GRC Season Review: Pat Moro, Part 2

Image via PMR Motorsports Facebook

For Pat Moro and PMR Motorsports, the 2012 Global Rallycross Championship season represented an uphill battle. Running older equipment on a shoestring budget, positives were few and far between early in the season, especially when the team missed X Games for financial reasons.

But not long after, the No. 59 Subaru WRX STi, the result of PMR’s technical work and the marketing help of Michael Crawford Motorsports, began making strides towards competitiveness. Moro finished 12th in New Hampshire and 11th at Las Vegas, and was fast enough in its first heat race at SEMA to suggest that a main event appearance shouldn’t be too far off.

In the second part of our season review, Moro gives his overall assessment of the season, while also hinting at his 2013 plans:

You finished 16th overall in points, with a couple of strong heat and LCQ performances. Given the limited budget you had to run with, are you satisfied with what you were able to do? Or are you more frustrated that the budget didn’t allow you to be more competitive?

Image via Michael Crawford Motorsports Facebook

I’m not really too satisfied with the performance—I think that we’ve had to be very cautious with everything. It’d be great if we secured a bigger budget moving into next year, that would be the biggest difference. I think that it’s a little rough to say, but we didn’t have the budget to do testing any of the dates before the races. We’d like to secure enough (of a) budget so we can go there a little bit ahead of time and do some. You hear about everybody else doing testing at this place or that place two or three days before the event and we just didn’t have the budget to do that. I think that’s a key part in making us run better.

The other thing is, we really have to look after the equipment with the little budget that we have. And that kind of affects it. You know, with a factory ride, you can pretty much just leave it all hanging out, and then everything’s fixed. If we lose a motor—we have a spare gearbox and stuff, but if we lose a motor, then we’re done for that event. So we have to be very cautious of that. And I think that affected our performance a lot.

I think that the last round we should have been in the main. I felt like we should have been into the main in New Hampshire, but like I said, there were some growing pains that we were going through there. I feel that we’ll be stronger in the future, and a consistent player into the main.

Image via Michael Crawford Motorsports Facebook

We saw a couple of major accidents by other privateer teams in the final two rounds of the season. You’ve said you’re pretty confident with the jump, but did you ever stop for a minute and rethink that in the wake of those incidents?

It’s really never been a problem for me. I just try to look at it as, I have a little bit of experience on motorcycles, so I think once you’re committed to that jump, you have to fully be committed. I would say that those accidents were situations where those guys weren’t completely, fully committed to that jump, and I believe that they somewhat panicked. Once you commit to doing it, you have to be fully committed and just do it.

In my opinion, on the jump, everybody’s so worried about that crucial speed. I don’t think it’s the crucial speed as much as jumping is a feel thing—you try to do it from the seat of your pants. But it’s never really been a concern for me. Maybe I’m not smart enough to think that much ahead! (laughs) But I think the jump is something that we’ve done (for) years and years at X Games, and to me it’s a little bit old hat. It doesn’t mean that we can’t make a mistake on it, everybody can make a mistake, and it’s an unfortunate thing.

I hope those guys recover from it well and it doesn’t deter them from coming back. But for me, you commit to it, you do it, and you don’t think any more about it. The more you think about it, you psyche yourself out.

Image via Michael Crawford Motorsports Facebook

The GRC obviously grew and expanded over the course of the season, and the series looked different in the finale at SEMA than it did in the opener at Charlotte. Overall, how do you think they handled race promotion and safety this year?

I think all the guys at GRC did a really good job with communications this year. What I don’t think everybody remembers is that those guys have a huge job that they’re doing and there’s so much that they need to look after. With everything there’s always growing pains. I think that as far as safety goes, if that refers back to the accidents that have happened this year, the thing is so new that there’s always going to be stuff that’s unforeseen, or that needs to be looked after. They have made adjustments, and I think they’re always looking for adjustments.

But I think when you look at the safety, you look at a European rallycross car, which was never meant to do the jump, or meant to be in the tight confines that we are putting these cars in. I think these cars, with the GRC stuff, will progress, be a little bit stronger, and progress in the safety features of the car. But everybody that’s really had some big crashes has come away—I wouldn’t say unhurt, but for the type of crash that they’ve had, they’ve come away pretty good, in my opinion. I think that they’ve definitely looked at it.

