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Red Bull GRC: RLL Racing enters series with Austin Dyne

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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will spread its wings to a third different championship, with the team announcing its entry into Red Bull Global Rallycross today.

Austin Dyne will run his Ford Fiesta ST for RLL Racing, based out of the team’s Hilliard, Ohio race shop. This sees RLL add Red Bull GRC to its exiting Verizon IndyCar Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship programs with Honda and BMW, respectively.

Dyne, now, is entered under his third different Supercars team in as many seasons. He raced under his own AD Racing banner this year, while having been entered under the Bryan Herta Rallysport banner in 2015.

RLL joins the list of active IndyCar owners within Red Bull GRC. Michael Andretti fields the two-car Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team and Herta, Andretti’s IndyCar co-owner, fields a single-car Ford entry. Dennis Reinbold and James “Sulli” Sullivan have also had GRC teams; Reinbold still runs a three-car GRC Lites program while Sullivan, who had been a co-owner with KVSH Racing and singularly ran the SH Rallycross team the last several seasons, has not yet revealed his own 2017 racing plans. Chip Ganassi Rallycross is no more, the team now re-launching under the Loenbro Motorsports banner.

RLL’s release is below:

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) announced today that the team will compete in the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercar championship and enter a Ford Fiesta ST for driver Austin Dyne. The program will operate from the team’s Ohio race shop.

The GRC team is the latest addition to RLLR’s portfolio that includes a current program in the Verizon IndyCar Series and the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Since being formed in 1992, the team has fielded entries in series such as CART, Champ Car, the IndyCar Series, Toyota Atlantic, American Le Mans Series and IMSA.

“We have been closely following the Global Rallycross series for the past few years but were waiting until the right opportunity came along,” said Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with CBS Late Show host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan. “We’re really happy to be entering the series with Austin. It will be a new challenge for us for sure but we have the resources to learn quickly. When you look at the demographics of the series, they are considerably younger than other forms of racing. I’ve see a couple of races before as a spectator and it’s a different form of racing for sure and very intriguing. It’s a good place for us to be because it gives us access to a different crowd and a good addition to what we’re doing as a team.”

“Rahal Letterman Lanigan has a lot of experience in motorsports and a lot of resources that we’ve never had access to before, so I’m excited to start the 2017 season,” added Austin Dyne. “Last year we struggled a little early in the season due to a late start with a new team, but this year will be a much smoother transition. I will be working with the same engine engineer, chief mechanic and race engineer, Clément Mitchell, that I ended last season with. We can also fabricate parts in-house at the Ohio race shop, which will benefit our program. We had some good momentum toward the end of the year, and I am optimistic we can carry that forward for a stronger start for 2017. It will allow me to focus solely on the racing aspect for the first time in a while. I’m looking forward to working with everyone at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, especially Bobby, who has so much experience to learn from.”

Dyne, a native of Los Angeles, California, got his start in racing in karting at the age of 15, progressed to the Skip Barber Regional series in 2010 and raced late model stock cars at Irwindale Speedway in 2011. He moved up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, where he was the Rookie of the Year in 2012, and competed in the East division in 2013. Also in 2013, he made his move to Red Bull Global Rallycross in the GRC Lites class and earned a season-best second place at Bristol. He moved up to Supercar with Barracuda Racing in 2014 then competed for Bryan Herta Rallysport in 2015 where he earned his first podium (Daytona) and first pole (Barbados). For 2016, he started his own team — AD Racing — and finished a career-high eighth in points as well as added a second car to his team at Phoenix.

The 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season will kick off with a brand new event at Memphis International Raceway. Taking place on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29, the new event will represent the first of 12 rounds on this year’s championship schedule. For more information visit http://www.redbullglobalrallycross.com, or follow Red Bull GRC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @GRCseries.

NBC and NBCSN will combine to produce more than 20 telecasts of the Red Bull GRC Supercar and GRC Lites series, and all events will be live streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming platforms for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs.

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?