Photo: SH Rallycross/DRR

Red Bull GRC: Piquet Jr. back for Washington, D.C. with SH Rallycross/DRR

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Nelson Piquet Jr., who scored both his and SH Rallycross/DRR’s first Red Bull Global Rallycross victory last year at Washington, D.C., will make at least a one-off return for next weekend’s race at D.C.’s RFK Stadium (Saturday, July 30, 2 p.m. ET, NBC).

The team’s release is below:

SH Rallycross/DRR announced today that Nelson Piquet Jr. will return to the team to defend his Washington D. C. Red Bull Global Rallycross win.

Piquet Jr., who drove for the team in 2014 and 2015, finishing fourth in the championship both years, claimed his first and the team’s first victory last year in Washington D.C. He will pilot the No. 07 MET-Rx – SH Rallycross/DRR Ford Fiesta ST machine in his bid to repeat as the Washington D. C. winner.

Commenting on the announcements, SH Racing Rallycross/DRR team owner James “Sulli” Sullivan said, “Last year Nelson did a fantastic job bringing us our first GRC win. The opportunity arose for him to race with us again for the Washington D.C. event, so we felt it only fitting that we put him back behind the wheel and see if he can make magic again.”

“I’ve missed competing in Red Bull GRC with SH Rallycross/DRR,” said Piquet Jr. “I had such a great couple of seasons with the team and I love rallycross. Sulli and I are friends and have kept in touch. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to race again with the team that helped me get my first GRC victory.

Piquet Jr. has made 26 RBGRC starts. He drove four races in 2013 before joining SH Rallycross in 2014. In 22 starts with SH Rallycross, Piquet Jr. has earned 11 top-five finishes, including eight podium performances and the win in Washington D. C.. In addition, Piquet Jr. has piloted the SH Rallycross entry to 16 heat race wins and a bronze medal at the 2014 X GAMES Austin, earning SH Rallycross its first podium finish in only its third RBGRC event.

In addition to RBGRC, Piquet Jr. currently competes in the FIA Formula E Championship and, in 2015, he became the first Formula E world champion. Piquet Jr. has also contested races in Formula 1, GP2, Formula 3, NASCAR Trucks, Nationwide and Sprint Cup and Indy Lights.

SH Rallycross/DRR is in its fourth season of Red Bull Global Rallycross competition and third full season (ran the X Games Los Angeles in 2013). The team has finished fourth in the championship standings the last two seasons. In 2015, the team had its best season with four podium performances, including the win in Washington D. C. SH Rallycross was the only Red Bull Global Rallycross SuperCar team to make every main (final) event in 2015.

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).