Daytona kicks off Red Bull GRC’s quartet of doubleheader weekends

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As there are only eight race weekends, but 12 events, on the Red Bull Global Rallycross schedule, there are four weekends that are likely going to be key to this year’s Supercars championship.

Those four are the four doubleheader weekends, an increase of three from 2014, starting this weekend at Daytona Beach (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, LIVE on NBC).

Whereas last year it was just Los Angeles that featured a Red Bull GRC weekend double, this year doubles occur in Daytona Beach this weekend, Detroit next month, Los Angeles in September and Barbados in October.

All told, that’s eight of the 12 races right there, and they’ll be crucial to not lose too many points at any one weekend.

Missing the setup isn’t so much a problem on doubleheader weekends as avoiding trouble, said SH Rallycross driver Nelson Piquet Jr.

“Setup is not the problem. It’s just don’t get involved in any accidents the first race,” Piquet told MotorSportsTalk at the Red Bull GRC media day in Long Beach. “That destroys your weekend.”

Piquet would know. Finishes of 12th and ninth in Los Angeles last year severely dented his championship hopes, after banking five top-five finishes in the first six races of the season.

“It’s one thing we learned the hard way last year in L.A.,” he said. “It was a tough race, and it ruined our whole weekend.”

Another driver who had a rough go in L.A. last year was extreme sports legend Bucky Lasek, one of Subaru’s drivers in the No. 81 Subaru WRX-STi. He was 11th and fifth.

“I had the mindset in L.A. to keep a clean car, and you can’t control the car,” Lasek told MotorSportsTalk in Long Beach. “It’s uncontrollable. Your fate is not in your own hands in GRC. It’s in the hands of 12-15 cars.

“You have to take the good with bad, bad with good. I had a lot of DNFs and I would have done better in the points. Sometimes it was due to car issues with other people. All of a sudden I’d be in back fighting for sixth.”

Steve Arpin of Chip Ganassi Racing noted another important factor – with no backup cars, there’s no room for error.

“That’s gonna be tough; we don’t have backup cars,” said Arpin, who finished second at the X Games to Scott Speed earlier this month.

“You go in and know you have a whole another show the next day.

“The biggest thing with those is just being smart. We know this is a heavy contact sport. It can turn your season around in a hurry. You can gain a lot, but also lose a lot. Just be smart and consistent throughout the weekend.”

Having been in Red Bull GRC for several years, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross’ Tanner Foust noted the importance of track time, and how doubleheaders are good for that.

“One of the problems that I think existed with GRC in the past has been limited amount of driving time,” he told MotorSportsTalk at Long Beach. “You want to have fun. Sometimes you go to a weekend and go less than 30 minutes. It’s great for doubleheaders, but it’s tough on teams because there can be tough rebuilds overnight.

“These are the points I think it will increase emphasis on: getting cars set up for the track quickly. Because if you’re successful on track, its double points. If you’re not successful, setup-wise, you cost yourself double pints. You need the robustness in the car. And keep the car clean during a weekend so you don’t overwork your team. I love the doubleheaders and it adds another challenge.”

A year ago, Scott Speed and Rhys Millen split the Los Angeles wins, while Joni Wiman (second and third) and Ken Block (third and second) podiumed in both races.

Wiman and Block finished first and second in the championship.

That’s plenty proof positive that doubleheaders mean more, particularly with the increased number in 2015.

Juncos Racing to field single car entry in Indy 500

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Part-time NTT IndyCar Series entrant Juncos Racing will announce their attempt to qualify for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 within the next few weeks, according to RACER.

The team, which made its Indy 500 debut in 2017, ran 12 of the 17 IndyCar Series races last season, but has only made a start in one of the four events so far in 2019, finishing 18th in the inaugural running of the IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas with Kyle Kaiser behind the wheel.

Though no driver has yet to be announced for the single-car entry, Kaiser is expected to be the leading candidate for the ride. The 23-year-old Californian has raced for the team since 2014, where he won the 2017 Indy Lights championship.

One of the top teams in the Road to Indy ladder system, Juncos Racing has over 50 wins between Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 competition. The team’s most recent victory came in the second Indy Lights race at St. Petersburg this year with Rinus VeeKay behind the wheel.

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