Image via PMR Motorsports Facebook

I think the guys at SMI, when we went to New Hampshire, did a great job of putting on a great show, and I thought they did a pretty good job down there at Texas. And they started to implement the dirt. When we started the season at Charlotte, we didn’t really have any dirt, and we went down to Texas and didn’t have any dirt, but we had the jump. And it’s progressively gotten better every event. And I think the more obstacles that you put in with these cars, you’ll see what they’re really capable of doing. But when we went to Charlotte, you didn’t even see a quarter of what the car can do, compared to later in the season, when they started to show a little bit more of their capabilities and they got to be way more exciting to watch.

Finally, what are your thoughts on the 2013 season? Are you planning to build a new car or bring back this year’s model? What are your thoughts on the schedule for next year with the Global X Games rounds?

Image via Michael Crawford Motorsports Facebook

The Global rounds sound great. There’s still a big question of who’s going and who’s not going. Those dates are approaching very fast. Our plans for next year are, we’re planning to build a new car. We’re still trying to secure the money, the sponsorship to finish the build of the car, we’ve actually already started on the car. I really don’t want to say what kind of car it is at this time, but we have started on a new car. It’s just, if we can secure enough money to complete the car. If that would be ready for the first couple of Global Rallycross (rounds) or not, I’m not sure. It depends on the finances of the whole thing.

But we feel that the current car is too big of a car, too heavy of a car, and the H-pattern gearbox is not going to make it a competitive car. It’s a decent car, but the plans are starting with a new sheet of paper, so to speak, putting the new car together, and making it something that’s very competitive with the Fords.

Pat Moro can be found on Twitter @59moro. PMR Motorsports maintains a Facebook page, Twitter @PMRMotorsports, and website. Michael Crawford Motorsports, which provided a marketing partnership for Moro in the second half of this season, can be found on Facebook here.

—Chris Leone


GRC Season Review: Pat Moro, Part 1

Image via PMR Motorsports Facebook

Running a competitive team in the Global Rallycross Championship isn’t the easiest of tasks, even for a factory-supported organization. But Ohio’s Pat Moro, a longtime Rally America competitor and two-time Production GT champion in that series, is attempting to do just that with his privateer team, PMR Motorsports.

Campaigning the No. 59 Subaru WRX STi in five of six GRC events this season, Moro carried the backing of S4 Optics earlier in the season before entering a marketing partnership with Michael Crawford Motorsports later in the season. Las Vegas and SEMA saw PMR representing brands like Venom Energy, In-Vest USA, and VP Racing Fuels, all while posting some of its most competitive runs of the season. Despite running with a fraction of the budget that the top GRC teams possess, Moro’s team appeared to be on the verge of breaking out.

In the first part of our season review, Moro discusses switching to rallycross from stage rally, succeeding in the transition to the mechanical jump, and making the most out of his team’s finances:

Image via PMR Motorsports Facebook

You’ve been competitive in stage rally for years, but this year your focus was completely on rallycross and the GRC. When did you decide to make that switch, and how different are the cars you’re racing now from the ones you prepared for Rally America?

These cars—we have two cars that we pretty much put together originally for rallycross, because in stage rally we’ve always done the production-based class cars. That’s one of the issues with going to X Games, we’ve always qualified in a production-based car, (instead of) an open class car or a rallycross car. We actually built those cars two years ago and then made some other changes to the cars to make them more competitive for rallycross.

We pretty much figured at the beginning of last year that we were going to start focusing on rallycross and drift away from stage rally, which was a hard decision for me to make because stage rally has always been a pretty near and dear thing to my heart. We figured that this is the avenue that’s going to have the most growth for us and the direction we needed to go.

Image via Michael Crawford Motorsports Facebook

Some of the sponsorship on your car this year appeared to come over from the Michael Crawford Motorsports organization. How and when did that partnership come about?

We ran into (MCM) at Texas and talked a little bit, and it kind of came about last minute. It’s not really a full done deal by any stretch of the imagination. They brought a little more of a marketing side to us and not so much the technical side. It’s more of a marketing partnership than on the technical side yet because pretty much anything we’ve done we do in-house. So far the technology has been all stuff that we have.

