Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull GRC: Speed, Andretti, VW closing on three-peat in L.A.

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Red Bull Global Rallycross concludes its 2017 season this weekend in Los Angeles, arguably the series’ marquee event and now traditional late-season venue at the Port of Los Angeles just outside Long Beach. You can watch coverage of the Supercars finale on Saturday, October 14, at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

For Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, a three-peat of driver championships is almost guaranteed. Scott Speed, back in the team’s No. 41 Circle K Volkswagen Beetle GRC, enters this weekend with a 30-point lead over teammate Tanner Foust in the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle (756-726). At 74 points back, Loenbro Motorsports’ Steve Arpin (No. 00 Ford Fiesta ST) is mathematically eligible but in need of a minor miracle to overtake either Volkswagen Andretti driver.

A Speed title would be his third in succession after winning the 2015 title in Las Vegas and the 2016 in L.A. last year, snatching it from Foust’s grasp (recap of L.A. weekend here). Foust swept the Seattle doubleheader to keep his title hopes in 2017 alive.

“L.A. is a great track and it’s a home state race for me. I’ve always felt comfortable there,” Speed said. “This year, we go into the final race with a big lead [in points]. My job is to keep us in the most protected position as possible while on track and keep the tires rolling until the checkered flag. If I can do that, we’ll have another championship for the VARX team!”

Foust said of his hopes, “We’re ready to put on a good show for the fans in L.A. this weekend! It’s hard to call the San Pedro Pier a home track, but the location and backdrop is certainly one of the most unique in motorsports. This weekend’s GRC season finale event should be a blast!”

Full championship-clinching scenarios are linked here, via Red Bull GRC’s official website.

Elsewhere in the Supercars field, Cabot Bigham is back at Bryan Herta Rallysport after missing the Seattle round, and the Northern California native returns to the site where he clinched last year’s GRC Lites title in dramatic fashion after surviving some first-lap chaos. Arpin, Bigham and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Austin Dyne make up the three Fords in the field, and Arpin will deploy a split livery this weekend.

The Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE trio of Oliver Eriksson, Mitchell DeJong and Sebastian Eriksson will look to deliver a win for the Honda Civic Coupe not far from Honda Performance Development’s headquarters in Santa Clarita, Calif., and after a tough weekend in Seattle.

Subaru Rally Team had a strong Seattle with both Chris Atkinson and Patrik Sandell scoring a podium apiece, the only drivers outside the Andretti pair to make into the top step.

The GRC Lites title was decided at Seattle in favor of Olsbergs MSE X Forces’ Cyril Raymond, the French talent having taken that series by storm all season. Although the title isn’t up for grabs, the Lites cars do put on a good show in Los Angeles, and witnessed some great racing here last year. Coverage of that race airs Wednesday, October 18, at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The 0.654-mile, 11-turn track at the Port of L.A. is quite similar to last year. A full course breakdown is linked here with a track map below.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.