IN BRIEF: After missing the previous round in Seattle, DirtFish Motorsports’ Conner Martell came back with a vengeance in the GRC Lites season finale at the Port of Los Angeles. Martell swept every session from qualifying forward to take his third win of the year, while Cyril Raymond finally claimed the championship trophy that he clinched in Seattle as well.
HEAT RECAPS: Aside from Martell’s dominance, only two other drivers were able to take heat or semifinal wins in the 2017 Lites finale. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Travis PeCoy, a California native, took a first round win, while Olsbergs MSE X Forces’ Cyril Raymond won a second-round heat and his semifinal.
MAIN EVENT RECAP: The initial start of the final was red-flagged due to incidents involving Raymond and Alejandro Fernandez; while Fernandez’s car was towed off course before the restart, Raymond made it to the grid for the second launch, but was unable to complete the final due to damage.
With Raymond no longer a threat, Martell coasted to an unchallenged victory, with the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing trio of Alex Keyes, Christian Brooks, and PeCoy left to fight for the two remaining podium spots behind him. PeCoy was the odd man out, while Scott Anderson, last year’s runner-up in the finale, completed the top five.
RESULTS: GRC Lites results from Red Bull GRC Los Angeles are as follows:
- Conner Martell, #21 DirtFish Motorsports
- Alex Keyes, #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
- Christian Brooks, #44 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
- Travis PeCoy, #3 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
- Scott Anderson, #77 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
- Mark Brummond, #24 Garage Door Doctor/OMSE
- Cole Keatts, #53 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
- James Rimmer, #25 DirtFish Motorsports
- Cyril Raymond, #13 Olsbergs MSE X Forces
- Alejandro Fernandez, #126 AF Racing
QUOTES: Driver quotes from Red Bull GRC Los Angeles:
Conner Martell, #21 DirtFish Motorsports: “It’s the end of the year, and being up on the podium is crazy to me. Coming back from the crash in Seattle is huge too—I didn’t know what my confidence was going to be after that race. I went to DirtFish before this race to do some testing and training, and came here and won everything. Unfortunately, the crash in Seattle took us out of the championship hunt, but I’m just happy to be here racing, and I can’t thank my team, friends, and family enough.”
Alex Keyes, #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: “We were pretty quick yesterday in practice, but we had to work our way through some issues throughout the day—contact with other drivers, and after the first start of the final, we had to do it all over again. But I’m happy with the result. Thank you to my team, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, all the folks who come out and support us. We had a lot of people out here, and it was a great weekend!”
Cyril Raymond, #13 Olsbergs MSE X Forces: “It was my first year in GRC, but I think I was really surprised about the competition here. It’s very different in Europe—here, the Joker is shorter and it’s a different strategy. Your driving style has to be different here, and I was a little bit afraid about the jump. But it’s more fun here and there’s more attack on the track. It’s very intense to drive here and I’m happy to win this championship.”
FAST FACTS: Key statistics from Red Bull GRC Los Angeles:
- Conner Martell earned his third victory of the 2017 GRC Lites season, and the fifth of his career, in Saturday’s season finale at the Port of Los Angeles. Martell bookended the season with wins in both the opening and closing races, and won his first Los Angeles round in five tries.
- Alex Keyes earned his fourth podium of the season with a second place finish in Los Angeles. Keyes, who won at this event last year, also set a personal best with a fifth place result in the final series standings.
- Christian Brooks’ third place run was his ninth podium of 2017, tied for most in Lites this year. Brooks also locked up second place in the championship, a three-spot improvement from his rookie 2016 season.
- Fourth-place finisher Travis PeCoy clinched third in the final Lites standings, five spots ahead of his 2016 rookie result. PeCoy earned five podiums and six heat and semifinal victories in 2017, including one in the first round of Saturday action.
- Mark Brummond’s sixth-place finish in Saturday’s final was the best of his career so far. Brummond made his debut in the class in Seattle last month.
- Cyril Raymond, who had locked up this year’s Lites championship before even coming to Los Angeles, added two more heat and semifinal victories on Saturday for a record-setting total of 26 on the year. Despite failing to finish the final, he ended the season with six victories and nine podiums.
- Cyril Raymond, 786
- Christian Brooks, 692
- Travis PeCoy, 672
- Conner Martell, 656
- Alex Keyes, 603
- James Rimmer, 562
- Cole Keatts, 543
- Alejandro Fernandez, 458
- Colin Braun, 405
- Jon Bennett, 281
- Scott Anderson, 242
- Mark Brummond, 79
- Gustavo Yacaman, 60
- Matt Halliday, 45
- Burt Jenner, 16
- Brian Colangelo, 0
- Eric Holmes, 0
Photo credit: Louis Yio, Jakub Nitka