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Steve Arpin, Tanner Foust Battle For Hard Fought Victories At Daytona International Speedway

Steve Arpin, Tanner Foust Battle For Hard Fought Victories At Daytona International Speedway

by June 21, 2016 0 comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Red Bull Global Rallycross traveled to Daytona Beach for its customary Father’s Day weekend doubleheader on Saturday and Sunday. The event has become one of the most popular in the paddock and has established itself as a marquee race for the competitors; after all a trophy and bragging rights for winning at the prestigious Daytona International Speedway was at stake for the bravest and most committed combatants.

Saturday

Winning at Daytona is nothing new to Chip Ganassi, but in a Red Bull GRC Supercar, it is a far different story, as Round 4 of the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship was claimed by Chip Ganassi Racing driver, Steve Arpin. This was the first win for Chip Ganassi’s rallycross endeavor, which adds to the organizations Daytona 500 and six Rolex 24 victories at the fabled speedway.

“You have to be super aggressive on this first corner to give yourself some track position to be in a position to race,” Arpin said. “One of the things that I’ve learned here are there are some areas of the track where you just have to attack it like a dirt track, to almost where you are being overaggressive. Then, there are other areas where you have to be super disciplined, just back everything up and stay calm through there. It’s just finding that happy medium in those areas around different parts of the racetrack.”

After a typical Florida summer lightning storm curtailed the event until the evening, the final Supercar round became one of the craziest events in the history of the series. The track became incredibly slick and muddy after heavy rains pelted the circuit.

After taking the lead off the line and using the Kobalt Tools Joker Lap the first time around, Scott Speed amassed a huge lead, until he clipped the tire bundle in Turn 5, which pitched his Volkswagen Beetle onto two wheels and dropped the 2015 champion into the pack. The trouble did not end there. The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team’s Tanner Foust spun at the same corner on lap seven while leading and received huge contact from Patrik Sandell. Both vehicles were substantially damaged and subsequently retired. Once again, Speed inherited the lead, only for his engine to have a catastrophic failure, which engulfed his car in a fireball, not dissimilar to what happened to him in practice.

Through all this strife and action, Steve Arpin gained the lead on the final lap to take an emotional first victory ahead of teammate, Brian Deegan and 2015 Daytona winner, Sebastien Eriksson. This was a hint of the type of weekend Chip Ganassi Racing had as his team claimed the GTE class victory, with the new Ford GT program, at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the team’s first start.

“This weekend is honestly so incredible,” Arpin said. “There was a piece of history that was made in motorsports today with the Ford GT coming back to win at Le Mans 50 years later, and just to be a tiny small piece of that is literally the most remarkable feeling in the world. But racing for such an iconic team owner, coming to the most iconic motorsports track in the world and being able to add to his trophy collection right here just makes this an unbelievable weekend.”

Round 4 Results:
1. Steve Arpin, #00 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
2. Brian Deegan, #38 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
3. Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe
4. Joni Wiman, #31 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic Coupe
5. Jeff Ward, #07 SH Rallycross/DRR Ford Fiesta ST
6. Rhys Millen, #67 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
7. Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
8. Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
9. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
10. Austin Dyne, #14 AD Racing Ford Fiesta ST


 

Sunday
On Sunday for Round 5, the championship leader, Tanner Foust rebounded to take a dominant third win of the season as he led from lights-to-flag, despite making big contact in the hairpin with the Honda Civic of Sebastien Eriksson. The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team thrashed all night to repair the car to compete on Sunday; their hard work paid off with another victory and extending his championship lead.

“I really, really love bringing home a win for the guys this weekend,” Foust said. “They have been working through the heat, and we were here until 6 in the morning. We had two impacts in the previous round—one hit the hole in the track, which hit the right front suspension. That kind of made the car dead in the water and gave (Patrik) Sandell, nowhere to go, and that was the second impact. The crew had to fix both sides of the car.”

Foust’s crew was not the only team with extensive work to do as Patrik Sandell also needed his Supercar to be rebuilt overnight. Additionally, Scott Speed had to race the backup car as his was rendered too damaged after two fires. Speed incurred a grid spot penalty for changing vehicles although he set the fastest time in qualifying.

“We were fastest in warmup, qualified on pole, and had more mechanical failures in the heat races,” Speed said. “We ended up having to start the final basically last, and to drive up through to second is just a testament to how good our cars are, and how much our Volkswagen Andretti crew worked. I’m glad for the guys that they got a little bit of a payoff, because they worked all night to get this car ready—literally all night—they went home for a shower and then came right back to work this morning, so it’s really cool and I’m really happy for the guys to get to the podium.”

The Final got off to a fractured start as Speed collected the same tire bundle as he did on Saturday, spinning and blocking the track, leaving no room for Austin Dyne, who walloped the 2015 champion in the door with his Ford Fiesta. This resulted in a red flag and to restart the final.

As teammate Foust drove off into the distance, a determined Scott Speed advanced six positions before the first turn and went on to battle the ever improving Olsbergs MSE Hondas. On lap eight, Speed took the joker lap, cleared both Hondas to finish a valiant second behind teammate Foust. Eriksson once again finished a respectable third.

Round 5 Results:
1. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
2. Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Beetle
3. Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic
4. Joni Wiman, #31 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE Civic
5. Brian Deegan, #38 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
6. Steve Arpin, #00 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Fiesta ST
7. Jeff Ward, #07 SH Rallycross/DRR Ford Fiesta ST
8. Patrik Sandell, #18 Bryan Herta Rallysport Ford Fiesta ST
9. Rhys Millen, #67 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
10. Austin Dyne, #14 AD Racing Ford Fiesta ST


 

The next round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross season will be a return visit to North Carolina’s Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River for Rounds 6 and 7 on Independence Day weekend. Live coverage of the events will broadcast on Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC.

Photo Credit: Larry Chen / Red Bull Content Pool

Benjamin Sanders

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