Ganassi’s new Red Bull GRC entry not looking for “flash”… yet


Racing is Chip Ganassi’s business. Winning is part of Chip Ganassi’s business.

Winning regularly has become a staple for his teams in the Verizon IndyCar Series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

But in Red Bull Global Rallycross, Chip Ganassi Racing is starting from ground zero, with two brand new Ford Fiestas and a hungry pairing of Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan as drivers.

The program was only announced in March, during the race week for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring for Ganassi’s TUDOR program, immediately after IndyCar testing at Barber, and before the NASCAR weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Ganassi is not underestimating the challenge ahead of him, as he begins the quest for success in his newest chapter of motorsports this season.

“I’m the person that likes to come in and under promise and over deliver,” Ganassi told MotorSportsTalk in an interview at Red Bull GRC media day in Long Beach. “I’m not all flashy with the big splash and come in and say, ‘We’ll do this.’ We’re here to compete and learn, but we’re here to win races.”

Ganassi’s team has gained traction with several youth-oriented and targeted events the last few years, notably the Ganassi Sound Garage event held last September.

Getting into Red Bull GRC, Ganassi said, is proof positive of looking towards the next generation of racing fans.

“It’s no secret we all want the younger demographic,” Ganassi said. “We like to think as a team we’re leading that perspective. Coming here we have a lot to learn.

“Our expectations are tempered by the realities of physical aspects of the sport we have to overcome yet. But we feel pretty good. We’re looking forward to it.”

In Arpin and Deegan, Ganassi has found two rally veterans, even if Deegan’s flat brim hat and tattoos don’t fit the traditional mold of a Ganassi driver.

Deegan’s car. Photo: Red Bull GRC

Deegan, an action sports legend primarily in Freestyle Motocross, has since shifted into off-road truck racing and rally racing. Last year Deegan finished 12th in points with two podiums in only five starts, as he raced only half the 10-race schedule.

But while Ganassi may be downplaying expectations, Deegan certainly isn’t.

“I’ve got in a rally car, won some races, and I never felt I was with the right equipment,” Deegan told MotorSportsTalk. “Now getting with Chip Ganassi Racing, it should be unlimited. We don’t want to just win races, but we want to be a dominant team. I’m excited.”

Deegan says the area of the game he needs to improve is on pavement; he said he needs to become a better pavement driver.

As for hooking the youth? “The car racing world has aged. Between skate BMX and moto, getting kids over to car racing isn’t easy. Getting them in GRC has helped a lot. We still have a ways to go. But we keep it exciting.”

Arpin’s car. Photo: Red Bull GRC

Arpin ended seventh in points a year ago, with one podium in 10 starts. More often than not, poor luck struck him during weekends.

“We started strong at the beginning; halfway through we were still third in points,” Arpin told MotorSportsTalk. “We just ran into mechanical after mechanical. I only had one crash. But I learned a bunch of things not to do and to do.”

He’s praised both Ganassi and Deegan as they look ahead to the year.

“We’ll be in top-notch equipment. I have the best of best with Deegan as my teammate, given his perspective and his view. We have such polar opposite backgrounds. We have such a different view of looking at things; on how to attack each corner. With that being said, winning is nothing less than the goal.

“Realistically, it’s a set of doors I have tried to get through since ‘09-‘10 in NASCAR. It’s a first class organization. To race like someone with Mr. Ganassi, not to take away from others, but racing is his thing. It’s not other programs.

“For me as a racer growing up, to race with someone like that, it becomes that much more special. Walking in those doors, into that kingdom they call a race shop it’s the most beautiful thing in a world.”

Mr. Ganassi, again, just wants the thing the late Rodney Dangerfield always said in stand-up acts he never got.

“Again I hope to earn everyone’s respect, and build a solid team foundation for going forward,” Ganassi said.

The season opens May 31 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series triples to 34 races in 2023

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023
Xtreme Outlaw Series

After hosting 10 rounds in 2022, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 2023 schedule will more than triple to 34 races. The 2022 season featured seven different winners in the first seven races, a female racer in Jade Avedisian as the only repeat winner and Zach Daum as the champion.

“Dirt Midget racing is a growing entity in American motorsports, and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota is proud to drive further into the growth of the division with both a diverse and lucrative schedule for 2023,” newly appointed Series Director Tyler Bachman said in a press release. “From the kickoff at our first indoor event, to each of the new tracks we’re set to visit next year, it’s a lineup we know both our teams and fans will enjoy.”

The championship purse fund has also more than double with an increase of $42,000 to $80,000 in 2023. The champion will win $25,000. Last year, Daum pocketed $10,000.

In addition, the series will offer tow money to the top 12 in points. Six drivers attempted to qualify for all 10 races in 2022 with 89 drivers attending.

The series will begin on March 10 at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. and end the same place it did in 2022 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City on October 15.

During the season, they will visit 21 tracks in 10 states.

Some highlights of the season include the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pairing up with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars in 2023 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. in April for the Outlaw Showdown and again in August for the Ironman 55 weekend, as well as the creation of a five-day Midget Speedweek.

The Midget Speedweek will immediately follow the Ironman 55 with a swing through Pennsylvania and New York.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023 Schedule

Friday, March 10 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Saturday, March 11 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Friday, March 31 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.

Saturday, April 1 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.
Friday, April 14 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Saturday, April 15 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.

Friday, May 5 | Humboldt Speedway | Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, May 6 | 81 Speedway | Park City, Kan.
Tuesday, May 23 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.
Wednesday, May 24 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday, June 1 | Tri-City Speedway | Pontoon Beach, Ill.
Friday, June 2 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.
Saturday, June 3 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.

Friday, July 21 | TBA
Saturday, July 22 | Southern Illinois Raceway | Marion, Ill.
Friday, July 28 | TBA
Saturday, July 29 | Atomic Speedway | Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, July 30 | Brushcreek Motorsports Complex | Peebles, Ohio

Friday, August 4 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Sat, August 5 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Tuesday, August 8 | Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway | Newmanstown, Pa.
Wednesday, August 9 | Action Track USA | Kutztown, Pa.
Thursday, August 10 | Linda’s Speedway | Jonestown, Pa.
Friday, August 11 | TBA
Saturday, August 12 | Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, N.J.
Friday, August 25 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 26 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa

Friday, September 1 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Saturday, September 2 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Friday, September 15 | Jacksonville Speedway | Jacksonville, Ill.
Saturday, September 16 | Red Hill Raceway | Sumner, Ill.

Friday, October 13 | Port City Raceway | Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, October 14 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sunday, October 15 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.

* Co-sanctioned with POWRi