Red Bull GRC: Foust, Eriksson win doubleheader in Daytona

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Tanner Foust (Saturday, Round 2) and Sebastian Eriksson (Sunday, Round 3) have split the wins in the Supercars finals in the Red Bull Global Rallycross doubleheader in Daytona.

ROUND 2

Foust, in the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Volkswagen Beetle for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, fought through missing heat races and a mechanical to survive in the final itself on Saturday.

Foust took the lead on Saturday after a collision between Round 1 winner Ken Block and Patrik Sandell, the two front row starters. Austin Dyne of Bryan Herta Rallysport and Eriksson of Olsbergs MSE finished second and third.

“Once I came into the second corner of the first lap, there was mayhem and a few crashes around us,” Foust said post-race.

“A couple of cars in front of me collided and I ended up just sneaking through, I literally just went to the open track and drove away. There was a little bit of damage to the Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle, but it’s strong and it held together for the win. It’s awesome for the whole Volkswagen Andretti team after such a hectic day.”

But in Foust’s semifinal on Sunday, the crew had to work to repair the car once more. The right front suspension appeared to collapse following contact between Foust and Eriksson in the seminal.

“I was trying to give Eriksson room, he led into the first corner, and we both needed a clean lap so they couldn’t catch up on the second lap,” Foust told NBC’s Kristen Kenney. “He went so tight on the hairpin… I didn’t want to be that close to him. I clipped him on the inside. I think we broke the control arm.”

Despite the contact, Foust made it into the final after all after finishing second in the last chance qualifier.

ROUND 3

Eriksson was able to get a launch from the start of Sunday’s Round 3, while the action was occurring behind him.

Nelson Piquet Jr. made a great launch from 10th up to fourth, while Sandell pulled off on the first lap; meanwhile Jeff Ward collected Scott Speed a little later in the race.

Eriksson led from Round 1 winner Ken Block up front, while the battle was firmly for third and the final podium position.

Joni Wiman, Eriksson’s OMSE teammate, briefly held the spot with two laps to go before he contacted the concrete barrier with two laps to go, as he was engaged in a battle with Foust and Steve Arpin for the final podium position.

Arpin then fell back and into the clutches of Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Ward, in his weekend debut in Red Bull GRC, before contact occurred between the two on the final lap. Ward was dropped a position post-race, per the series, for rough driving.

It mattered not to Eriksson, who completed a double podium on the weekend, made it an OMSE Sunday sweep with Austin Cindric winning again in GRC Lites, and moved into the points lead.

“It has been a good day all day,” Eriksson told Kenney. “Had a great start in the finals. Took it safe in the first lap. After that I drove my own race and that was enough. Still nine races to go, but it’s good to be a few points ahead more than a few points down.”

Block finished second ahead of Arpin, with Ward dropped to fourth and Foust fifth.

“Man it was awesome to have [Ward] out here. I really enjoyed it,” Block told Kenney. “That final was nuts. I was getting knocked all around. It was fun. Congrats to Eriksson. It was a battle.”

Despite losing the position, Ward enjoyed his maiden weekend in Red Bull GRC.

“I just came here to learn. I knew with 360fly and Chip Ganassi Racing we’d have a quality car,” Ward told Kenney.” I knew I could drive, but I just knew I had to not make mistakes. Super cool to run with Scott, Ken and Tanner Foust.”

Red Bull GRC is off until Sunday, July 5, for a race at MCAS New River. It will air live at 5 p.m. ET on NBC.

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”