Rhys Millen Earns First Career Red Bull GRC Win At Daytona

Rhys Millen Earns First Career Red Bull GRC Win At Daytona

by August 25, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Alison Padron / Red Bull Content Pool

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – During the inaugural Red Bull Global Rallycross visit to Daytona International Speedway, Rhys Millen captured his first career victory on Saturday, becoming the fifth different winner out of the first six events this season.

With the win, Millen became the fifth different winner and 11th different podium finisher so far this season. He earned the win in only his 21st series start, and it was also the first victory in series history for manufacture, Hyundai.

“To my team, really, is where I need to tip the hat,” Millen said. “We had a test on Monday and changed some of the front differential settings. And the suspension that we had upgraded the car to all year had a mis-machined part internally, so that was sent back to the manufacturer on the break from Charlotte, so we updated the suspension. The car put a huge smile on my face on the test on Monday, up the street here. It was the first time all year that we had a track this long, all the other tracks the past three races have been short and condensed, with 30-second laps.”

The visit to the prestigious facility marked the longest course the series has laid out this season, and as soon as the heats got underway, the action heated up. Joni Wiman was the only driver to sweep his heats out of all five drivers who went to victory. The other four included, Scott Speed, Patrik Sandell, Ken Block and Steve Arpin.

Rhys Millen took the checkered flag during the first semifinal. In the second semifinal, Austin Dyne avoided chaos and took the victory after starting last. Tanner Foust was trying to make a move on Dyne during the second semifinal, but the veteran lost control and went hard into the barriers. Foust was able to get back going and beat Ken Block for the final transfer spot.

“The track was very challenging to learn for me,” Foust said. “It took me all day (Friday) to get on pace, and it changed a lot with the wet conditions in qualifying. But ten cars on this track was a lot—it seemed like you were fighting for parking spots at the mall for half the race.”

Ken Block, the winner at The Dirt Track at Charlotte during Week 5 had a tough afternoon. He had to race his way in through the Last Chance Qualifying event, and luckily for Block, that was no problem as he took the victory in the short shootout.

“Coming into today, I had a good position in the semi, I just needed a good start, hopefully get away from everybody behind me and make it to the final, and unfortunately the points leader decided to take me out in that semi,” Block said. “I went out and won the LCQ on three tires—I had to race the last two laps and fend off Joni with a de-lined tire that scared the hell out of me on the fastest part of the track, going sideways at 120!”

Rhys Millen led the entire main on Saturday afternoon; however, just behind him was full of hardnosed racing between the series’ top drivers. Austin Dyne fell out of the event, as well as Scott Speed who was second in the point standings heading into the weekend. With the disappointing 10th place finish, Speed drops to third in the standings.

Joni Wiman finished seventh with only three tires. He obtained damage early in the event and basically had to limp the car to the finish.

“In the final, I got hit in the back of the car on the first lap in the hairpin, and then a lap after that the hairpin was a tight place and I almost lost the car there,” Wiman said. “Bucky was right there, and he had nowhere to go. I know I have the speed to win the races, but as I’ve said there are too many mistakes by myself. I think I could have won it today, but everything started from the semifinal.”

Finishing just behind Wiman was point leader, Nelson Piquet Jr. who suffered damage to the radiator after contact during the main event. Despite the poor eighth place finish, Piquet Jr. continues to lead the point standings by 40 over Ken Block. This finish also broke Piquet Jr.’s four-race podium streak.

In the end, Rhys Millen held off hard charging Ken Block. Bucky Lasek finished third, followed by Patrik Sandell and Sverre Iaschsen who rounded out the top-five.

“I was gritting my teeth with the power that Ken makes and the way that some of the other guys have been going all year, could we still stick it to them,” Millen said. “And we were very surprised with where we were. How amazing the car brakes and how well it turns in tight corners is what we focused on, and that was the recipe to get the job done here, but not without some clean driving by (Block and Lasek). Bucky and I had a great battle, and Ken and I in the final there. I saw him in my rear vision more than I was looking out the windshield. So hats off to these two guys as well.”

Scott Speed was second in the point standings heading into the weekend, but once the checkered flag flew, and he crossed the line in 10th , he fell one spot to third. Steve Aprin fell from third in the standings to fifth after a disappointing 12th place finish.

The Red Bull Global Rallycross heads to The Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, Calif. for a two-day race weekend. On Saturday, September 20, the race action will be on NBC at 5 p.m. EST. Action from day two will be aired at 5 p.m. on NBC Sunday, September 21.

Daytona International Speedway Results:
1.) Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
2.) Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
3.) Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
4.) Patrik Sandell, #18 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
5.) Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
6.) Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo R
7.) Joni Wiman, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
8.) Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
9.) Austin Dyne, #14 Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
10.) Scott Speed, #77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo R
11.) Emma Gilmour, #27 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
12.) Steve Arpin, #00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
13.) Pat Moro, #59 Chevrolet Sonic Racing/PMR Motorsports Sonic

Red Bull Global Rallycross Driver Point Standings:
1.) Nelson Piquet Jr., 245
2.) Ken Block, 205
3.) Scott Speed, 190
4.) Joni Wiman, 188
5.) Steve Arpin, 170
6.) Patrik Sandell, 159
7.) Sverre Isachsen, 142
8.) Tanner Foust, 140
9.) Bucky Lasek, 130
10.) Austin Dyne, 114
11.) Brian Deegan, 85
12.) Rhys Millen, 70
13.) Emma Gilmour, 27
14.) Pat Moro, 5

Manufacture Points:
1.) Ford, 561
2.) Volkswagen, 330
3.) Subaru, 272
4.) Hyundai, 97
5.) Chevrolet, 5

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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