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

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.