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

Photo: 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.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)