Red Bull GRC: Saturday at New River before Supercars, Lites finals

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull GRC
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – Part of the joy and challenge in Red Bull Global Rallycross races is that there is simply so much action over the course of the day to keep up with, and trying to recap it all isn’t easy.

Here’s an attempt to do so thus far, as we get into the Last Chance Qualifiers (LCQs):

The track changed slightly this morning, with the chicane before the jump opened up a bit. Steve Arpin of Chip Ganassi Rallycross explained that you can enter the corner one gear higher than previously.

The Chip Ganassi Rallycross team had quite a whale of a time to even get Arpin’s No. 00 Jacob Companies Ford Fiesta ST back going on Saturday, as his engine broke on Friday. The crew performed repairs until 2 a.m. to install the new engine on Arpin’s car. Arpin repaid them with a semifinal race win later in the day.

Tough day thus far for Patrik Sandell in the No. 18 Kobalt Tools Ford Fiesta ST for Bryan Herta Rallysport. An accident in one of his heat races took the car behind the wall and missed its semifinal; the team was scrambling to fix the car ahead of the LCQ. If Sandell’s team doesn’t make it, he’d miss the final.

Sandell was still being awesome and signing autographs, though:

Colton Herta is here, as is dad Bryan this weekend. Bryan Herta missed the Phoenix and Dallas weekends because of IndyCar commitments. The younger version of “Hertamania” – the 16-year-old Colton – balances his time between California and London.

Scott Speed’s Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team needed to perform another engine change this morning. It’s perhaps unfortunate to have to say the VARX team is getting good at it – this is the team’s third engine change in the last two race weekends. Speed is in the No. 41 Special Operations Warrior Foundation Beetle.

A couple contact moments occurred between Jeff Ward of SH Rallycross/DRR and Brian Deegan in a heat race, although Deegan, in the No. 38 NOS Energy Drink Ford Fiesta ST did well in his semifinal to make a late race pass of Joni Wiman’s No. 31 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe for second.

Honda has its first heat race win, in Heat 2A, courtesy of Sebastian Eriksson in the No. 93 Honda.

The crowd is off the hook. And this is only a Saturday, before the event opens to the public fully on Sunday.

Cabot Bigham of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing took his No. 2 entry to his first GRC Lites heat race win earlier today.

More to come after the LCQs and the finals later today.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”