DiZinno: Red Bull GRC LA showcases series potential in full display

Photo: Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool

The running joke that’s gone on about me and races for more than four years at a rather consistent clip is that when I attend a race, it rains. It started as an inside joke among me and a few friends prior to the 2012 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and grew greater legs from there as more people got on. And thus, the hashtag #BlameTony was born.

I use that as a setup to note that the two prior Red Bull Global Rallycross races I’d attended on site prior to this weekend’s Red Bull GRC Los Angeles presented by Honda at the Port of Los Angeles were also rain-affected, in last year’s season finale at Las Vegas and earlier this year at the MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station) New River military base. The internal hope for me this weekend was that I wouldn’t provide Red Bull GRC a trifecta of rain at events I’d been at.

Mitchell DeJong. Photo: Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool
Mitchell DeJong. Photo: Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool

Luckily, we were blessed with perfect weather at the Port of Los Angeles all weekend, and the picturesque backdrop served as a phenomenally better year-on-year season finale for the burgeoning championship, compared to last year’s rain-drenched finale in Vegas.

Red Bull GRC was mixed in among SEMA week last year in Las Vegas, and with so many from the motorsports industry on site in Las Vegas for that, it felt as though Red Bull GRC was not the featured attraction. Having the race schedule on an awkward Tuesday-Wednesday set up was also tougher by comparison to the usual Saturday-Sunday affair, and by bringing the finale to L.A., that alleviated that concern this year.

Crowd. Photo: Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool
Crowd. Photo: Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool

For starters, it’s apparent how much Red Bull GRC has caught on in L.A. This is the series’ headquarters, and it’s notable how many fans were already aware of what the series has to offer. A simple walk back to the paddock Saturday morning after checking in at the track rather surprised me, because there was a long line of fans waiting to get in the facility and watch the day’s action.

Red Bull GRC’s style of quick, rapid-fire races plays well here. When you have such a short track – 0.699 of a mile on this occasion – you can sit anywhere, whether in the GA or Honda preferred grandstands, or even watch from the Red Bull VIP area of the SS Lane Victory, and have a majestic view of the entire facility. There is not a bad seat in the house, and you’re treated to a show as the door-banging style of rallycross racing takes center stage from there.

The event layout here was slightly different than at MCAS or Las Vegas. All the manufacturer display areas are outside the track site, on the midway walk into the facility. They’re highlighted so that as you walk into the track site, you can check out what you want to check out first, and then be treated to the action once you were through the main gate.

Food trucks at Red Bull GRC. Photo: Tony DiZinno
Food trucks at Red Bull GRC. Photo: Tony DiZinno

Food trucks lined the track site as well, providing a bevy of surprisingly amazing options for fans at the circuit. Never in a million years did I think I’d be eating lobster tacos and New England clam chowder out of a food truck at a race track, but lo and behold thanks to Cousins Maine Lobster, I did on Sunday. And that was one of several eclectic options.

The only recommendation I would make going forward to amplify that is to have a shaded seating area after picking up the food; with sun-drenched afternoons both days, going into sunlight to eat the food you just acquired is a less than perfect scenario.

The level of interest from key IndyCar stakeholders was present all weekend throughout the paddock, and there was talk of potential new manufacturers looking around and scoping things out to see if they’ll join the field for 2017. Honda joined this year to run against Volkswagen, Ford and Subaru.

Then, perhaps most importantly, there was the racing itself. With this the last race weekend of the season, and championships on the line, the racing was tenacious – but fair. It was entertaining as all get out, too. A moment when Joni Wiman (No. 31 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Honda Civic Coupe) and David Higgins (No. 75 Subaru Rally Team USA Subaru WRX-STi) collided in mid-air over the jump was insane to witness.

Austin Dyne somehow drove the near entirety of the second race on Sunday with his hood up on his No. 14 AD Racing Ford Fiesta ST. Supercars debutantes Tanner Whitten (No. 07 SH Rallycross/DRR Ford) and Mitchell DeJong (No. 24 Honda Red Bull OMSE Honda) impressed in their first weekends in the big show.

Speed leads. Photo: Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool
Speed leads. Photo: Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool

And then, the title battles themselves were so much fun to watch as the tension built over each race’s respective final. The Supercars final was first up on Sunday, and it set up as a strategic chess match once Patrik Sandell (No. 18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford) got into the lead ahead of the pair of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross #PinkBeetles of Scott Speed (No. 41 Beetle GRC) and Tanner Foust (No. 34 Beetle GRC) and then, lurking in fourth, was Brian Deegan (No. 38 Chip Ganassi Rallycross Ford).

Foust was in the difficult position of knowing he needed to get around Speed to secure the title, but he also wanted to race clean, fair and square against his teammate. While Sandell led, the question was whether Speed would make a mistake to open the door for Foust to make it through.

Then, on the second-to-last lap, it all changed. Speed went for the lead and Sandell and achieved it… only to see Deegan pull off the Honda Joker Lap move to end all Honda Joker Lap moves and leapfrog from fourth to first in one car. The “general” of Metal Mulisha laid down the law with this passing move, and would not be denied.

It made for an epic finish, as Deegan broke a five-year winless drought, and Speed secured the title over Foust, a hard-luck second. As Speed won and soaked up the moment, Deegan erupted in celebration, even taking the top of his firesuit off as the crowd roared.

This was merely the appetizer to the GRC Lites finale in the afternoon. Somehow, Cabot Bigham of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing pulled off a last-to-first run, after getting into second on the first lap after a first corner fracas where Olsbergs MSE X Forces teammates Oliver Eriksson and Miki Weckstrom saw their title hopes compromised.

Throughout the weekend, with the combination of the staff’s hard work, the perfect weather, the solid viewing, food and display options for fans and the great racing, it was obvious that a weekend like this is what makes Red Bull GRC sellable, and what makes it both fun and on the rise.

Note: The full Los Angeles event will re-air this Sunday, Oct 16 on NBCSN, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET.  

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Detroit


The focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.

Supercross Results Detroit
Justin Barcia was part of an exciting, four-rider battle in the middle of Detroit’s A-Main. – Feld Motor Sports

For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.

Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.

Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.

It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.

Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.

Plessinger’s fall took the wind from his sails. He attempted to right his bike after a hard crash, but as it smoked and pinged, he dropped to 13th in the final rundown.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.

Supercross Results Detroit
Strong starts have been one of the keys to Hunter Lawrence’s success in 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.

Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.

Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.

Rounding out the top five is Chris Blose, who was pressed into service at the start of the season because of a rash of injuries at Pro Circuit Kawasaki. This is Blose’s first top-five of the season, although he’s steadily improved over the past five rounds.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 East Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.

The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.

2023 Results

Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s