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.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.