You actually ran two cars at Charlotte, one for you and one for Tim Rooney. Was there any benefit from a data-gathering standpoint to running a second car in the season opener?

Actually, we found out that with the limited budget that we had, it’s probably better for us to back down to one car. We’re not spending twice as much money to get the other car up to the same things that we’re trying, so we found out that it’s beneficial to back down and concentrate on one car than it is to try and run two cars with the budget that we have.

Image via PMR Motorsports Facebook

Texas marked the debut of the mechanical jump, as opposed to the dirt jump that we saw at X Games and other GRC events in the past. Did you have to make major adjustments from using one surface to the other?

You know, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal at all, because your trajectory is pretty much the same. When your car leaves the ramp, you’re pretty much just a passenger at that point. The only thing that was a little bit different was the dirt absorbs the jump a little bit better when you land on it, so it’s a little bit smoother of a landing. It’s a little bit harder (on the ramp), but it was no problem to adjust to it at all.

The question arriving at the SEMA event was, what speed do you have to hit the jump at now that we’ve gone back to dirt? Pretty much all that stuff stays the same. So for me, at least, it wasn’t a big change for me to go from the dirt to mechanical, and the mechanical back to dirt. I thought it was pretty similar for us.

Image via PMR Motorsports Facebook

We’ve seen you compete at X Games plenty of times before, but this year it was the only round of the championship that you missed. Why weren’t you there, and was it frustrating to skip a major event like that?

That was more of a financial situation there for us. An opportunity came available for us if we sat back, it became a little bit better financially for us to not be there. It was a little frustrating because obviously you always want to be there and competing, but it worked out and gave us a lot more strength for the end of the season. It gave us money to finish out the season a little bit stronger than what we had.

It definitely seemed like the car was a lot faster in the second half of the season. Were there any significant changes that you made to the car as the season progressed?

Image via PMR Motorsports Facebook

A lot! Being that we had a limited budget, we don’t really have a budget to be doing testing. So all of our testing is actually at the event. When we were at New Hampshire, we thought we had some things figured out—there are a lot of things to learn about the rallycross car compared to the stage rally cars. These cars were a measuring stick, but we made a lot of changes from there.

The biggest change and the biggest help, I have to give some credit to Garrett. They came on board, stepped up, and helped us out with their engineering and some different stuff with the turbos. So at the last round the car was pretty competitive, a lot closer than it’s been at any of the other events. I have to give credit where it’s due. Our guys are understanding the car more, and the more we log that stuff and play with those numbers the better it’ll get.

I think the biggest difference in competitiveness with the car right now is we’re running the H-pattern gearbox, and everybody else is using a sequential. So I think that’s our biggest downfall right now.

Coming up, Moro discusses the second half of his season, going back to the dirt jump at SEMA, and his thoughts on the 2013 season.

—Chris Leone

Two Heats In Tonight’s GRC Season Finale

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

Tonight’s Global Rallycross Championship season finale at the SEMA Show will feature only two heats before the last chance qualifier and main event.

With a field of 14 cars planning to race tonight—and possibly 15, if the Olsbergs MSE crew is able to complete an extensive repair job on David Binks’ totaled No. 17 eBay Motors Ford Fiesta—the decision was made to combine the cars into two heats of seven in order to produce a more exciting show.

The seeding results were as follows:

  1. Ken Block, #43 Ford, 29.168 seconds
  2. Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, 29.535
  3. Timur Timerzyanov, #3 Ford, 29.615
  4. Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, 29.791
  5. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru, 29.798
  6. Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, 29.828
  7. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai, 29.922
  8. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru, 30.033
  9. Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, 30.056
  10. Bryce Menzies, #99 Dodge, 30.224
  11. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 Ford, 30.368
  12. Pat Moro, #59 Subaru, 31.370
  13. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru, 32.892
  14. Liam Doran, #33 Citroen, DNS

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

The two heats will be as follows:

  • Heat 2A: Ken Block (1), Samuel Hubinette (4), Sverre Isachsen (5), Brian Deegan (9), Bryce Menzies (10), Pat Moro (12), Dave Mirra (13)
  • Heat 2B: Tanner Foust (2), Timur Timerzyanov (3), Stephan Verdier (6), Rhys Millen (7), Bucky Lasek (8), Toomas Heikkinen (11), Liam Doran (14)

The heat races will be especially interesting, as the two championship contenders have been separated and the four drivers in contention for third in points have been split evenly between the two heats. Heat 2A will feature title contender Deegan and third place competitors Block and Hubinette, while Heat 2B showcases championship leader Foust and third place competitors (and teammates) Verdier and Millen.

