Red Bull GRC: Championship contenders Wiman, Block, Speed advance to Vegas final

0 Comments

Three of the four Red Bull Global Rallycross title contenders did what they had to do in the semifinals of tonight’s season finale at The LINQ in Las Vegas.

Scott Speed (third, -27 points) finished second in the first semifinal behind Bucky Lasek to advance to the final, while Ken Block (second, -10 points) and points leader Joni Wiman did the same by finishing first and second respectively in the other semi.

But Nelson Piquet Jr. (fourth, -30 points) was forced to bow out of his semi after just one lap due to a reported gearbox problem on his Ford Fiesta ST. As a result, he will have to advance to the final out of the Last Chance Qualifier.

SEMIFINAL ONE

A pair of heat wins allowed Speed to move up to third in the standings prior to Semifinal One. Driving his new VW Beetle, Speed assumed the early lead but on the fourth of six laps, Lasek took the lead from the former NASCAR/F1 pilot coming out of the dirt jump. He then held off Speed the rest of the way.

Lasek pulled off the win despite being involved in a first-lap incident that had him make contact with Rhys Millen. Tanner Foust also sustained damage in the sequence of events and subsequently retired early. Steve Arpin – who was brought to a full stop by the melee but got going again – rallied to capture third place and the last transfer to the final.

SEMIFINAL TWO

Then came the second semi, which featured the other three drivers involved in the championship fight – Block, Wiman, and Piquet. But while Block and Wiman quickly shot to the front, Piquet was unable to launch off the start with the rest of the field.

After a few moments, Piquet finally got going but ultimately came to a stop off-course. Meanwhile, Block and Wiman pulled away and finished 1-2, with Patrik Sandell finishing third to join them in the final.

That sets up tonight’s LCQ at 9:20 p.m. ET. The Top 4 finishers there will go to the final at 10:35 p.m. ET.

REMINDER: Tonight’s GRC season finale will be broadcast Sunday, Nov. 16 at 1:30 p.m. ET on your local NBC station. The broadcast will also be streamed online and on mobile devices through NBC Sports Live Extra.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
0 Comments

Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.