result, while RLL Racing’s Austin Dyne has been fifth or sixth in five of the last six races, and will seek to continue his decent run. Bryan Herta Rallysport rookie Cabot Bigham remains in search of his maiden top-five finish in Supercars.

In GRC Lites, Olsbergs MSE X Forces rookie Cyril Raymond enters with a sizable points lead, 475-399, over DirtFish’s Conner Martell with two of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s trio of drivers, Christian Brooks and Travis PeCoy, third and fourth.

Of note here, Jon Bennett and Colin Braun resume for CORE autosport with IMSA off this weekend – they missed Indianapolis as they were on IMSA duty – and 2016 CORE driver Scott Anderson makes his series return in another OMSE X Forces entry.

The 0.902 circuit is one of Red Bull GRC’s longer circuits. You can see a course layout below.

Red Bull GRC: Louisville, Atlantic City weekends announced

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
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Two more weekend details for the upcoming 2017 season of Red Bull Global Rallycross (begins April 29-30 in Memphis on the networks of NBC) have been formally announced.

On Tuesday, Red Bull GRC revealed the plan for the Louisville weekend, which runs May 20-21. The event will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center, which has held other such sporting events including six NCAA Final Fours, the Minor League Baseball World Series, University of Louisville football and basketball, and an event in the inaugural season of the Dew Tour. Red Bull Global Rallycross will be the first racing series to compete at the facility.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the Kentucky Exposition Center to bring one of the fastest and most exciting events in motorsports to fans,” said Jason Rittenberry, President and CEO of Kentucky Venues. “We’ve delivered monster truck shows, championship tractor pulls and off-road races in the past, but this is a whole different level of competition, a new and unique event for the community.”

Meanwhile today, Red Bull GRC confirmed its return to Bader Field in Atlantic City for what will be a doubleheader weekend this year, Rounds 8 and 9, to run August 12-13. This year’s race will run on a different track layout compared to last year.

“Red Bull Global Rallycross’ first visit to Atlantic City produced a number of exciting moments, from the Boardwalk Parade that kicked off the weekend to an amazing finish on the track,” said Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian. “We’re pleased that the series chose Atlantic City as one of its doubleheader stops this season, and we look forward to another exciting event with twice as much racing action.”

Red Bull GRC: After surviving Atlantic City, Speed seeks fourth straight win

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
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A last-lap, last-turn pass of Brian Deegan netted Scott Speed an overdue first Red Bull Global Rallycross win of the season in the mud and rain of MCAS New River. Then Speed dominated at Washington, D.C. to go back-to-back.

A couple weeks ago however, Speed pulled off his third straight win in the No. 41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle GRC at Atlantic City, N.J., capitalizing on teammate Tanner Foust’s demise.

Foust had got the jump off the line and in the opening laps but eventually suffered a right rear tire puncture, and in the closing stages of the final, Speed was able to get past. Foust limped his No. 34 Rockstar Energy Beetle home in fourth, just off the podium.

For Speed, it was apparent that surviving the technical, more than 1-mile Bader Field circuit would be key to success.

“The off-road part of the track was extremely rough,” Speed told NBC Sports. “In practice, Tanner had ripped the whole right front corner off the car in the dirt. So we knew it’d be tough… and we saw others ripping tires. It was very much a risk/reward sector in terms of pushing the car.

“On the first lap of the race, Tanner made a great move on the dirt getting by us. I went into the mode of, I have to put in qualifying laps. Around Lap 3, when I’d caught back on, I damaged the right rear – I think a broke suspension piece – and cruised through dirt, ruts and potholes in the dirt section. I was a bit surprised he pushed as hard as he was. It was definitely surprising.

“But yes! It was very technical. It was made apparent after the first practice. Still, it was all a track we all really liked, even with the different dirt section, because you had to be so careful. Deegan very much enjoyed it!”

Bad luck struck Speed in the early season races but it’s finally come good here for the defending series champion in the last couple months, heading into the final two race weekends of the season.

“Like you said, it’s getting rid of the tough luck and having clean weekends,” Speed said. “They’re not easy wins by any means. I think we’re just having clean weekends; we don’t have a huge speed advantage anymore.

“Even Phoenix, the start of season was a disaster. We were lucky to qualify second when we did. We broke in one of the semifinals. We ended fifth or sixth. There were lots of little gremlins at start of year, but knock on wood it’s been clean since then.”

Speed also has a healthy respect with Foust as they head into the final three races of the year. Speed leads by nine points over Foust (409-400) as they look to add to their respective Red Bull GRC titles. Foust won two (2011, 2012) and Speed one (2015).

“We have enough mutual respect to race each other clean,” Speed said. “In three years, we’ve never really ran into each other… at least not intentionally! But that goes a long way.

“We’ve had the short end of the luck stick earlier, but it’s turning around right now. We’ll look forward to continue to rattle off the pole positions and having clean qualifying sessions; that hurt us in the beginning of the year.”