Scott Speed’s blog: My time in Red Bull GRC… so far

Speed and family. Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
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Editor’s note: Providing a behind the scenes take during his 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) season, Scott Speed, driver of the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle GRC for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross (VARX), will contribute to NBCSports.com, giving readers his view from behind the visor.

In his first blog installment, Speed looks back on his time in the series while looking ahead on his fourth season with the team, highlighting the ups and downs while heading to season-opener Memphis defending back-to-back championship titles.

The season begins at Memphis the weekend of April 29-30. Qualifying coverage airs at 12 a.m. ET on April 30 on NBCSN, the race at 1 p.m. ET on NBC. 

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

If I could sum up my time so far in GRC in one word, it’d be “exciting” for sure. From the moment I first drove a GRC car all the way to winning two championships, it’s been ups and downs; a lot of exciting highs and lows.

Standing out, winning my first X Games gold in Brazil really started it all. It was my introduction to the sport. I was brought in to guest drive that weekend and no one expected me to win. From the first time I got in the car, I felt super comfortable. We came from being the underdog to win gold. Without that moment, I wouldn’t be racing GRC now. That race changed my career.

On the flip side, Daytona last season isn’t exactly my favorite memory. Catching on fire while leading is something I don’t want to repeat, and without that we would’ve most certainly won the race. It would’ve changed the points landscape and made last year less stressful.

But in pairing with Volkswagen and Andretti Rallycross, it obviously was a great decision by everyone from the start. I think it’s one of those things where it was a no-brainer for me. Volkswagen has had so much success globally in their rallycross programs, and Michael [Andretti] has always run a first-class operation. Everyone’s been super happy this whole time and it’s been outstanding since day one.

Heading to Memphis to start the 2017 schedule, there’s some added pressure for the three-peat, no question. But I think it’s great we’re able to continue success, working together with VARX and partnering with Oberto, Circle K and Rockstar this season. Their brands fit my personality and lifestyle so well. Between Rockstar and Oberto which I consume every day, I love representing those brands. Oberto’s great for getting nutrition, especially while I’m on the road traveling so much. So I’m very much looking forward to working with everyone this season.

Defending back-to-back championships won’t be easy with the target on our backs. We’re going to hopefully go and not make the same mistakes we’ve made in past, not going to catch on fire like I did in Daytona. I know we can win, I know we’re fast enough. That’s the difference. I’d like to focus on minimizing the downsides, the small mistakes this year.

Photo: Louis Yio/Red Bull Content Pool

I’m also already looking forward to Seattle. It’s my time to go up there and have a great showing this year, and to do it in front of Oberto’s home crowd. I’m looking forward to getting redemption out west and I know we can.

Above all, I’m looking forward to having my family at the track. It’s something I’ll continue to look forward to every time I go racing like I have. For me, racing has always been a family sport. It means everything to me with GRC being so family-friendly. My dad got me in to the sport when I was younger, and my mom has supported me along the way. For my wife and kids to be around me, to share the experiences with me, it means everything. It doesn’t feel the same when they’re not at the track. It’s something I feel very passionate about, and look forward to sharing every step of the season with my family as we work hard to three-peat.



Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”