Full recap: Block kicks off Red Bull GRC season with win in Fort Lauderdale

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A year ago, Ken Block opened his Red Bull Global Rallycross season on his roof in Barbados.

On Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, he opened his 2015 campaign in victory lane.

The full release from Red Bull GRC is below. Meanwhile, a separate link out video to Block’s win, via Ford Performance, is linked here on MST.

Ken Block backed up his season-ending win in Las Vegas last year with a victory to kick off the 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, taking top honors in the season-opening race at the Bahia Mar Resort in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Block held off strong charges from Formula 1 veterans Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr., who completed the podium.

“Racing these two really talented tarmac drivers was really tough!” Block said after the race. “They really pushed me and our team all weekend, and it was a lot of fun. It came down to starts, and I got lucky—I got quick on the starts, was able to put some good times in, and came out with the win. It’s a great way to start the year!”

Block, who finished third in his first heat after an aggressive overtake attempt on Speed put him into the tire barriers, took second place in the second round and converted the front row starting spot into a victory in his semifinal. In the main event, Block used the Kobalt Tools Joker Lap immediately to grab the lead, then extended his gap over the field to take his fourth career Supercar victory.

In GRC Lites, Austin Cindric took a commanding victory in his first race for Olsbergs MSE, winning every on-track session he competed in. The American driver defeated Colombian Alejandro Fernandez and Swede Oliver Eriksson for the crown, heading home with the maximum 56 possible points.

Unofficial results from Red Bull Global Rallycross Fort Lauderdale are as follows:

1. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
2. Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
3. Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
5. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
6. Austin Dyne, #14 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
7. Steve Arpin, #00 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
8. Victor Gonzalez Jr., #99 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
9. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
10. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
11. Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
12. Joni Wiman, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST

Red Bull Global Rallycross heads to the Circuit of the Americas next for X Games Austin, a non-points, invitational round on the 2015 schedule. The next points-paying event for Red Bull GRC is a doubleheader at Daytona International Speedway on June 19-21.

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”