Block scores third win in five Red Bull GRC races in first Detroit race

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Ken Block made it three-of-five in the Red Bull Global Rallycross season in the first of two races at Detroit. The full report from the series is below:

Hoonigan Racing Division’s Ken Block earned his record-setting sixth career Red Bull Global Rallycross victory in Detroit on Saturday, passing Patrik Sandell in the race’s late stages to further extend his Supercar points lead. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Scott Speed and Red Bull Olsbergs MSE driver Sebastian Eriksson completed the podium, while Chip Ganassi Racing’s Brian Deegan and fellow Red Bull OMSE driver Joni Wiman completed the top five.

“It was quite an eventful time!” Block said after the race. “I was happy with second place and taking home some good points, but I ended up with the win. I’m the all-time winningest GRC driver now with six wins, so that’s pretty cool. I’m really stoked—that’s just a testament to how hard my team and I work.”

Block and Sandell each won both of their heat races to set up a face-off in the final, with the Swedish driver muscling past to take an early, and sizable, lead. But with three laps to go, the Bryan Herta Rallysport car encountered a mechanical issue, allowing the field to drive past him.

“I was so focused on getting a good start that I just braked a bit late to make sure that I had the momentum to get through the first corner, and it took me a little wide,” Block explained. “Patrik got around me on the inside. He was pulling away from me a little bit, but then I saw some smoke and some fire from his car. I don’t know what happened, but I just had to find the right spot to get by him and make sure people didn’t catch up to me.”

In GRC Lites, points leader Tanner Whitten took the first victory of his career for DirtFish Motorsports. Miles Maroney earned the best finish of his career for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, passing Austin Cindric for the second position on the final lap. Cindric completed the podium, his third of the year for OMSE.

Unofficial Red Bull Global Rallycross Detroit I Supercar results are as follows:

1. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
2. Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
3. Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
4. Brian Deegan, #38 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
5. Joni Wiman, #31 Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
6. Austin Dyne, #14 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
7. Steve Arpin, #00 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
8 Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
9. Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
10. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
11. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
12. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI

Red Bull Global Rallycross action from Detroit continues on Sunday with round six of the championship for both Supercar and GRC Lites. Sunday’s action will be broadcast live on NBC at 4:30PM ET.

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”