Red Bull GRC: Dallas Event Preview

Photo: Red Bull GRC

The Red Bull Global Rallycross has its second weekend and third race of the season this weekend, in Dallas. Rain is possible. You can see it this weekend at 2:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, on NBC.

The series’ preview is below:

IN BRIEF: After a compelling doubleheader in Phoenix, the Red Bull Global Rallycross season continues with a brand new event in Dallas at Fair Park. Tanner Foust will go for his third consecutive victory to start off the season and become the first driver to reach 10 Supercar wins in Red Bull GRC competition.


Saturday, June 4, 2:30PM ET on NBC and
Saturday, June 4, 3PM ET on Red Bull TV

NBC Sports will have a broadcast of this weekend’s Global Rallycross races from Dallas on Saturday from2:30-4PM ET on NBC. Fans can see it all in spectacular high definition via NBC Sports Live Extra online at, or through the Live Extra app on mobile, tablet and through the Apple TV or Roku connected TV devices.

TICKETS: Click here


LAST RACE: Tanner Foust demolished the Supercar field at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix by leading every lap and scoring every point in the season-opening doubleheader. Patrik Sandell and Brian Deegan completed Saturday’s podium, while Scott Speed and Sebastian Eriksson finished second and thirdon Sunday.

DRIVER CHANGES: Each of the drivers who competed in both Phoenix finals will return to competition in Dallas.

THE TRACK: The .808-mile Fair Park course features 16 turns, as well as a Joker Lap that allows drivers to skip the jump once per race—though, unlike in Phoenix, this weekend’s Joker will be shorter. Click here for more information on the track.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 WINNERS FACE OFF IN RED BULL GRC: Indianapolis 500-winning team owner Michael Andretti, co-owner and race strategist Bryan Herta, and manufacturer Honda will all have entries at Red Bull GRC Dallas. However, all three parties will compete separately in the rallycross showdown; Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross is fully separate from the Ford-backed Bryan Herta Rallysport team, while Honda backs with four-time Supercar champions Olsbergs MSE in the first season for the Civic Coupe.

FOUST ENTERS DALLAS WITH DEFINITIVE POINTS LEAD: A two-time Red Bull GRC Supercar champion already, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Tanner Foust heads into this weekend’s action up by 25 points in the standings over teammate Scott Speed. Bryan Herta Rallysport driver Patrik Sandell sits third, 31 points back, while Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Steve Arpin and Brian Deegan round out the top five.

HONDA RED BULL OLSBERGS MSE AIMS TO BUILD MOMENTUM: It took Honda only two Red Bull GRC starts to take its first podium result, as Sebastian Eriksson gave Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE a third-place finish in the second Phoenix final. Eriksson, the 2015 Supercar runner-up, and teammate Joni Wiman, the 2014 Supercar champion, sit sixth and seventh in points heading into this weekend’s action.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of this weekend’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Dallas:

Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport: “I’ve been up in the spotter stand and looked over the course, and it looks nice. It’s a lot of different type of tarmacs, and especially in rain, you will really feel the difference in grip in different type of tarmacs. So it really wouldn’t affect the car as much in dry. But if we get it wet, you will definitely have a few corners that will be really slippery and with a few corners with really good grip as well on tarmac. The dirt section, I really like on the track—a little concern is that the dirt is on top of the asphalt, so the water will really have nowhere to go, like normal dirt. So I don’t know if that will make the dirt float around. So that will be an interesting thing. If it is floating around, I will just go maximum attack anyhow. It won’t really affect me, but it will be interesting to see.”

Austin Dyne, #14 AD Racing Ford Fiesta ST: “Your setups are way different in the rain. Everyone is just running way softer—through springs, on roll bars, changing dampers, everything is just soft. Just trying to get the car to move and just get grip. Whatever you need to get grip, you do it.”

Joni Wiman, #31 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe: “Obviously the new car seems like it is competitive. I think we have made some improvements and we have some new stuff on the car so, so we should get there and we will fight for the win. We have a team with a lot of experience and they know how to set up the car. Obviously we don’t know about the new car and how it’s going to be in the rain, but I think it’s going to be good.”

