Ken Block seizes opportunity, wins Red Bull GRC at MCAS New River

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One energy drink-sponsored car’s crash led to another energy drink-sponsored car’s opportunity in the fourth round of the season sponsored by an energy drink.

Ken Block, in the No. 43 Monster Energy Ford Fiesta ST for Hoonigan Racing Division, took his second win in four Red Bull Global Rallycross races this season at the MCAS New River military base in Jacksonville, N.C.

Block seized his opportunity following a restart from a red flag, after an accident for Brian Deegan, in the No. 38 Rockstar Energy Drink Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST, with four laps to go following the Turn 2 right-hand kink on the 0.993-mile circuit.

That brought out the red flag in the eight-lap Supercars final and forced a restart of the order. Patrik Sandell had led 2014 GRC Supercars champion Joni Wiman and Block prior to the red.

After the restart, Block launched better off the line and moved into the lead. He was not challenged over the final four laps and able to secure the victory.

Wiman was due to finish second, which would have been the best finish of the year for the Olsbergs MSE driver, but a mechanical issue resigned him to an eighth place.

It promoted Sandell back to a season-best second in the No. 18 Kobalt Tools Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST, and Nelson Piquet Jr., the newly crowned FIA Formula E champion, to third in the No. 07 HAUS Vaporizer red-white-and-blue SH Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST.

Austin Dyne and Steve Arpin completed the top five finishers in the final.

Wiman’s issue capped off a brutal day for OMSE, as prior points leader Sebastian Eriksson had a left front issue, either a puncture or suspension, and limped home to a ninth place finish, two laps down.

Deegan, in his first Red Bull GRC regular season start of the year (he had run the X Games in Austin), had pace but the heavy accident resigned him to 10th.

Neither of the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross drivers, Scott Speed nor Tanner Foust, made it into the Supercars final after various issues during the day.

Block and Eriksson split the Semifinal wins; Bucky Lasek of Subaru took the Last Chance Qualifier win.

Eriksson had led Block by nine points going into the weekend, but Block’s second win will promote him to the championship lead.

The Red Bull GRC season resumes July 25-26 in Detroit, with Rounds 5 and 6 serving as the series’ second doubleheader round of the season and with Round 6 marking the midpoint of the 2015 campaign.

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”