Scott Speed, Volkswagen Andretti dominate Red Bull GRC weekend in Indy

Jerry Jordan/Kickin' the Tires

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

BROWNSBURG, Ind. — In a race held just down the road from their Indianapolis, Indiana shop, Volkswagen Andretti Rallysport delivered a dominant performance to claim Red Bull GRC’s first trip to Lucas Oil Raceway (LOR)

As team owner Michael Andretti watched on, two-time champion Scott Speed parlayed a flawless weekend into three heat victories, a semifinal win and a 2.656-second triumph over teammate Tanner Foust in the 10-lap final at LOR.

Among those pleased with the result was Andretti, who surprisingly missed the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway to see his team win at Andretti Autosport’s home track.

“It’s really great, especially for the crew,” Andretti said. “They get to sleep in their own beds at night. They work their butts off at these races, so that’s really great. They get to have their family here, so it’s awesome to get them a one-two result.”

The win – Speed’s second of the year (Memphis, Round 1) – elevated the driver of the No. 41 GRC to second on the championship table.

“We had a great car all weekend from the moment we pulled it off the hauler, until the last lap of the Final,” Speed said. “The team just did a great job.”

With Foust’s second-place finish, Volkswagen Andretti can now tout four 1-2 results in the opening seven rounds of the 2017 season. However, while Speed enjoyed a dominant performance, it took a gritty comeback from Foust to complete the team sweep after two penalties in the three heat races.

“Today was pretty hard,” Foust said. “We had penalties in two out of the three heat races this weekend which had us swimming uphill. To get into the middle of the front row for the final was a big win for our team.”

It was an action-packed weekend for GRC, with a plethora of heats and two semis. Joining Speed as heat winners were Bigham, Atkinson and Foust, with Foust also delivering Volkswagen Andretti a victory in the second semifinal.

Steve Arpin continued his consistent season with a quiet drive to third to tally the final spot on the podium for Loenbro Motorsports. Oliver Erickkson finished a career-best fourth, with Austin Dyne rounding out the top five.

Sebastian Eriksson, Patrik Sandell, Chris Atkinson and Cabot Bigham completed the final rundown. Mitchell DeJong missed the event due to damage sustained earlier in the day.

The race was a rare change from the norm for Lucas Oil Raceway. The facility is traditionally known for drag racing, though the oval that was adapted into a GRC track holds Super Late Model and ARCA Racing Series events, with a history of running the NASCAR XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series.

Despite the new venue, Volkswagen Andretti’s duo each offered high praise for the track.

“The track was unbelievably fun,” Speed said. “This is the first time we’ve been to a track that was predominantly some sort of gravel mix and it was just so fun because every time you went out onto the track it was a little bit different. There was water in areas there wasn’t before and the track was changing during the race.

“It was the most fun I’ve had driving yet. I’m so glad it happened here in Indy because it’s our home race and there was so many friends and family that were able to come to this one. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back here and big shout out to everyone at Oberto, Circle K and Expedite Home Loans.”

Foust was one of many happy to see GRC enter the Indianapolis area – a region rich with motorsports lore.

“This is just a one-race weekend and not a doubleheader, but it’s amazing how difficult it is but it’s so nice to be in Indianapolis,” Foust said. “Last time I was here on a racetrack, I was the yellow driver for the Hot Wheels jump at the Indy 500 and that was almost as much fun as it is to race a Global Rallycross car …almost. I was so excited to see so many Indianapolis fans out here to see a new sport. We have a blast every weekend.”

GRC Lites

Christian Brooks took advantage of an early slip from Cyril Raymond to sneak past his No. 13 Olsbergs MSE X Forces GRC Lite and end the points leader’s four-race winning streak at LOR.

After getting to the lead, Brooks was one of a few drivers to benefit from a six-car stack-up in Turn 6, which bunched up the field and let Brooks drive off in the lead. The win was Brooks’ second of 2017 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

“We pushed it as hard as we could off the start, but we came out third in the first corner,” Brooks said. “I made two solid moves on the first lap, and that gave me a good gap. I just pushed as hard as I could every single lap, and I had the best lap time of the race too, so that boosted my confidence a lot. I know we have what it takes, and I know the Dreyer & Reinbold guys are stoked to have a win here in their hometown in Indianapolis.”

Raymond followed in second, with Travis PeCoy following to complete the podium. Alex Keyes took the checkered flag in fourth, but was disqualified after the stewards elected to penalize him for a last-lap crash with James Rimmer. Cole Keatts was classified fourth after the incident.

Rimmer rounded out the top five, with Conner Martell, Matt Halliday and the disqualified Keyes rounding out the field.

Next up for Red Bull GRC is an Aug. 12-13 doubleheader in Atlantic City, N.J.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *