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Red Bull GRC: Speed, Keyes win Saturday races in LA

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Editor’s note – there’s been a late add to the programming schedule with today’s first Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercars race airing tonight at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on NBCSN. Coverage continues as scheduled on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT on NBC. Full recaps from today’s races are below:

LOS ANGELES – Scott Speed (Supercars) and Alex Keyes (GRC Lites) have claimed victories in the second-to-last races of Red Bull Global Rallycross’ 2016 season at the Red Bull GRC Los Angeles presented by Honda.

Both drivers dominated their races from pole, but that did not mean both races were lacking in action. It was far from it in both categories.

Speed, who entered 13 points behind Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross teammate Tanner Foust entering the weekend (465-452) launched off the line and was well clear of Foust, with both of the #PinkBeetle cars running away from the rest of the field.

Foust’s best chance to overtake him came when he took the Honda Joker Lap on the 12th and last lap of the final.
Although that cut the deficit significantly once Foust took the Joker, he was unable to overcome the deficit Speed had built up in his No. 41 Beetle GRC the rest of the race. The win is Speed’s fourth this season.

Steve Arpin launched from the fourth and final row of the grid, 10thh place, up to fifth by the end of the first lap in his No. 00 Ford Fiesta ST for Chip Ganassi Rallycross. Only a couple laps later, he was up to third, where he ran for the remainder of the race.

The most dramatic moment of the race came when Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE’s Joni Wiman and Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins actually collided in mid-air going over the jump on Lap 5 when engaged in a battle for fifth place. Wiman went to Higgins’ inside and his right rear tire of his No. 31 Honda Civic Coupe hit the No. 75 Subaru WRX-STi, which punctured it. Wiman limped around from there and ultimately retired. Brian Deegan leapt to fourth in his No. 38 Ganassi Ford behind the top three.

The final battle in the race occurred for fifth, with Wiman’s teammate Sebastian Eriksson prevailing in a last-lap scrap over Patrik Sandell of Bryan Herta Rallysport. However, after the race, Eriksson was dropped to ninth place for aggressive driving, with a five-second penalty assessed.

Higgins was seventh ahead of teammate Chris Atkinson, who had a miserable start and spent the race recovering, with Supercars debutantes Mitchell DeJong (Honda) and Tanner Whitten (SH Rallycross/DRR) completing the top 10. Wiman and Austin Dyne retired from the race.

In GRC Lites, Keyes took his No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing entry to an early lead over points leader Oliver Eriksson (No. 16 Olsbergs MSE X Forces), teammate Miki Weckstrom (No. 45), Colin Braun (No. 54 CORE autosport) and Travis PeCoy (No. 3 AF Racing).

Weckstrom used the Honda Joker Lap to get past Eriksson and Braun into second before the drama intensified behind them.

Braun darted to the inside of Eriksson into the left-hander before the jump, which knocked Eriksson off the road and out of the race.

Keyes won from Weckstrom, Braun, Cabot Bigham and Christian Brooks on the road. Braun was disqualified from the race after the contact with Eriksson, and that brought everyone from Bigham in fourth up one position.

Points standings will follow in due course ahead of tomorrow’s season finales, when the championships will be determined.

Today’s first Supercars race will air tonight at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on NBCSN, a bonus broadcast. Full coverage from the weekend airs Sunday at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT on NBC.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).