Red Bull GRC: 2015 Midseason Review

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The Red Bull Global Rallycross season heads into the second half of the season starting with this weekend in Washington, D.C.

Just as in the first half, there will be four weekends with six races apiece – including two doubleheaders.

Here’s a quick recap of the first half:

Top driver: Ken Block, Hoonigan Racing Division

Block has come out firing in his No. 43 Monster Energy Ford Fiesta ST after coming up just shy of the 2014 title. He’s already eclipsed his final round win total, three (Ft. Lauderdale, MCAS New River, Detroit race one) to two, in just six races. And he was poised for another top-three result in Detroit race two before Block was, in his estimation, unfairly penalized by race officials after first-lap contact in a domino-effect type of wreck. Other than contact in Daytona race one, Block has been the driver to beat in a field now almost fully occupied by Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar race-winning teams.

Surprise driver: Sebastian Eriksson, Olsbergs MSE

Eriksson is delivering a season reminiscent of his teammate, Joni Wiman, last year through the opening six races. Eriksson was a late arrival to the team – named after Mitchell DeJong’s plans fell through – however he’s been entirely consistent thus far. The young Swede pushed Wiman in GRC Lites in 2013, and thus far exceeded him in the opening half of 2015 with one final round win and four podiums in six races. He also captured the Bronze medal at X Games in Austin. Eriksson, 26 points behind points leader Block, has the best chance to unseat him as the year progresses.

Mr. Consistency: Austin Dyne, Bryan Herta Rallysport

The son of series head Colin Dyne, young Austin’s made several strides in this season of Red Bull GRC, now driving with Bryan Herta Rallysport. Dyne is yet to win a final but he’s also not had a single bad final either. Results between second and seventh in each of the six starts, without missing a final and being knocked out in the LCQ, has him third in the standings, and poised to win at least once later in 2015.

Other notes

  • Tanner Foust and Scott Speed of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross have a win apiece this year – Foust in Daytona and Speed a Gold Medal at the non-points X Games – but through various mechanical issues they’ve struggled for consistency. Speed posted back-to-back runner-up finishes in Detroit so that provides him a boost heading into the second half of the year.
  • SH Rallycross driver Nelson Piquet Jr.’s GRC season hasn’t gone as well as his FIA Formula E season, where he won the title. Two third place results are his best finish.
  • Bryan Herta Rallysport’s Patrik Sandell broke a yearlong string of bad luck in Detroit race two to get on the board. He’s been a threat all year but unable to piece it all together in most races.
  • Chip Ganassi Racing’s program has been exciting to watch for most of the year as it remains in search of its first GRC win. Steve Arpin and Jeff Ward, teammates, dueled at Daytona with Arpin scoring his first regular season podium there. Brian Deegan posted two top-fives in Detroit but is yet to podium.
  • OMSE driver Wiman, the defending champion, still ranks fourth in the points but continues to struggle for overall pace. Strangely, he’s still never won a GRC final.
  • Subaru Rally Team USA has endured a tough season to date with Sverre Isachsen and Bucky Lasek having only made five of a possible 12 final round appearances, and not having yet scored a single top-five finish.

GRC Lites

It’s been a mixed bag of winners and a tight points battle in the GRC Supercars feeder championship, GRC Lites.

In six races, only Austin Cindric has won twice, with Oliver Eriksson, Alex Keyes, Tanner Whitten and Miles Maroney having also scored a win this season. Keyes is the only one of those five who has struggled from a consistency standpoint.

So championship-wise, it’s a five-way fight heading into the second half of the season.

Cindric leads Alejandro Fernandez, who is yet to win, by four points, with Maroney, Whitten and Eriksson also within striking range.

GRC Supercars Points

43-Ken Block, 260
93-Sebastian Eriksson, 234
14-Austin Dyne, 195
31-Joni Wiman, 185
41-Scott Speed, 180
07-Nelson Piquet Jr., 178
00-Steve Arpin, 161
18-Patrik Sandell, 157
34-Tanner Foust, 139
11-Sverre Isachsen, 76

GRC Lites Points

77-Austin Cindric, 247
126-Alejandro Fernandez, 243
24-Miles Maroney, 242
15-Tanner Whitten, 231
16-Oliver Eriksson, 216
61-Alex Keyes, 131
42-Nur Ali, 121
88-Harry Cheung, 98
07-Collete Davis, 82
6-Geoff Sykes, 62

Remaining TV Schedule

  • Washington, D.C., Aug. 15, 3 p.m. ET, NBC (LIVE); GRC Lites, Aug. 19, 4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
  • Los Angeles I, Sept. 13, 4 p.m. ET, NBC (LIVE); GRC Lites, Sept. 16, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN
  • Los Angeles II, Sept. 13, 4 p.m. ET, NBC (LIVE); GRC Lites, Sept. 16, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN
  • Barbados I, Oct. 4, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC (LIVE); GRC Lites, Oct. 7, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN
  • Barbados II, Oct. 4, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC (LIVE); GRC Lites, Oct. 7, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN
  • Las Vegas (race Nov. 4), Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN (TD); GRC Lites, Nov. 11, 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN

Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.