Brian Deegan snapped a five-year winless streak in Red Bull Global Rallycross competition, while Scott Speed cemented his second consecutive Supercar championship, in the season-ending Red Bull GRC Los Angeles presented by Honda on Sunday. One year after just falling short of taking the win in this race on the final lap, Deegan used a savvy Joker Lap strategy to make the pass and grab his first win since joining Chip Ganassi Racing.
“Last year, we came here and were pretty quick, so I was really looking forward to this race,” Deegan said from the podium. “We needed to make it happen the last race, because the team has done such a good job all year. We just kept missing a little bit, and we felt like we had a win a few times, and it was eating at me. We really just had to get it done!”
“GRC has given us an incredible series to race in,” added Speed, who beat teammate Tanner Foust for the championship by six points. “The series is growing tremendously, and I just feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to drive for the first time in Brazil three years ago. It feels like just yesterday, but what a ride from that point to where we are now! We’re on the map, we’re a legitimate racing series in this country, and it just feels good to have been part of it from the beginning.”
After a hectic two rounds of heats, Speed managed to cut Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross teammate Tanner Foust’s Saturday lead from six points to four with a semifinal victory, while Foust had to advance to the main via the last chance qualifier. With a five-point difference between positions in the final, the higher finishing Beetle driver would be champion.
In the main event, Patrik Sandell jumped to the early lead over Speed, while Foust charged to third. All three drivers closed in on one another as the 12-lap main event wound down, with Speed finally making the pass on Sandell for the lead with two to go to give himself a cushion. But it was just seconds later that Deegan dove into the Honda Joker Lap to take the lead and hold on for the victory.
In GRC Lites, Cabot Bigham survived first-lap chaos in Turn 3 and passed ailing teammate Alex Keyes late in the race to win the final and clinch the championship by five points over 2015 title winner Oliver Eriksson. Bigham, who started last in the event, ducked to the inside of a wreck that included Eriksson, fellow championship contender Miki Weckstrom, and front-row starter Travis PeCoy.
“Coming into the series, I really didn’t know what to expect,” Bigham admitted. “I had the pavement experience but I was really lacking in the dirt, and I was so fortunate to have a supportive team in Dreyer & Reinbold Racing to get behind me and account for that. I also had my buddies Alex Keyes and Tanner Whitten helping me along the way, and they got me up to speed really fast. I can’t thank my family, friends, and everyone who supported me enough.”
Unofficial results from Red Bull GRC Los Angeles (II) presented by Honda are as follows:
Brian Deegan, #38 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
Joni Wiman, #31 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe
Tanner Whitten, #07 SH Rallycross/DRR Ford Fiesta ST
Chris Atkinson, #55 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
Austin Dyne, #14 AD Racing Ford Fiesta ST
David Higgins, #75 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
Steve Arpin, #00 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
Mitchell DeJong, #24 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe
Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe
Toshihiro Arai, #88 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI