Scott Speed got his Red Bull Global Rallycross title defence back on track by winning the first final at MCAS New River in dramatic fashion.
Starting near the back of the field by virtue of his LCQ win, Speed launched into second place at the start of the race, following Volkswagen Andretti team mate Tanner Foust who took off into an early lead.
Foust was untroubled a the front while the rest of the field struggled for grip on the wet dirt section. Jeff Ward was an early victim of the surface, sliding wide, rejoining to fight Joni Wiman hard for position, while Steve Arpin shot over the grass to snatch second from Speed. Brian Deegan applied the pressure on Speed for third and further back Patrik Sandell, who was given a lifeline in the final after finishing last in the LCQ, spun on the jump.
On the second lap Arpin was slapped with a stop/go penalty for cutting the course on the opening lap, giving second place to team mate Deegan, ahead of Speed while Foust continued to pull out an unassailable lead.
He took advantage of his huge lead a lap later by taking his joker lap – longer than the regular course on this lap – before anyone else.
At the end of lap four Foust’s lead, now at 13 seconds, would end up counting for nothing as he ground to a halt, handing the lead to Deegan as the race reached the halfway point.
Deegan then began to eke out a lead as Arpin closed in on Speed for third. Although he closed the gap to Deegan to within a second, lapped traffic caused trouble for Speed allowing Deegan to again remain in front by 2.4 seconds.
After navigating the traffic and the joker lap, Speed was able to close the gap to 1.8 seconds as the race entered its last lap. Deegan looked set for the win but he was yet to take the joker, having saved it until the last second.
That would prove to be his undoing as Speed passed Deegan on the last turn of the last lap to score his first win of the year and VARX’s second in succession.
Deegan held on for a disappointing second place with fellow Chip Ganassi Racing driver Arpin in third.
Patrik Sandell recovered from his early spin to take an impressive fourth place, with Austin Dyne rounding out the top five. Olsbergs Honda driver Sebastian Eriksson was the final finisher in sixth while team mate Joni Wiman retired. Crash damage also forced Jeff Ward and Bucky Lasek out of the race while Foust’s mechanical failure also ended his race.
In GRC Lites, after a lengthy rain delay mid-way through the race, Miki Weckstrom took his second win of the season ahead of freestyle motorcross superstar Blake ‘Bilko’ Williams, and Parker Chase.