Photo: Jason Zindroski/Red Bull GRC

Scott Speed completes Red Bull GRC title three-peat in L.A.

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Scott Speed has won his third consecutive Red Bull Global Rallycross championship for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, at the Port of Los Angeles, on a day when teammate Tanner Foust forced the issue with a perfect day of his own to win the 12th and final round of the season, and capped off a three-race win streak to end the year.

Speed is the first three-time champion in Red Bull GRC history, breaking a tie between he and Foust on two.

“The whole week leading up to the race was thinking about the what if’s. My hat’s off. I have the best team out here. It’s a team effort; I’m probably the smallest part to do with this!” Speed told NBC’s Will Christien post-race.

Speed entered the weekend with a 30-point lead over Foust and executed a clean, major drama-free day through the preliminary races before the 10-lap Supercars final.

Foust won all three heat races before the semifinals. Speed ended second, third and fourth in the three heats, which were lower results than he might have expected. In the first heat, the third driver still mathematically eligible for the title, Steve Arpin, got eliminated.

In the semifinals, Foust won semifinal one, which brought the gap down to 14 points to Speed before the second semifinal. Speed won the second semifinal, rebounding from contact with Chris Atkinson’s Subaru off the start and then using the Joker to pass Patrik Sandell and Sebastian Eriksson in one fell swoop on the fourth of six laps. That brought the gap back up to 24 points going into the final (781-757), and with Foust needing to win and have Speed end ninth or lower to overcome the gap.

Cabot Bigham had the opportunity to play spoiler for Bryan Herta Rallysport, starting on the outside of Speed and Foust on the front row going into the final. Foust, Sandell and Bigham moved into the top three positions through the opening corners with Speed falling back to fourth.

Foust controlled the race from there en route to the flag over Speed, who used the Joker to pass Sandell for second on the final lap. He ended 19 points behind, unofficially, with Arpin in third.

With his 16th career win, Foust regained the lead in all-time GRC finals wins. “The key is qualifying, so the battle was getting that done. We snuck that from Scott. There was a glimmer of hope. We made it through the heats and actually had a chance to win if Scott was eighth or less. We were hungry for it! I thought he might get caught up a bit. I’m so happy for our team on the Rockstar and Andretti tent. We had a tough Atlantic City but won everything since. Hopefully we’ll carry some of that for next year to make it even faster and better,” Foust told Christien.

Kyle Busch happy with first stint: ‘Put me in the car, there’s excitement!’

AP Photo/Terry Renna
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Rolex 24 at Daytona debut of the “KB Show” was cut short by a strategy maneuver but still delivered drama and a positive result.

Kyle Busch got the No. 14 RCF GT3 Lexus back on the lead lap and back in contention for a GTD victory at Daytona International Speedway.

“It was good,” Kyle Busch said with a broad smile after a 42-minute stint. “Just, uh, shit, put me in the car, and there’s excitement around! Drove all my way back to the lead lap and everything.

“Overall, we’ve had a good experience and hell I only got one stint in, so I’m ready for more. Sign me up, coach!”

The two-time Cup champion was expected to drive for at least 90 minutes, but the first full-course caution of the race (with 19 hours and 16 minutes remaining) caused AIM Vasser Sullivan to change up its drive plan. Busch was called to the pits in favor of Parker Chase.

“With all the strategy and the way the wave-bys work here, it’s quite different than what we’re accustomed to (in NASCAR),” said Busch, who likely will drive longer now later in the race. “That wasn’t bad. To get ourselves back on the lead lap and back to a position where we can start scrapping again hopefully is what we needed.

“So I got one stint in, but I’m trying to save myself and (teammate) Jack (Hawksworth) for a little later.”

Busch climbed into the car shortly after 6 p.m. as the last of the No. 14’s four drivers. He complained a few times on his radio about traffic, which he said was his biggest challenge.

“There were a couple of instances we ran down a smaller car, and (it was) just mirror driving in front of us,” he said. “That was pretty bad. We lost probably 2 seconds on that. Overall, I guess that’s road racing.

The yellow flag was exactly what Busch’s team needed after being forced to start from the rear of the field when it missed qualifying because of an engine change. Hawksworth, who started the race, said the car was “quick in the wrong places and slow in the right places” after struggling with handling and speed in the first stint.

“I don’t feel we’re out of it,” Hawksworth said. “It’s a very long race. Still early days. We need to work on having speed for the end of the race. The position right now doesn’t really make any difference. We’ll need to find some performance at the end of the race to fight for the win.”