Coverage begins on ESPN2 and ESPN3 at 8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific.

– Chris Leone

GRC Race Preview: SEMA Show

Image via @wasmotorsport/Twitter

What had been a 16-car field for this year’s Global Rallycross Championship season finale at the SEMA Show has been whittled down to 14 after a pair of incidents in practice, while the fields for tomorrow’s heat races have also been set by preliminary heats run on Monday night.

Neither David Binks nor Jimmy Keeney competed in Monday’s heats after incidents on Sunday and Monday, respectively. Binks hit the edge of the dirt jump after failing to approach it with enough speed during Sunday’s practice, while Keeney missed a shift and also failed to take the jump earlier today. European champion Timur Timerzyanov also suffered an accident on Sunday, but his crew was able to repair the damage in time for today’s events.

Seeding took place earlier today, with Ken Block, Tanner Foust, and Timur Timerzyanov leading the way in three Ford Fiestas. Foust’s lone remaining championship rival, Brian Deegan, would qualify ninth, not the start he was looking for when challenging Foust for the championship tomorrow night.

Following seeding, the series put on a set of four heat races, marking the first time since the season opener at Charlotte that cars would take part in two heats and the first time all season that the heats would take place over two separate days. All four heats were won by Fiestas, as Ford continued its domination of the season thus far.

Image via Ken Block Instagram

In heat one, Block beat Pat Moro and Bucky Lasek, while Foust defeated Toomas Heikkinen and Rhys Millen in the second heat. Heat three saw Timerzyanov beat Stephan Verdier, Bryce Menzies (subbing for Travis Pastrana), and Liam Doran, who had lingering car troubles that prevented him from finishing. Finally, Deegan overcame his mid-pack qualifying run to win the fourth heat, beating Samuel Hubinette, while Subaru teammates Sverre Isachsen and Dave Mirra were unable to complete the heat. Mirra suffered a fire on the initial start.

Tomorrow’s race coverage will begin on ESPN2 and online on ESPN3 at 8 PM Eastern time. Coverage will start with the four heats scheduled to take place tomorrow, followed by the last chance qualifier and main event.

Live updates on today’s event came from Jason Balser and Cami Godoy.

– Chris Leone

Track Layout, Entry List Released For SEMA; Pastrana Absent?

Image via Global Rallycross Championship

The Global Rallycross Championship has released their track layout for its season finale at this year’s SEMA Show on October 30, as well as an interesting 16-car entry list to go along with it.

The exceptionally tight layout is perhaps the most similar to a proper European rallycross layout that we’ve seen all season, featuring a significant amount of dirt as well as a “whoops” section of water and dirt. The gap jump will, once again, cross over the shortcut, which this time will be comprised entirely of dirt. The staging area is set off course, much like on a motocross track, while the small long jump will send drivers over the start-finish line.

The entry list reads as follows:

  • Timur Timerzyanov, #3 Ford, Olsbergs MSE
  • Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru, Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team
  • Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, Rhys Millen Racing
  • David Binks, #17 Ford, Olsbergs MSE
  • Liam Doran, #33 Citroen, Doran Motorsport
  • Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, Olsbergs MSE
  • Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, Olsbergs MSE
  • Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru, Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team
  • Ken Block, #43 Ford, Monster World Rally Team
  • Toomas Heikkinen, #57 Ford, Olsbergs MSE
  • Pat Moro, #59 Subaru, PMR Motorsports
  • Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai, Rhys Millen Racing
  • Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, Eklund Motorsport
  • Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru, Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team
  • Bryce Menzies, #99 Dodge, Pastrana199 Racing
  • Jimmy Keeney, #418 Subaru, Michael Crawford Motorsport

Timerzyanov makes his season debut after dominating this year’s European Rallycross Championship, while Keeney makes his first start since Texas and Menzies returns after making his rallycross debut at X Games. After his accident and subsequent back injury in Las Vegas, Richard Burton will not compete in this round.