‘It’s gnarly, bro’: IndyCar drivers face new challenge on streets of downtown Detroit

IndyCar Detroit downtown
James Black/Penske Entertainment
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DETROIT – It was the 1968 motion picture, “Winning” when actress Joanne Woodward asked Paul Newman if he were going to Milwaukee in the days after he won the Indianapolis 500 as driver Frank Capua.

“Everybody goes to Milwaukee after Indianapolis,” Newman responded near the end of the film.

Milwaukee was a mainstay as the race on the weekend after the Indianapolis 500 for decades, but since 2012, the first race after the Indy 500 has been Detroit at Belle Isle Park.

This year, there is a twist.

Instead of IndyCar racing at the Belle Isle State Park, it’s the streets of downtown Detroit on a race course that is quite reminiscent of the old Formula One and CART race course that was used from 1982 to 1991.

Formula One competed in the United States Grand Prix from 1982 to 1988. Beginning in 1989, CART took over the famed street race through 1991. In 1992, the race was moved to Belle Isle, where it was held through last year (with a 2009-2011 hiatus after the Great Recession).

The Penske Corp. is the promoter of this race, and they did a lot of good at Belle Isle, including saving the Scott Fountain, modernizing the Belle Isle Casino, and basically cleaning up the park for Detroit citizens to enjoy.

The race, however, had outgrown the venue. Roger Penske had big ideas to create an even bigger event and moving it back to downtown Detroit benefitted race sponsor Chevrolet. The footprint of the race course goes around General Motors world headquarters in the GM Renaissance Center – the centerpiece building of Detroit’s modernized skyline.

INDYCAR IN DETROITEntry list, schedule, TV info for this weekend

JOSEF’S FAMILY TIESNewgarden wins Indy 500 with wisdom of father, wife

Motor City is about to roar with the sound of Chevrolet and Honda engines this weekend as the NTT IndyCar Series is the featured race on the nine-turn, 1.7-mile temporary street course.

It’s perhaps the most unique street course on the IndyCar schedule because of the bumps on the streets and the only split pit lane in the series.

The pit lanes has stalls on opposing sides and four lanes across an unusual rectangular pit area (but still only one entry and exit).

Combine that, with the bumps and the NTT IndyCar Series drivers look forward to a wild ride in Motor City.

“It’s gnarly, bro,” Arrow McLaren driver Pato O’Ward said before posting the fastest time in Friday’s first practice. “It will be very interesting because the closest thing that I can see it being like is Toronto-like surfaces with more of a Long Beach-esque layout.

“There’s less room for error than Long Beach. There’s no curbs. You’ve got walls. I think very unique to this place.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Speeds from the first session

“Then it’s a bit of Nashville built into it. The braking zones look really very bumpy. Certain pavements don’t look bumpy but with how the asphalt and concrete is laid out, there’s undulation with it. So, you can imagine the cars are going to be smashing on every single undulation because we’re going to go through those sections fairly fast, and obviously the cars are pretty low. I don’t know.

“It looks fun, man. It’s definitely going to be a challenge. It’s going to be learning through every single session, not just for drivers and teams but for race control. For everyone.

“Everybody has to go into it knowing not every call is going to be smooth. It’s a tall task to ask from such a demanding racetrack. I think it’ll ask a lot from the race cars as well.”

The track is bumpy, but O’Ward indicated he would be surprised if it is bumper than Nashville. By comparison to Toronto, driving at slow speed is quite smooth, but fast speed is very bumpy.

“This is a mix of Nashville high-speed characteristics and Toronto slow speed in significant areas,” O’Ward said. “I think it’ll be a mix of a lot of street courses we go to, and the layout looks like more space than Nashville, which is really tight from Turn 4 to 8. It looks to be a bit more spacious as a whole track, but it’ll get tight in multiple areas.”

The concept of having four-wide pit stops is something that excites the 24-year-old driver from Monterey, Mexico.

“I think it’s innovation, bro,” O’Ward said. “If it works out, we’ll look like heroes.

“If it doesn’t, we tried.”

Because of the four lanes on pit road, there is a blend line the drivers will have to adhere to. Otherwise, it would be chaos leaving the pits compared to a normal two-lane pit road.

“If it wasn’t there, there’d be guys fighting for real estate where there’s one car that fits, and there’d be cars crashing in pit lane,” O’Ward said. “I get why they did that. It’s the same for everybody. I don’t think there’s a lot of room to play with. That’s the problem.

