Scott Speed

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: Speed, VW deliver Andretti win on Indy home soil

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
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Michael Andretti hadn’t missed a Verizon IndyCar Series race on-site since his one-year voyage to Formula 1 in 1993, and returned to the series in 1994.

He missed today’s Iowa Corn 300 though, because his Red Bull Global Rallycross team was doing work not far from the Andretti Autosport team’s home soil in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Raceway.

The decision to miss one team’s race for another paid dividends as the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team delivered the goods on Sunday in Red Bull GRC’s maiden visit to Indy.

Scott Speed completed a perfect day in his No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle GRC, winning two heats, a semifinal and then the 10-lap finals in the Supercars class. He’d won another heat on Saturday.

The final was a 1-2 finish for the Volkswagen Andretti teammates as Speed beat teammate Tanner Foust in his No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle GRC.

This is Speed’s second win of 2017 (Memphis, Round 1) and the fourth 1-2 for the Volkswagen Andretti team this season.

“We had a great car all weekend from the moment we pulled it off the hauler, until the last lap of the Final; the team just did a great job,” Speed said. “The track was unbelievably fun. This is the first time we’ve been to a track that was predominantly some sort of gravel mix and it was just so fun because every time you went out onto the track it was a little bit different. There was water in areas there wasn’t before and the track was changing during the race.

“It was the most fun I’ve had driving yet. I’m so glad it happened here in Indy because it’s our home race and there was so many friends and family that were able to come to this one. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back here and big shout out to everyone at Oberto, Circle K and Expedite Home Loans.”

Foust, who still leads the championship by 10 points unofficially (488-478) after today’s race, was pleased to end second after a tougher weekend.

“Today was pretty hard. We had penalties in two out of the three heat races this weekend which had us swimming uphill,” he said. “To get into the middle of the front row for the final was a big win for our team. The guys have just been cranking all year.

“This is just a one-race weekend and not a doubleheader, but it’s amazing how difficult it is but it’s so nice to be in Indianapolis. Last time I was here on a racetrack, I was the yellow driver for the Hot Wheels jump at the Indy 500 and that was almost as much fun as it is to race a Global Rallycross car …almost. I was so excited to see so many Indianapolis fans out here to see a new sport. We have a blast every weekend.”

Loenbro Motorsports’ Steve Arpin kept up his strong season by finishing third in his Ford, with Oliver Eriksson best of the Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE trio in fourth and Austin Dyne banking a fifth place for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in his Ford.

With car damage, Honda OMSE’s best driver this year, Mitchell deJong was unable to start the final.

Red Bull GRC is off until Atlantic City for Rounds 8 and 9, in mid-August.

Red Bull GRC: Foust leads VW Andretti 1-2 in Ottawa race two

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
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After Steve Arpin won Saturday’s race one of the weekend for Red Bull Global Rallycross from Ottawa, Tanner Foust struck back in Sunday’s race two. Foust led a Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross 1-2, as Scott Speed finished second.

WATCH: Full Ottawa Red Bull GRC event replay

The full release and details are below.

Tanner Foust claimed the championship lead for the first time in the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season with a statement victory at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum on Sunday. Foust, who finished second the day before to local favorite Steve Arpin, used a brilliant launch off the line to claim the victory and close out the doubleheader event, part of the Ottawa 2017 celebration of the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada.

“What a finish!” Foust said after taking the victory. “There were a lot of familiar faces from yesterday, and I think we made a lot of rallycross fans up here. That’s what it’s all about, showing this great sport to new places. This track was pretty tough, and I’d like to thank BFGoodrich for making some tough tires. I’m incredibly happy—to get a 1-2 for our team out of that is really spectacular.”

Determined to come back from missing Saturday’s final, Scott Speed carried the momentum of the morning’s Big Rig Brewery Pole Award into the heats and semifinals, sweeping his way into the top starting spot in the final. Next to him, teammate Tanner Foust had won the second semifinal, with Mitchell deJong on the outside.

After an aborted start due to a Chris Atkinson rollover, all 10 cars returned to the grid to try again. This time, Foust and deJong would both get the best of Speed off the line to run 1-2-3 in the early stages. deJong would hold off Speed for the first nine-plus laps, but on the final straightaway, Speed pulled forward to take second place by .195 seconds. Ontario native Arpin would fail to finish the race after first-lap contact, dropping him to second in the standings.