Interestingly enough, Travis Pastrana’s name is not on the entry list for the season finale at SEMA, with no explanation given for the omission. It’s unknown whether Pastrana will field two cars as he did in Texas and X Games, or continue with only a single car as in Charlotte, New Hampshire, and Las Vegas.

Fans looking to buy tickets can read the series’ FAQ page for more information on the event.

– Chris Leone

GRC Race Review: Foust Takes Win, $25,000 Bonus In Las Vegas

Image via Las Vegas Motor Speedway Facebook

With $25,000, bragging rights, and a nearly insurmountable lead in the championship on the line, Tanner Foust came through with his first win of the Global Rallycross Championship season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last night. By beating Olsbergs MSE teammate Brian Deegan to the finish line, Foust also secured the Discount Tire/America’s Tire Cup, awarded to the top driver in a three-race mini-championship that also included rounds in Texas and New Hampshire.

Foust, who scored two wins in the European Rallycross Championship earlier this season, elected to skip the ERC season finale in Germany in order to go for the $25,000 bonus that comes with the Discount Tire/America’s Tire Cup. While he gave up second in ERC points to Liam Doran, who elected to skip the GRC race and took home the victory elsewhere, Foust extended his points lead to 16 over Deegan and mathematically eliminated the rest of the field from title competition.

Image via Las Vegas Motor Speedway Facebook

In qualifying, Foust, Ken Block, and Travis Pastrana laid down the three fastest times, meaning they would start on pole in their three respective heats. Foust, Sverre Isachsen, Bucky Lasek, Dave Mirra, and Richard Burton comprised the first heat; Block, Rhys Millen, Andreas Eriksson, David Binks, and Pat Moro made up the second heat; and Pastrana, Toomas Heikkinen, Brian Deegan, Samuel Hubinette, and Stephan Verdier made up the third heat.

Burton would not complete the first heat, locking his wheels up before the jump and hitting the safety barrier head on at the edge of the landing pad. Burton was removed from the car via stretcher, complaining of a sore back, but all tests were negative.

Foust and Isachsen advanced from the first heat, Block and Millen advanced from the second heat, and Deegan and Heikkinen moved on from the third heat. Eriksson, substituting for Marcus Gronholm, seemed primed to move on in the second heat before losing control in the final dirt turn and yielding the lead; earlier in that heat, Binks went into the dirt corner too aggressively to lose a position to Millen. Pastrana also failed to advance immediately despite winning his heat, after accidentally taking the shortcut twice and earning himself a 30 second penalty.

Image via Las Vegas Motor Speedway Facebook

The last chance qualifier sent four drivers to the final: Eriksson and Pastrana, who both made up for their mistakes in the preliminary heats, as well as Verdier and Lasek. Verdier rebounded strongly after a poor start left him eighth going into the first corner; meanwhile, for Lasek, it was his first final appearance of the season after a few instances.

For Hubinette and Binks, it was the first time that either of them missed a final all season, greatly affecting their championship hopes. Binks and Mirra had issues in the first corner that left them at the back of the pack, while Hubinette’s Saab suffered mechanical failure.

In the final, Block and Eriksson had issues through the first corner, while the field split the shortcut and gap jump evenly on the first lap. From there, Foust paced Deegan to the end, while Isachsen edged Heikkinen for third. Pastrana suffered an engine failure in the final to take him out early. The biggest gainer in the final was Verdier, who spent most of the race at the back before taking the shortcut late and stealing fifth place.

Image via Las Vegas Motor Speedway Facebook

Last night’s results and points totals were:

  1. Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, 20+1 points
  2. Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, 17+1
  3. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru, 15
  4. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 Ford, 13
  5. Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, 12
  6. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai, 11
  7. Ken Block, #43 Ford, 10+1
  8. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru, 9
  9. Andreas Eriksson, #3 Ford, 8
  10. Travis Pastrana, #199 Dodge, 7
  11. Pat Moro, #59 Subaru, 6
  12. Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, 5
  13. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru, 4
  14. David Binks, #17 Ford, 3
  15. Richard Burton, #41 Subaru, 2

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

The final results of the $25,000 Discount Tire/America’s Tire Cup are:

