Red Bull GRC: After surviving Atlantic City, Speed seeks fourth straight win

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

A last-lap, last-turn pass of Brian Deegan netted Scott Speed an overdue first Red Bull Global Rallycross win of the season in the mud and rain of MCAS New River. Then Speed dominated at Washington, D.C. to go back-to-back.

A couple weeks ago however, Speed pulled off his third straight win in the No. 41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle GRC at Atlantic City, N.J., capitalizing on teammate Tanner Foust’s demise.

Foust had got the jump off the line and in the opening laps but eventually suffered a right rear tire puncture, and in the closing stages of the final, Speed was able to get past. Foust limped his No. 34 Rockstar Energy Beetle home in fourth, just off the podium.

For Speed, it was apparent that surviving the technical, more than 1-mile Bader Field circuit would be key to success.

“The off-road part of the track was extremely rough,” Speed told NBC Sports. “In practice, Tanner had ripped the whole right front corner off the car in the dirt. So we knew it’d be tough… and we saw others ripping tires. It was very much a risk/reward sector in terms of pushing the car.

“On the first lap of the race, Tanner made a great move on the dirt getting by us. I went into the mode of, I have to put in qualifying laps. Around Lap 3, when I’d caught back on, I damaged the right rear – I think a broke suspension piece – and cruised through dirt, ruts and potholes in the dirt section. I was a bit surprised he pushed as hard as he was. It was definitely surprising.

“But yes! It was very technical. It was made apparent after the first practice. Still, it was all a track we all really liked, even with the different dirt section, because you had to be so careful. Deegan very much enjoyed it!”

Bad luck struck Speed in the early season races but it’s finally come good here for the defending series champion in the last couple months, heading into the final two race weekends of the season.

“Like you said, it’s getting rid of the tough luck and having clean weekends,” Speed said. “They’re not easy wins by any means. I think we’re just having clean weekends; we don’t have a huge speed advantage anymore.

“Even Phoenix, the start of season was a disaster. We were lucky to qualify second when we did. We broke in one of the semifinals. We ended fifth or sixth. There were lots of little gremlins at start of year, but knock on wood it’s been clean since then.”

Speed also has a healthy respect with Foust as they head into the final three races of the year. Speed leads by nine points over Foust (409-400) as they look to add to their respective Red Bull GRC titles. Foust won two (2011, 2012) and Speed one (2015).

“We have enough mutual respect to race each other clean,” Speed said. “In three years, we’ve never really ran into each other… at least not intentionally! But that goes a long way.

“We’ve had the short end of the luck stick earlier, but it’s turning around right now. We’ll look forward to continue to rattle off the pole positions and having clean qualifying sessions; that hurt us in the beginning of the year.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”