Red Bull GRC: Rhys Millen, Hyundai score Daytona win

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Rhys Millen became the fifth different winner of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross season this afternoon at Daytona International Speedway, beating out Ken Block and Bucky Lasek to score the victory in his Hyundai Veloster.

“It’s just amazing with how strong the car was coming into this weekend,” Millen told NBC after his inaugural Red Bull GRC win. “To have the troubles of blowing an engine yesterday with a cam belt failure – but the car was on point.

“We had the fastest car this weekend, had some respectable driving from the other competitors up front, and we did what we set out to do three years ago.”

Millen, a former world record holder in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, set himself up for the final with a victory in the first semi over Lasek and Patrik Sandell.

Semifinal Two began with contact between Block and Scott Speed in the hairpin section. Speed sustained front-end damage severe enough to knock him out of the race, but just a few turns later, Block was apparently pushed off track by championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr., who took over the point.

A few laps later, Piquet was told by Race Control to serve a stop-and-go penalty, sending him back to third behind Austin Dyne and Tanner Foust. Foust ramped up the pressure on Dyne heading for the final lap, but on the entry to Turn 1, Foust lost control and spun into the tire barriers.

Luckily for him, the damage was minimal enough to allow him to continue in third place, which is where he would take the checkered flag behind Dyne and second-place Piquet.

That led into the last chance qualifier, which was led wire-to-wire by Block with Joni Wiman in second and Sverre Isachsen in third. The fourth and last transfer spot to the final, however, was in doubt up to the very end.

On Lap 2 of the 4-lap LCQ, Speed and his wounded VW took the joker to move past Steve Arpin for fourth. The final lap saw Arpin draw close to Speed, but he went off-course, ensuring that Speed would hold on and make the main event.

In the 8-lap final, Millen quickly pulled away from a tight battle for second between Block and Dyne that saw them flip-flop positions through the hairpins before Block came up with it.

On Lap 3, Lasek used the joker to take the third and final podium position from Dyne, only to come under attack from a charging Foust late in the race. Foust got the inside position on Lasek but took the entrance to the hairpins section too tight and got turned around, while Speed was spotted exiting his car after running into a barrier.

Away from it all was Millen, who went on to a well-deserved win.

Red Bull GRC now moves on to a pivotal doubleheader weekend at the Port of Los Angeles on Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21. Piquet will enter Tinseltown with a 40-point lead in the standings over Block.

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra (online/mobile) will air each day’s final live at 5 p.m. ET.

RED BULL GLOBAL RALLYCROSS AT DAYTONA – Final
Unofficial Results

1. 67-Rhys Millen
2. 43-Ken Block, -1.8 seconds
3. 81-Bucky Lasek, -11.4 seconds
4. 18-Patrik Sandell, -17.4 seconds
5. 11-Sverre Isachsen, -28.4 seconds
6. 34-Tanner Foust, -49.2 seconds
7. 31-Joni Wiman, -55.9 seconds
8. 07-Nelson Piquet Jr., -67.2 seconds
9. 14-Austin Dyne, one lap down
10. 77-Scott Speed, one lap down

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).