  1. Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, 53 points
  2. Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, 50
  3. Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, 33
  4. Ken Block, #43 Ford, 32
  5. Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, 31
  6. Travis Pastrana, #199 Dodge, 30
  7. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru, 26
  8. David Binks, #17 Ford, 24
  9. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai, 24
  10. Marcus Gronholm, #3 Ford, 21
  11. Andy Scott, #26 Saab, 19
  12. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru, 17
  13. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru, 16
  14. Liam Doran, #33 Citroen, 15
  15. Pat Moro, #59 Subaru, 15
  16. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 Ford, 13
  17. Andreas Eriksson, #3 Ford, 8
  18. Richard Burton, #41 Subaru, 5
  19. Filipe Albuquerque, #99 Dodge, 1
  20. Jimmy Keeney, #418 Subaru, 0

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

The overall point standings are now as follows:

  1. Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, 83 points
  2. Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, 67
  3. Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, 55
  4. Ken Block, #43 Ford, 51
  5. Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, 51
  6. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai, 48
  7. David Binks, #17 Ford, 45
  8. Marcus Gronholm, #3 Ford, 43
  9. Travis Pastrana, #199 Dodge, 41
  10. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru, 39
  11. Andy Scott, #26 Saab, 38
  12. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru, 28
  13. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru, 27
  14. Liam Doran, #33 Citroen, 27
  15. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 Ford, 21
  16. Sebastien Loeb, #72 Citroen, 21
  17. Pat Moro, #59 Subaru, 18
  18. David Higgins, #75 Subaru, 10
  19. Andreas Eriksson, #3 Ford, 8
  20. Richard Burton, #41 Subaru, 5
  21. Tim Rooney, #47 Subaru, 4
  22. Bryce Menzies, #99 Dodge, 2
  23. Filipe Albuquerque, #99 Dodge, 1
  24. Jimmy Keeney, #418 Subaru, 0

– Chris Leone

Foust, Block, Pastrana Lead GRC Qualifying At Las Vegas

Image via Olsbergs MSE Facebook

Global Rallycross Championship points leader Tanner Foust posted the fastest qualifying in the seeding session for tonight’s event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, sponsored by Sylvania Silverstar zXe.

Foust was one of three Ford drivers in the top five on the seeding chart, posting a lap of 25.447 seconds in his Olsbergs MSE-prepared Fiesta. Ken Block’s Monster World Rally Team-prepared car placed second with a lap of 25.640 seconds, while the remaining Ford in the top five belonged to Toomas Heikkinen, who ran a lap of 25.685 seconds in his first race back from injuries suffered at X Games.

First posted on Sverre Isachsen’s Facebook page and now confirmed by the track, full qualifying results are as follows:

  1. Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, 25.447 seconds
  2. Ken Block, #43 Ford, 25.640
  3. Travis Pastrana, #199 Dodge, 25.651
  4. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 Ford, 25.685
  5. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai, 25.712
  6. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru, 25.747
  7. Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, 25.825
  8. Andreas Eriksson, #3 Ford, 25.932
  9. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru, 26.175
  10. Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, 26.275
  11. David Binks, #17 Ford, 26.295
  12. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru, 26.355
  13. Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, 26.365
  14. Pat Moro, #59 Subaru, 27.245
  15. Richard Burton, #41 Subaru, 30.509

Going by the seeding patterns of previous GRC events, and noting that there will be three heat races once again, here are the projected heat lineups for tonight’s events:

  • Group A: Tanner Foust (1), Sverre Isachsen (6), Bucky Lasek (9), Dave Mirra (12), Richard Burton (15)
  • Group B: Ken Block (2), Rhys Millen (5), Andreas Eriksson (8), David Binks (11), Pat Moro (14)
  • Group C: Travis Pastrana (3), Toomas Heikkinen(4), Brian Deegan (7), Samuel Hubinette (10), Stephan Verdier (13)

– Chris Leone

GRC Preview: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Image via Las Vegas Motor Speedway Facebook/Photo credit: Jeff Speer

Despite the absences of Marcus Gronholm due to injury and Liam Doran and Andy Scott to the European Rallycross Championship finale, this weekend’s Global Rallycross Championship event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway should feature a minimum of 15 cars after a short field of 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This weekend’s entry list includes:

