Preview: Red Bull GRC does the double in Detroit

1 Comment

The Red Bull Global Rallycross season resumes this weekend in Detroit. Courtesy of the series’ PR staff, here’s the weekend preview ahead of Rounds 5 and 6:

IN BRIEF: Rounds five and six, the halfway point of the 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, will see the sport tackle Belle Isle for its inaugural visit to Detroit. Points leader Ken Block enters the event with a 31-point advantage over Sebastian Eriksson, while Fords hold the top five championship spots coming into the weekend.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

Saturday, July 25, 2PM ET on NBC and liveextra.nbcsports.com

Saturday, July 26, 4:30PM ET on NBC and liveextra.nbcsports.com

NBC Sports Group will be offering live streaming of the Global Rallycross Detroit race through the NBC Sports Live Extra app via desktop, mobile and tablet.

TICKETS: Click here

EVENT SPOTTER GUIDE: Click here

2015 SPECTATOR GUIDE: Click here

LAST RACE: Ken Block took advantage of a red flag situation in the main event to grab his second win of the year at MCAS New River. Patrik Sandell, who led handily before the red flag, took his first podium of the season for Bryan Herta Rallysport after a last-lap dive into the Kobalt Tools Joker Lap, while SH Racing Rallycross driver Nelson Piquet Jr. completed the podium.

DRIVER CHANGES: All 12 Supercar drivers who competed at MCAS New River will be returning to the track in Detroit. No additional drivers will be running this weekend.

THE TRACK: The Belle Isle course features 10 turns and .757 miles of track. Featuring one of the most pronounced Kobalt Tools Joker Laps of the season, as cars split around the James Scott Memorial Fountain, the track should offer numerous passing opportunities and fast, wide-open stretches. Click here for more information on the track.

BLOCK REGAINS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD: Another race victory, combined with misfortune for key championship rival Sebastian Eriksson, allowed Ken Block to regain the Red Bull GRC championship lead that he initially claimed in Fort Lauderdale. Block’s fifth career Supercar victory puts him at 181 points for the season; last year, championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr. had 184 points through the season’s first four races.

SUBARU COMING OFF BEST WEEKEND OF SEASON: For the second time in four races, Subaru Rally Team USA put both Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek in the main event at MCAS New River, with Lasek’s LCQ victory the team’s first session win of the season. Both drivers scored season-best finishes; Isachsen came home sixth, while Lasek, who briefly ran in podium contention, placed seventh at race’s end.

VOLKSWAGEN LOOKING TO REBOUND: Owing to mechanical issues, neither Tanner Foust nor Scott Speed was able to make the main event at MCAS New River, marking the first time in Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross history that both cars missed the main event. Speed finished second in the Fort Lauderdale season opener and won gold at X Games Austin, but since then has not finished better than ninth. Foust’s last-place finish at New River was his first finish outside of the top five all season.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of this weekend’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Detroit:

Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle: “A doubleheader through a rat maze of concrete involves staying off the concrete—I think that’s the obvious thing. When you cruise around the track, you realize that it’s going to have really difficult visibility. Not only do you have some big cars right in front of you, but you also have walls that are higher than your eye level. But it’s kind of a bumpy surface, there’s rain expected, and so just the slightest little slip off of line would be a catastrophe I think, and it could be a big crash. The jump not having any sides on it, it’s going to be important not to go from 15 feet straight to grass. So for sure, there’s a lot to be careful of, but it’s a fast track and a lot of the corners you really can attack.”

Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI: “Definitely this a venue for horsepower. For the moment, we’re trying to make more horsepower every race. We will fight with what we have, we’ll push really hard again for this race. You need to try to use your head, of course, but you have other drivers also, so you’re not alone in deciding what you can do in the corner because there are other guys. If they push me, I’ll definitely push back.”

Austin Dyne, #14 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST: “These kinds of tracks have a lot of character. Certain parts of the track have a lot of concrete, and there are a lot of parts with a lot of really bumpy asphalt which makes it cool. When it’s all flat and perfect it looks kind of boring. This track definitely has a lot of character and there are a lot of fast, kind of sketchy fast corners which makes it really exciting. It should be cool on TV for the fans, and with some really tight stuff it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

Leave a comment

Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).