Scott Speed secures second straight Red Bull GRC title

Photo: Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool
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LOS ANGELES – Scott Speed has come from behind to win his second consecutive Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, after finishing second in today’s final round, Red Bull GRC Los Angeles presented by Honda.

The driver of the No. 41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle GRC – dubbed the #PinkBeetle this weekend – ended behind Brian Deegan as Deegan claimed an overdue first victory this season in his No. 38 Chip Ganassi Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST.

Deegan used the Honda Joker Lap to leapfrog from fourth to first on Lap 11 of 12 in the final.

Tanner Foust, Speed’s title adversary, finished a hard-luck fourth in the final his No. 34 Beetle. Despite having a 13-point lead entering the weekend (465-452) and a six-point lead entering the day (523-517) before qualifying, the heats and the semifinals, Foust fell short of the title.

From the launch, Patrik Sandell moved into the lead in his No. 18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST ahead of Speed and Foust, who’d been forced to go into the Last Chance Qualifier after being assessed a penalty in a semifinal for aggressive driving. Deegan was fourth with David Higgins fifth in a Subaru. Contact occurred further down the order with Steve Arpin’s Ganassi Ford smoking and Austin Dyne’s hood coming up, the latter driver then running the rest of the distance with it up.

There was plenty of action beyond the top four but the critical moment of the race came when Speed went for the lead with a run on Sandell on Lap 11 of 12, which was a risky move in some regards because he didn’t want to risk losing the title if he spun or lost positions.

But both drivers got leapfrogged by Deegan, who’d saved his run at the Joker lap, and made the call to use it when he saw Speed attempting to go after Sandell. Once Deegan emerged, he came back on line right in front of Speed, and that was enough to take the lead.

Deegan scored a popular win to snap a several-year winless drought and promptly celebrated by taking the top of his firesuit and shirt off on top of his car in front of the fans. Meanwhile, with second, Speed had enough to secure his, Michael Andretti and Volkswagen’s second straight title.

Sandell was third with Foust fourth, Joni Wiman fifth in the top Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE in Honda’s home race and Tanner Whitten an impressive sixth in the 12-car final in his second Supercars race in his debut weekend with SH Rallycross/DRR.

Deegan’s win also vaulted him to third in the points, behind the Volkswagen teammates.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.