Preview: Red Bull GRC does the double in Detroit

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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.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.