  • No. 3, Andreas Eriksson, Best Buy Ford Fiesta, Olsbergs MSE
  • No. 11, Sverre Isachsen, Puma Subaru Impreza, Subaru Puma Rallycross Team
  • No. 12, Stephan Verdier, Disney XD/Motorcity Hyundai Veloster, Rhys Millen Racing
  • No. 17, David Binks, eBay Motors Ford Fiesta, Olsbergs MSE
  • No. 34, Tanner Foust, Rockstar Energy/Etnies Ford Fiesta, Olsbergs MSE
  • No. 38, Brian Deegan, Rockstar Energy/Makita Ford Fiesta, Olsbergs MSE
  • No. 40, Dave Mirra, Puma Subaru Impreza, Subaru Puma Rallycross Team
  • No. 41, Richard Burton, Gumball STI Subaru Impreza, Gumball STI
  • No. 43, Ken Block, Monster Energy/DC Shoes Ford Fiesta, Monster World Rally Team
  • No. 57, Toomas Heikkinen, Bluebeam Ford Fiesta, Olsbergs MSE
  • No. 59, Pat Moro, Venom Energy/In-Vest USA Subaru Impreza, PMR Motorsports/Michael Crawford Motorsports
  • No. 67, Rhys Millen, Hyundai Racing Hyundai Veloster, Rhys Millen Racing
  • No. 77, Samuel Hubinette, Eneos Oil Saab 9-3, Scott-Eklund Racing
  • No. 81, Bucky Lasek, Puma Subaru Impreza, Subaru Puma Rallycross Team
  • No. 199, Travis Pastrana, Red Bull/Discount Tire Dodge Dart, Pastrana199 Racing

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

This event will mark the first start of the season for Eriksson, who scored 37 points in two events last year, while it will mark the first race for Heikkinen since his disqualification at Texas. Millen will also return to the series after skipping the New Hampshire round during the launch stages of Formula Cross. There has been no word on if Pastrana199 Racing will enter a second Dodge Dart as it did in Texas and X Games, or if they will remain a one-car team as when Travis Pastrana took the victory at New Hampshire.

Drivers will also be competing for the $25,000 Discount Tire/America’s Tire Cup bonus, which counts each driver’s results from Texas, New Hampshire, and Las Vegas. Currently, Olsbergs MSE teammates Foust and Deegan are tied for the lead with 32 points apiece, while Hubinette (28 points) and Pastrana (23) are also within striking distance. For an in-depth breakdown of how drivers can win the championship, click here.

Image via Global Rallycross Championship

The track layout is once again .77 miles long, but features some significant changes from the previous NASCAR tri-oval layouts at Charlotte and Texas. The jump is now at the exit of NASCAR pit road, while the shortcut actually takes drivers through the gap jump, as had been the plan at X Games. Dirt also returns, as part of the Legends track within the tri-oval will feature the clayish mixture from X Games and slight banking. For more analysis on the layout from Stephan Verdier, click here.

ESPN3 will broadcast the race live online at 11:30 PM ET on Saturday. ESPN2 will show the race again on television at 6 PM ET on Sunday.

– Chris Leone

#NHMSGRC Race Results, Post-Race Comments, and Point Standings

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Here are the results to tonight’s Global Rallycross Championship race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway presented by Sylvania Silverstar zXe:

  1. Travis Pastrana, #199 Dodge, 3 minutes, 40.274 seconds, 20+1 points
  2. Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, 3:41.705, 17
  3. Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, 3:44.735, 15+1
  4. Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, 3:44.891, 13+1
  5. Ken Block, #43 Ford, 3:49.327, 12
  6. Andy Scott, #26 Saab, 4:05.282, 11
  7. Liam Doran, #33 Citroen, DNF, 10
  8. David Binks, #17 Ford, DNF, 9
  9. Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, DNF, 8
  10. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru, DNF, 7
  11. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru, DNQ, 6
  12. Pat Moro, #59 Subaru, DNQ, 5
  13. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru, DNQ, 4
  14. Richard Burton, #41 Subaru, DNQ, 3

Here are links to post-race comments for the top four finishers:

