Red Bull GRC – Volkswagen Rallycross NY Preview

IN BRIEF: Patrik Sandell leads the cars and stars of Red Bull Global Rallycross into the series’ inaugural event in New York, just under a month after taking his first series victory at Volkswagen Rallycross DC. Meanwhile, Scott Speed puts a single-point lead on the line as Nelson Piquet Jr. looks to score his third straight podium finish and take the points lead.


  • Sunday, July 20, 2:00PM ET on NBC (live)
  • Wednesday, July 25, 5:30PM ET on NBCSN


LAST RACE: 11 cars started the main event in DC due to a penalty administration error, but all 11 vehicles completed every lap of the final. Volkswagen drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed overcame coincidental engine failures on Saturday to make it to the final on Sunday, but the top third of the field was dominated by Ford, as Patrik Sandell held off Nelson Piquet Jr., Joni Wiman, and Steve Arpin to make it a Fiesta 1-2-3-4.

DRIVER CHANGES: All 12 full-time Red Bull GRC drivers will compete this weekend. Nelson Piquet Jr. will revert to the #07 on his SH Racing Rallycross car, while Sarah Burgess will make her long-awaited debut in the #04 BMI Racing Chevrolet Sonic.

THE TRACK: Nassau Coliseum will feature a .467-mile course modeled after last year’s Las Vegas track layout, a wide, six-turn course designed to offer numerous passing opportunities and corners that vary from fast and sweeping to slow and tight. Ken Block took the victory on this track layout in Las Vegas last November, with Tanner Foust finishing second.

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: In the first three races of the 2014 Red Bull GRC season, Nelson Piquet Jr. has steadily improved his finishing positions, from fourth in Barbados and third at X Games to second at DC last month. After yielding his GRC Lites ride to younger brother Pedro, Piquet Jr. will focus on Supercars alone as he looks for his first rallycross victory.

BACK ON TRACK: Tanner Foust’s first top-five finish of the season came in DC last month, when he overcame engine troubles to win the last chance qualifier and tore through the field to run near the front for most of the final. The two-time series champion returns to New York in a Red Bull GRC Supercar for the first time since 2011, when he appeared at the Ed Sullivan Theater to demonstrate high-speed parallel parking skills on The Late Show with David Letterman.

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Only four drivers have been able to make it to all three main events so far this season: Scott Speed, Nelson Piquet Jr., Patrik Sandell, and Austin Dyne. Speed, Piquet Jr., and Sandell now comprise the top three drivers in series points, while Dyne ranks seventh, only 18 points behind fellow GRC Lites graduate Joni Wiman for top rookie honors. Can all four drivers continue the streak in New York?

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Volkswagen Rallycross NY, this weekend’s Red Bull Global Rallycross event at Nassau Coliseum:

Tanner Foust, Driver, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo: “New York is a great place, and I think the sports fans here and population here love a great show. That’s one thing I think rallycross can deliver out here that other motorsports have come short on. The Polo is a very stable chassis with good geometry, so that can be a reward on something like this with such a long right-hand corner. In Vegas, it was about being smooth, but we were still on bias-ply tires; this will be a completely different track because we’re on radial tires, and the track is going to be super coarse and rough. It’s going to be a challenge! I think it’s a track that will really be setup-biased, and for that reason Andretti is the team to be on, so I’m happy with where I sit.”

Ken Block, Driver, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST: “For me, to be able to come out to a bunch of new venues, especially ones near big cities, and especially cities I like to go to like New York, is really cool. So I’m stoked to go to such a wide variety of great cities, like New York, Los Angeles, X Games in Austin, and Vegas. For me, it’s just cool to see that we’re actually working to make this sport bigger and bigger and take it to better locations.”

Scott Speed, Driver, #77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo: “I’m looking forward to getting back on track. Obviously, the last time we went out, we didn’t have such a good showing, so we have some points to make up now. Luckily we’re still in the lead, so that’s going to be good. But this weekend, I think we’re going to be fast. We’ve had some time to get our car prepped, I think the team has done a great job of getting this thing ready to roll, and I think we’re going to go out there and hopefully pad our points lead a little bit.”

Patrik Sandell, Driver, #18 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST: “It’s a really cool place—New York, for us European people, it’s more or less the main city of the United States, that’s just the way we see it. It’s a big place, and I’m glad that we’re bringing the sport to another big capital. What made me win in DC was just bloody hard work, focusing on everything in the two days and trying to do the maximum of everything I could. That’s the plan now as well.”

Bucky Lasek, Driver, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI: “I’m really more of a tarmac guy. I can’t take away from anything that I’ve learned on dirt—I’ve really been honing my skills. I don’t think one track particularly favors me more than another, I think it’s just about being smooth in the car, because from where I come from, in circuit driving, I don’t slide the car around at all. The years of experience that I have from that, I bring over to rallycross and make it stick. I think the toughest thing is going to be left side tires—it’s a really rough surface, and it’s going to be tough saving tires.”

Sarah Burgess, Driver, #04 BMI Racing Chevrolet Sonic: “The cool factor about Red Bull Global Rallycross is the idea that you can take this sport, put it anywhere you want, and go run a race. It’s not out of the way, you don’t have to travel two hours to get to the race track, and that’s what makes it so appealing. So I’m really excited that Red Bull Global Rallycross have been able to put this format together. Coming here to New York—what other racing series is able to come this close to New York City and actually hold an event? It’s definitely exciting, and I think it shows where this series wants to go.”