In GRC Lites, Cyril Raymond recovered from a pair of disappointing heat results to win his semifinal and take the top starting spot. He used a terrific launch in the final to take an early lead, never looking back on the way to his fourth consecutive victory. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Travis PeCoy nipped Alex Keyes at the finish line to grab second, as the teammates completed the podium.

Unofficial Supercar results from Red Bull Global Rallycross Ottawa II are as follows:

  1. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross
  2. Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross
  3. Mitchell deJong, #24 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
  4. Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
  5. Oliver Eriksson, #16 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
  6. Austin Dyne, #14 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
  7. Patrik Sandell, #18 Subaru Rally Team USA
  8. Cabot Bigham, #2 Bryan Herta Rallysport
  9. Chris Atkinson, #55 Subaru Rally Team USA
  10. Steve Arpin, #00 Loenbro Motorsports

The second half of the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season picks up on July 8-9with a brand new event at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Tickets are available now at redbullglobalrallycross.com/tickets. Red Bull Global Rallycross Indianapolis can be seen on Sunday, July 9 at 8PM ET on NBCSN.

Scott Speed’s blog: Target on my back after Memphis win

Photos: Louis Yio/Red Bull GRC
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Editor’s note: Providing a behind the scenes take during his 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) season, Scott Speed, driver of the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle GRC for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross (VARX), will contribute to NBCSports.com, giving readers his view from behind the visor.

In his second blog installment, Speed looks back at winning the season opener at Memphis, while having the target on his back after winning the last two series championships. His first blog is linked here

Round 2 takes over Louisville May 20-21, with coverage of Global Rallycross’ Supercar Final airing live on NBC, Sunday, May 21, at 1 p.m. ET.

The first race is a big tell tale of how the offseason has gone. After the Memphis weekend is said and done, we’ve got the biggest advantage we’ve had yet, which is a great position to be in. That said, there’s added pressure for me. I know that the team has given me a superior car, we saw that at Memphis in Round 1. It’s my job not to mess it up when we’re running that good.

With the added pressure, I’m in a position to play defense now, staying out of trouble and keeping clean. That’s a lot different of an approach than pushing every single corner and attacking every single lap in the Oberto Circle K Beetle GRC. During the break, we’re analyzing what risks we can take where, including the rough track sections or corners.

Where we’re at, it’s different but it’s a good mindset to be in.

Leaving Memphis, I definitely feel the target on my back is growing. The competition’s gunning for us. I know every time I hit the track, everybody’s out there with stopwatches and video to try and pick up what we’re doing. We’re “that car.” Obviously being in that position, we’re doing something right.

Eventually they’re going to catch on and the things we’re doing right, they’re going to get noticed and others will improve. Everybody has a good idea about the cars around them, and other teams are going to work hard after the first race, just as we continue to do at Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross.

There’s no doubt that everyone’s going to get better and faster as the season progresses. We may see some changes to minimum weight requirements come from the series, and I expect the gap to be closed dramatically if it does. I’m anxious to see the gap close in the next race. We have to take that as it is, and hopefully we will still have an advantage over others.

Heading into Round 2, we have to have the mindset that we know it’s going to be more competitive. That the bar is raised. One mistake in a heat could cost us seven points, and we don’t have a lead in the points standings enough to afford the loss after one event. Survival is key, collecting points as much as we can. With the new format this year, you don’t have to be the fastest car to do that, which is unfortunate for us being in the position we’re in. We may have come away from Memphis with the win and leading the points championship, but it’s not a very big lead and it’s still extremely competitive.

Leaving Memphis though, it feels great to get the win. Starting off the season atop the podium with Oberto and Circle K on board is great. I’m now the winningest driving in GRC history, which is a cool stat to have. But, it’s also a championship and one race won’t make or break it.

Going forward, we have to focus on consistency and risk management, not necessarily just being the fastest car on the track. Being fast is important, but what’s more important is being consistently good and finishing well in heat races under the new format. We’re always working on the car, working to step up our game. Whether from a handling standpoint or something on-track, there’s always room for improvement. We’re going to Louisville business as usual, so every time the car comes off the track, there are ways we can make it better. That’s what we’re focused on.