This 4th of July weekend will mark the first time that a rallycross event will be held on an active U.S. military base, Marine Core Air Station New River, NC. Another notable first is that the base will boast the longest course in GRC history. The track is situated on an airstrip and will be a .993 mile course with seven turns and five straightaways. It will consist of 65% dirt and 35% pavement. Look for high speeds, hard braking, and the ever-present fender banging that this type of racing creates. GRC just may be the National Hockey League of auto racing.
Joni Wiman, 2014 GRC Champion, said, “I would say there are three or four corners here that are good passing places. The first is down the straightaway, and I like that—it’s not just about the start or the joker. I really like the track, the dirt is a bit tight, but it’s the same for everyone. And for me, with my racing background, I’m sure this track is going to be good.”
Fans will notice a few new driver addition to this event. The General, Brian Deegan, whose last GRC appearance was at the beginning of June at X Games, will be back behind the wheel of the Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST. And although the same 11 Lites vehicles that raced a few weeks ago in Daytona will be out on the track, fans will see two new drivers behind the wheel. Off-road truck driver, Gavin Harlien, will replace Geoff Sykes with Tim Bell Racing for the rest of the season. Motocross competitor Conner Martell will stand in for Harry Cheung at Rhys Millen Racing.
The Lites battle will continue this weekend with AF Racing’s Alejandro Fernandez fighting to maintain his lead at 133 points. Sitting six points behind Alejandro at a 127 points is DirtFish Motorsports driver, Tanner Whitten. This is Whitten’s first season in GRC and so far at each race he has placed in the top five with one one podium finish. Right behind Whitten is Olsbergs MSE teammates, Austin Cindric at 126 points and Oliver Eriksson with 111 points.
Yes, the points race is tight, and this track will prove to be a separator between the men and the boys. But, no one is sure who will be celebrating at the after-parties in the paddock. DirtFish Motorsports driver, Tanner Whitten, said, “This track is a horsepower track, but it’s going to be all about braking at the end of long straightaways and trying to get the car planted for the next corner. In the Lites car, we’re easily going to be at the top of sixth gear on these long straightaways, so it’s definitely going to be a lot of planning ahead and a lot of careful line selection to ensure you get the most momentum out of the car. In the dirt sections, it’s a lot like Daytona with tight hairpins into the long dirt straightaway over the big jump—and we were already set up there really well.”
Supercar are showing a familiar pattern from last season. Like last season, Ken Block is sitting second in Red Bull GRC points, within single digits of a Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Ford driver. However, this time the lead driver is Sebastian Eriksson, not Joni Wiman, and Eriksson has a race win to his credit. With finishes of fourth or better in all three points-paying rounds, the Swede leads Block, 137-129, coming into Sunday’s main event.
In response, Sebastian Eriksson in the #93 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST said, “I’ve shown everyone that I can win in Daytona. Now I just need to go out and do my own thing, and get the best results possible. I don’t think about the championship—there are nine races to go. I have a slight points lead, but we just need to take it race by race to win the championship.”
TUNE IN INFORMATION:
Wednesday, July 8, 6PM ET on NBCSN and liveextra.nbcsports.com
NBC Sports Group will be offering live streaming of the Global Rallycross MCAS New River
race through the NBC Sports Live Extra app via desktop, mobile and tablet.
TICKETS: Admission to Sunday’s events is free and does not require a ticket. Gates open at
10AM local time.
Information provided by Red Bull GRC. Photos provided by Red Bull Content Pool