  1. Scott Speed, 135
  2. Nelson Piquet Jr., 134
  3. Patrik Sandell, 108
  4. Steve Arpin, 108
  5. Joni Wiman, 85


  1. Ford, 277
  2. Volkswagen, 176
  3. Subaru, 95
  4. Hyundai, 60
  5. Chevrolet, 3

GRC Lites Race Preview: Volkswagen Rallycross NY

IN BRIEF: Mitchell DeJong looks to make it three for three in the 2014 GRC Lites season at Volkswagen Rallycross NY, held at Nassau Coliseum this weekend. DeJong, the only past race winner in this week’s field, will attempt to hold off a swarm of hungry drivers looking to make an impression in the first-time event.

LAST RACE: Once again Mitchell DeJong proved to be the class of the field in DC, running away with a victory over Olsbergs MSE teammate Kevin Eriksson and double-duty driver Nelson Piquet Jr. despite a hurting vehicle. It was the second race win and fourth podium of DeJong’s 11-race career in the class.


DRIVER CHANGES: Nelson Piquet Jr. and Atila Abreu will not compete this weekend after racing to third and fourth place finishes in DC, respectively. Pedro Piquet, Piquet Jr.’s 15-year-old brother, will step into the Piquet Sports vehicle, while Abreu’s vehicle will remain dormant. Austin Cindric and C4 Motorsports also will not race this weekend, with Oliver Eriksson taking their place for Olsbergs MSE.

THE TRACK: Nassau Coliseum will feature a .467-mile course modeled after last year’s Las Vegas track layout, a wide, six-turn course designed to offer numerous passing opportunities and corners that vary from fast and sweeping to slow and tight. None of the three podium finishers from last November’s Las Vegas race will be competing in GRC Lites this weekend, though winner Joni Wiman will be competing in Supercars.

HOMETOWN HERO: Hillsborough, NJ native and Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing driver Tyler Benson will aim for a career-best finish at this weekend’s event, competing in the sixth race of his GRC Lites career. His father, Brad Benson, was a staple of New York’s dominant Giants teams of the 1980s, and the family’s farm served as a shakedown area before the event for Benson and Supercars teammates Rhys Millen and Emma Gilmour.

LATE BIRTHDAY GIFT?: Kevin Eriksson of Olsbergs MSE turned 18 on July 16, making this weekend’s event his first as a legal adult in the United States. Now a three-time podium finisher in GRC Lites, he will look to give himself a late present—his first win of the season—while simultaneously looking to make up a 12-point deficit on teammate Mitchell DeJong.

FAMILY AFFAIRS: Pedro Piquet becomes the second Piquet to compete in a Red Bull GRC event, inheriting his brother’s GRC Lites car for the first time in New York, while Oliver Eriksson joins Kevin Eriksson at Olsbergs MSE. The Piquets and Erikssons will become the first pairs of brothers to compete in the same event in series history, though only the Erikssons will be competing directly against one another.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Volkswagen Rallycross NY, this weekend’s Red Bull Global Rallycross event at Nassau Coliseum:

Mitchell DeJong, Driver, #24 Olsbergs MSE GRC Lites: “It’s really cool to be able to go to all of these different places. Being in New York, it’s a really cool event, and I’m looking forward to turning some laps on the track. We have a very different tire this year, so it’s very tough to say how this will compare to Vegas. You have to try to remember as much as you can from last time, but you also have to start from scratch, start again and try to start from the beginning and see if you can make improvements.”

Kevin Eriksson, Driver, #96 Olsbergs MSE GRC Lites: “It’s my first time ever in New York—I haven’t been able to shake it yet, but it seems to be a lot of people here on the highways. It’s a cool place, and I think it’ll be a good race as always. There were a few guys racing in Las Vegas last year, and of course we know everything’s not the same, but it’s quite close. You have the lines a little bit, but it seems a bit wider. The tires, on the Lites we don’t use so much—the Supercars can run 12 and they’re rubbish, but on Lites I can have the same six tires as last race and not need any new ones.”

Tyler Benson, Driver, #60 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing GRC Lites: “It’s great to be close to home and have my family attend, and see what it is I love so much about doing this sport. For them, it’ll be their first event, so I’m real excited to show them what I’ve been doing, what this sport’s all about, and how exciting it is. I’m looking forward to some of the local people, especially on the east coast, that aren’t too up on our sport and what it’s all about. So I think it’s going to hopefully open up a lot of people’s eyes to the sport and what we’re doing because there’s nothing else like it.”


  1. Mitchell DeJong, 112
  2. Kevin Eriksson, 100
  3. Austin Cindric, 75
  4. Nelson Piquet Jr., 75
  5. Atila Abreu, 72

ABOUT RED BULL GRC: Designed to produce the fastest and most exciting racing in motorsports, Red Bull Global Rallycross pits small production-based cars against each other in door-to- door racing featuring dirt, asphalt, and tabletop jumps. With enhanced engineering and safety features, the cars produce 600 horsepower and can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in less than two seconds, and can also withstand 70-foot jumps and other vehicle contact. For more information visit



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