Red Bull GRC’s 2016 schedule has several IndyCar conflicts

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Five of the 12 rounds in the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross season, over four weekends, will run on the same weekend at a different location as the Verizon IndyCar Series.

While this might not seem to mean much given the wide gap in equipment, it’s very important to note.

There were five IndyCar or Indianapolis 500 teams which ran full GRC Supercars or GRC Lites programs in 2015: Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Chip Ganassi Racing, SH Rallycross, Bryan Herta Rallysport and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

There is not a ton, but still some, staff crossover that comes with these teams to try to utilize the same personnel at multiple events. Of that group, for example, only Andretti had a dedicated specific PR person just for GRC, while the other four teams had their IndyCar PR reps assist in the process, if not serve as the outright or lead PR person for the GRC program.

That becomes more difficult to accomplish when races are on different coasts at the same time, as at least one event will have to be covered remotely.

It also becomes harder for TV, noting that production was done last year by IMS Productions for all shows to be on NBC, and with NBC also and again committed to shows this year. The talent is different in most cases, but there is still some crossover between IndyCar and GRC talent at selected GRC rounds.

On the bright side, the first two conflicts from a TV standpoint are ABC races for IndyCar, so it’s the ABC/ESPN production happening on the IndyCar side compared to the NBC production group.

The five IndyCar/GRC conflicts are as follows next year:

Round Date   Location Conflict 
1 May 21 Phoenix, AZ (I)  Indy 500 quals (ABC)
2 May 22 Phoenix, AZ (II)  Indy 500 quals (ABC)
3 June 4 Dallas, TX  Detroit (ABC)
8 July 30 Washington, DC  Mid-Ohio (CNBC)
10 September 17 Seattle, WA  Sonoma (NBCSN)

There were just two conflicts between IndyCar and GRC last year and teams and partners who participate in both got through OK. Those occurred at Fort Lauderdale (IndyCar at Detroit) and X Games (non-points, IndyCar at Texas), and by June the schedule cleared up to where the rest of the GRC rounds did not fall on IndyCar weekends.

Here’s another less important wrinkle, but still good to note. GRC and F1 will race on the same weekend six times, including on five weekends when NASCAR would be on NBC.

Come July 2-3 when NASCAR returns to NBC for the second half of the season, it’s going to be a lot of channel and time surfing, most likely, to keep track of all four major motorsports properties (NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, GRC) across the NBC Sports Group family of networks.

Round Date   Location Conflict 
4 June 18 Daytona Beach, FL (I)  Baku
5 June 19 Daytona Beach, FL (II)  Baku
6 July 2 The Base (I)  Austria
7 July 3 The Base (II)  Austria
8 July 30 Washington, DC  Germany
9 August 28 TBA  Belgium
10 September 17 Seattle, WA  Singapore
11 October 8 Los Angeles, CA  Japan
12 October 9 Los Angeles, CA  Japan

Note there, there’s two weekends (July 30 and September 17) where all of F1, IndyCar and GRC will be running. Those weekends:

  • July 30: F1: Germany, IndyCar: Mid-Ohio, GRC: Washington DC
  • September 17: F1: Singapore, IndyCar: Sonoma, GRC: Seattle

There’s good faith in the process that everyone involved will get through. But if you’re involved in two or more series, get your calendars out and call up Dolly the Sheep for cloning advice…

The full Red Bull GRC 2016 schedule:

2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross Schedule

Round Date Location  
1 May 21 Phoenix, AZ (I)
2 May 22 Phoenix, AZ (II)
3 June 4 Dallas, TX
4 June 18 Daytona Beach, FL (I)
5 June 19 Daytona Beach, FL (II)
6 July 2 The Base (I)
7 July 3 The Base (II)
8 July 30 Washington, DC
9 August 28 TBA
10 September 17 Seattle, WA
11 October 8 Los Angeles, CA
12 October 9 Los Angeles, CA

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.