  • Travis Pastrana, #199 Discount Tire/Red Bull Dodge Dart, Pastrana199 Racing
  • Samuel Hubinette, #77 ENEOS Motor Oil Saab 9-3, Scott-Eklund Racing
  • Brian Deegan, #38 Rockstar Energy/Makita Ford Fiesta, Olsbergs MSE
  • Tanner Foust, #34 Rockstar Energy/Etnies Ford Fiesta, Olsbergs MSE

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Here are the Global Rallycross Championship points through four of six rounds:

  1. Tanner Foust, #34 Ford, 62 points
  2. Samuel Hubinette, #77 Saab, 50
  3. Brian Deegan, #38 Ford, 49
  4. Marcus Gronholm, #3 Ford, 43
  5. David Binks, #17 Ford, 41
  6. Ken Block, #43 Ford, 40
  7. Stephan Verdier, #12 Hyundai, 39
  8. Andy Scott, #26 Saab, 38
  9. Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai, 37
  10. Travis Pastrana, #199 Dodge, 34
  11. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru, 31
  12. Liam Doran, #33 Citroen, 27
  13. Dave Mirra, #40 Subaru, 23
  14. Sebastien Loeb, #72 Citroen, 21
  15. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru, 19
  16. Pat Moro, #59 Subaru, 12
  17. David Higgins, #75 Subaru, 10
  18. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 Ford, 8
  19. Tim Rooney, #47 Subaru, 4
  20. Richard Burton, #41 Subaru, 3
  21. Bryce Menzies, #99 Dodge, 2
  22. Filipe Albuquerque, #99 Dodge, 1
  23. Jimmy Keeney, #418 Subaru, 0

– Chris Leone

GRC Preview: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

New Hampshire Motor Speedway represents the fourth of six rounds in this Global Rallycross Championship season, and the .77 mile layout is one of the more interesting ones on the schedule. Instead of adapting part of a tri-oval as the series did in Charlotte and Texas, the GRC will use part of NHMS’s motorcycle track, as well as a new crossover bridge to get from the oval frontstretch to pit road.

Walking through the paddock, many drivers and teams feel that tonight’s event will be the most exciting of the season thus far, while the new layout offers interesting choices in passing strategy.

“I actually think that the best passing opportunity is going to be after the gap jump, in turn one,” says Scott-Eklund Racing’s Andy Scott. “And then onto the (first) corner, which is going to be the choice of going into the joker lap or continuing on the main circuit, I think, (is) where most of the main action is going to take place.”

Staging will take place near the pit road start-finish line, giving drivers an out lap of nearly the full length of the circuit. They will see the slalom section first, followed by the gap jump, though drivers will bypass the gap jump on the out lap so as not to congest the racing line. They’ll land in NASCAR turn one, turn around at the motorcycle esses, go through a patch of dirt, and continue underneath the gap before hitting the frontstretch and the small jump.

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

After crossing the start-finish line, the first turn will challenge drivers with the crossover bridge, bringing them from the frontstretch to pit road. Bucky Lasek and Ken Block had single-car accidents on the corner yesterday. Lasek merely went through the fence, but unfortunately for Block, he rolled his car off the bridge entirely at the end of yesterday’s qualifying heats, giving his crew a long night of repairing cosmetic damage.

There will be three heat races instead of the usual four this weekend, owing to a shorter field of 14 cars. Neither Toomas Heikkinen nor Marcus Gronholm have healed from their injuries sustained at X Games, leaving Olsbergs MSE with a three-car team for the weekend. Meanwhile, Rhys Millen will not compete this weekend either; teammate Stephan Verdier will drive Millen’s car this weekend with his Motorcity wrap applied.

Tanner Foust, Ken Block, and Travis Pastrana set the three fastest qualifying times and will thus have the best lane choice in their heats. Foust’s lap of 39.203 seconds was over a second faster than all other drivers except Block, the only other driver to break the 40-second barrier.

Heat lineups for tonight are as follows:

  • Group A: Tanner Foust (1), Stephan Verdier (4), David Binks (7), Sverre Isachsen (10)
  • Group B: Ken Block (2), Brian Deegan (5), Dave Mirra (8), Pat Moro (11), Andy Scott (13)
  • Group C: Travis Pastrana (3), Samuel Hubinette (6), Liam Doran (9), Richard Burton (12), Bucky Lasek (14)

– Chris Leone