GRC Race Preview: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
IN BRIEF: Global Rallycross returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the second time on July 11, for the fourth event of nine on the 2013 series schedule.
TUNE IN INFORMATION:
- Thursday, July 11, 5:30 PM ET on ESPN 3
- Saturday, July 13, 7:30 PM ET on ESPN
ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.
LAST RACE: Toomas Heikkinen broke through at Munich for his first-ever X Games gold medal, beating Liam Doran and Tanner Foust for the victory. It was the second leg of a doubleheader in Germany, after Doran, Ken Block, and Heikkinen finished 1-2-3 in the first race.
DRIVER CHANGES: Two drivers who competed at Brazil, Travis Pastrana and Nelson Piquet Jr., will return to the seats of their respective cars after missing the Munich round. Pastrana will drive the #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart that Timur Timerzyanov handled in Germany, while Piquet will replace Guiga Spinelli, who took the #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo to its first main event appearance in the second Munich race.
THE TRACK: New Hampshire features a 60-40 split of pavement and dirt, as well as a set of new and unique challenges. Unlike most Global Rallycross tracks, the joker lap at NHMS actually features a longcut, while an elevated hairpin serves as the last of eight turns on the layout.
IF YOU WANT TO WIN, EMPLOY A FINN: Toomas Heikkinen’s early season dominance has him on the path to a record-setting year. He became the first driver since Tanner Foust (in 2011) to score podium finishes in each of his first three starts, while he and Samuel Hubinette (in 2012) are the only drivers to score bonus points in each of their first three races of a season. Furthermore, Heikkinen’s 55 points are the most ever scored by a driver through three rounds of Global Rallycross competition.
FAMILIAR FACE, FRIENDLY PLACE: Travis Pastrana returns to Global Rallycross in New Hampshire after missing the X Games Munich doubleheader. The first round of the US-based schedule was good to Pastrana last year: after finishing last at the previous round, Pastrana won his heat race and the final, taking his only victory of the season in the process.
QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Thursday’s GRC Lites event:
Toomas Heikkinen, Driver, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “Of course, it’s always nice to come to the US, and I’m so happy that we lead the points. But we have to concentrate, because the series is so long. We have nine races, six left, and we have to concentrate on the races, go race by race.“
Tanner Foust, Driver, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “We’re using some different parts of the track—some places more, some places less. There’s more dirt, and maybe less distance. But either way, this will be our first SMI return visit. I’m excited to see how much repeat business we get from last year’s show.”
Bucky Lasek, Driver, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: “New Hampshire has been the best venue for the US. They really stepped it up this year with the track, bringing a good dirt jump, added to it. It looks like long straights, there’s going to be some good passing. I’m looking forward to getting in my Subaru STI and showing some speed.”
Patrik Sandell, Driver, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “For me, it’s good to be here. I’ve never been on a track like this, never seen anything like this. It’s a big track. I think the way they’re building the tracks now is good because we have a way to show the sport, and a bit of everything—we have some dirt, we have the jump, and we have long straightaways, so I think we will have some good action.”
- Toomas Heikkinen, 55
- Liam Doran, 43
- Tanner Foust, 37
- Scott Speed, 32 (tie)
- Brian Deegan, 32 (tie)
- Ford, 109
- Dodge, 27
- Subaru, 21
Photo credit: Matthew Kalish