Piquet, SH Rallycross break through for first Red Bull GRC win in Washington D.C.

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In a thrilling final in Round 7 of the Red Bull Global Rallycross season, the No. 07 car finally got on the board.

Nelson Piquet Jr. added a Red Bull GRC win to his incredible 2015 season after a flag-to-flag triumph at Washington, D.C. in the No. 07 HYDROXYCUT/The Vitamin Shoppe Ford Fiesta ST for SH Rallycross.

The win is both Piquet’s and the James “Sulli” Sullivan’ SH Rallycross team’s first in the championship.

Piquet got the jump off the line and held off a race-long attack from Patrik Sandell, in the No. 18 Kobalt Tools Ford Fiesta ST for Bryan Herta Rallysport.

Sandell made slight contact with Piquet at Turn 8 on the second-to-last lap, nudging Piquet’s left rear tire to create a tire rub, however the Brazilian was able to hang on until the finish.

“This goes to Sulli and the team for working so hard,” Piquet told NBC’s Kristen Kenney in victory lane. “This is about the respect we’ve built on the track. This year was the same thing. We had the hit in the back, but it was so good to the finish.

“We just needed to maintain calm,” he added. “We knew we were quick enough to win. We had to pretend nothing was happening. It’s about time.”

Sullivan told Kenney, “We’re super stoked. Been fighting so hard for this. Yeah exactly right. We got everything but a win. We finally got a first.”

Both Piquet and “Sulli” add this to their war chest and trophy case in 2015.

Piquet is the inaugural FIA Formula E Champion; Sullivan’s KVSH Racing team has also won twice in the Verizon IndyCar Series this year with Sebastien Bourdais.

Piquet was in an IndyCar on Thursday at Sonoma for Team Penske, then turned around, headed to the East Coast and delivered this performance in a rebuilt car.

For Sandell, who pressed the entire race, he praised the clean battle he had with Piquet.

“It was a clean final,” Sandell told Kenney. “Me and Nelson are really good friends. We always race clean. I was waiting for a mistake but he was super good. He deserved this win.”

Ken Block finished third in the No. 43 Monster Energy Ford Fiesta ST for Hoonigan Racing Division.

Steve Arpin and Tanner Foust completed the top five.

Block leads rookie Sebastian Eriksson, who finished sixth, by 41 points heading to the doubleheader round in Los Angeles next month. Piquet, with his win, moves up to third in the championship, 68 points back.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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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).