“But it looks freaking gnarly for sure. Oh my God, that’s going to be crazy.”

Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing believes the best passing areas will be on the long straights because of the bumps in the turns. That is where much of the action will be in terms of gaining or losing a position in the race.

“It will also be really easy to defend in my opinion,” Palou said. “Being a 180-degree corner, you just have to go on the inside and that’s it. There’s going to be passes for sure but its’ going to be risky.

“Turn 1, if someone dives in, you end up in the wall. They’re not going to be able to pass you on the exit, so maybe with the straight being so long you can actually pass before you end up on the braking zone.”

Palou’s teammate, Marcus Ericsson, was at the Honda simulator in Brownsburg, Indiana, before coming to Detroit and said he was shocked by the amount of bumps on the simulator.

Race promoter Bud Denker, the President of Penske Corporation, and Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix President Michael Montri, sent the track crews onto the streets with grinders to smooth out the bumps on the race course several weeks ago.

“They’ve done a decent amount of work, and even doing the track walk, it looked a lot better than what we expected,” Ericsson said. “I don’t think it’ll be too bad. I hope not. That’ll be something to take into account.

“I think the track layout doesn’t look like the most fun. Maybe not the most challenging. But I love these types of tracks with rules everywhere. It’s a big challenge, and you have to build up to it. That’s the types of tracks that I love to drive. It’s a very much Marcus Ericsson type of track. I like it.”

Scott Dixon, who was second fastest in the opening session, has competed on many new street circuits throughout his legendary racing career. The six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion for Chip Ganassi Racing likes the track layout, even with the unusual pit lane.

I don’t think that’s going to be something that catches on where every track becomes a double barrel,” Dixon said. “It’s new and interesting.

“As far as pit exit, I think Toronto exit is worse with how the wall sticks out. I think in both lanes, you’ve got enough lead time to make it and most guys will make a good decision.”

It wasn’t until shortly after 3 p.m. ET on Friday that the IndyCar drivers began the extended 90-minute practice session to try out the race course for the first time in real life.

As expected, there were several sketchy moments, but no major crashes during the first session despite 19 local yellow flags for incidents and six red flags.

Rookie Agustin Canapino had to cut his practice short after some damage to his No. 78 Dallara-Chevrolet, but he was among many who emerged mostly unscathed from scrapes with the wall.

“It was honestly less carnage than I expected,” said Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood, who was third fastest in the practice after coming off his first career IndyCar victory in the most recent street race at Long Beach in April. “I think a lot of people went off in the runoffs, but no one actually hit the wall (too hard), which actually surprised me. Hats off to them for keeping it clean, including myself.

“It was quite a bit less grip than I think everyone expected. Maybe a little bit more bumpy down into Turn 3 than everyone expected. But overall they did a good job between the two manufacturers. I’m sure everyone had pretty much the same we were able to base everything off of. We felt pretty close to maximum right away.”

Most of the preparation for this event was done either on the General Motors Simulator in Huntersville, North Carolina, or the Honda Performance Development simulator in Brownsburg, Indiana.

“Now, we have simulators that can scan the track, so we have done plenty of laps already,” Power told NBC Sports. “They have ground and resurfaced a lot of the track, so it should be smoother.

“But nothing beats real-world experience. It’s going to be a learning experience in the first session.”

As a Team Penske driver, Power and his teammates were consulted about the progress and layout of the Detroit street course. They were shown what was possible with the streets that were available.

“We gave some input back after we were on the similar what might be ground and things like that,” Power said.

Racing on the streets of Belle Isle was a fairly pleasant experience for the fans and corporate sponsor that compete in the race.

But the vibe at the new location gives this a “big event” feel.

“The atmosphere is a lot better,” Power said. “The location, the accessibility for the fans, the crowd that will be here, it’s much easier. I think it will be a much better event.

“It feels like a Long Beach, only in a much bigger city. That is what street course racing is all about.”

Because the track promoter is also the team owner, Power and teammates Scott McLaughlin and Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden will have a very busy weekend on the track, and with sponsor and personal appearances.

“That’s what pays the bills and allows us to do this,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500