Tag Archives: Mitchell DeJong

GRC Lites Race Preview: Charlotte Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: Joni Wiman will attempt to win his fifth consecutive GRC Lites race at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as trying to lock up the inaugural series title on points before the season finale.

TUNE IN INFORMATION FOR RACE:

ENTRY LIST: CLICK HERE for the full entry list.

LIVE TIMING FOR NHMS: CLICK HERE for Live Timing

LAST RACE: For the second race in a row, Joni Wiman, Mitchell deJong, and Sebastian Eriksson comprised the podium at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While deJong and Eriksson fought an intense battle for second place, Wiman scored his fourth consecutive victory and stretched his championship lead to 22 points.

DRIVER CHANGES: Reinis Nitiss will not race in Charlotte, yielding the #15 car to potential new drivers. Aside from Tyler Benson’s number change from #4 to #60, in honor of his father, former NFL Pro Bowl center Brad Benson, there are no other changes to the entry list.

THE TRACK: Unlike 2012, this year’s Charlotte race will take place on the Dirt Track facility adjacent to the stock car oval. The track, primarily comprised of dirt, will feature multiple obstacles, including sections that will take cars out of, and back into, the facility.

WIMAN’S CHAMPIONSHIP SCENARIO: With a 22-point lead over Sebastian Eriksson, Joni Wiman is guaranteed to maintain the points lead in the season finale unless he fails to start on Sunday. A lead of 23 points or more would lock up the inaugural GRC Lites title for Wiman; he needs to only finish in front of Eriksson, and win as many or more heat races than him, to do so.

DEJONG EARNS SUPERCAR TEST: Mitchell deJong shook down Bryce Menzies’ #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart on Saturday, becoming the first GRC Lites driver to climb into a Supercar for any reason on a GRC race weekend. With neither Menzies nor Pastrana available on Saturday due to other commitments, the fellow Red Bull driver offered his services to the team and turned his first laps in the car in the parking lot.

BENSON RETURNS TO SERIES: Tyler Benson made his GRC Lites debut last month at Atlanta Motor Speedway, substituting for Halid Avdagic in the #4 car. He’ll make his second start in Charlotte, with a completely different look: the car has been renumbered to #60, and the New Jersey-based Brad Benson Auto Group will back him. Benson owns the largest Hyundai dealer in the state of New Jersey.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 84
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 62
  3. Mitchell deJong, 55

deJong Becomes First GRC Lites Competitor to Drive Supercar on Race Weekend

When Andreas Eriksson designed the car used in the GRC Lites series, he hoped to provide a development platform for the next rallycross superstar. On Saturday’s Global Rallycross practice at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, GRC Lites experienced a historic first: a driver got behind the wheel of a Supercar on a race weekend for the very first time.

With neither Travis Pastrana nor Bryce Menzies available, Mitchell deJong stepped into Menzies’ #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart for a brief shakedown session on Saturday. Though the track itself was closed due to rain, deJong brought the car across speedway grounds and practiced launches in a parking lot.

“The power is unreal and unlike anything I’ve ever felt,” deJong said after the shakedown session. “Total adrenaline rush!”

Pastrana practiced his car in Thursday’s open test, but Menzies’ car had not yet seen track time in Charlotte. With all three drivers part of the Red Bull family, deJong was the most natural choice to put in the car for a shakedown session. He spent his time behind the wheel adjusting to the extra power in the Supercar, which can produce up to twice the horsepower of the Lites cars.

“We’re excited to have given Mitchell his first experience in the Supercar with the Red Bull Dodge team,” said Pastrana Racing team manager Blair Stopnik. “He was gracious enough to help us out, and he did a great job. It was great seeing his expression driving such a powerful car. I look forward to seeing him in a Supercar one day, and I appreciate his willingness to help us out.”

deJong has finished second in the past two GRC Lites races and currently ranks third in points. His focus remains on chasing the GRC Lites championship, but the possibility of more shakedown sessions remains open in the future.

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Recap-LitesFeatured1

GRC Lites Race Recap: Atlanta Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: Once again, Finnish phenomenon Joni Wiman came out on top of the GRC Lites race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, winning his fourth consecutive event in only four starts. Mitchell deJong fought Sebastian Eriksson tooth and nail to secure second place, with Eriksson coming home third.

HEAT RECAPS: Wiman and Sebastian Eriksson won their heat races, with Westlund also transferring from the first race and deJong from the second as Kevin Eriksson suffered a late mechanical failure. In the last chance qualifier, Reinis Nitiss and Kevin Eriksson would coast to the final two transfer spots in the final.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: Initially, Wiman’s streak of GRC Lites victories looked to be in jeopardy, as Sebastian Eriksson took the lead on the start and through the joker. But by the halfway point, Eriksson’s lead was gone, as he and Wiman traded the point multiple times until finally the Finn pulled away.

From there, Sebastian Eriksson was forced to defend second place from both deJong and Kevin Eriksson, who pushed forward despite starting last in the six-car final. On the very last lap, deJong finally made it past for good, securing his second consecutive runner-up finish.

RESULTS: The results from GRC Lites at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  2. Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  3. Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  4. Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  5. Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  6. Reinis Nitiss, #15 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  7. Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  8. Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites
  9. Harry Cheung, #88 Cohesive Front Racing GRC Lites
  10. Tyler Benson, #4 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 84
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 62
  3. Mitchell deJong, 55
  4. Kevin Eriksson, 53
  5. Alexander Westlund, 52
  6. Austin Dyne, 44
  7. Geoff Sykes, 40
  8. Harry Cheung, 35
  9. Halid Avdagic, 29
  10. Reinis Nitiss, 23
  11. Tyler Benson, 7

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Lites Race Recap: X Games Los Angeles

IN BRIEF: Joni Wiman remains the only winner in GRC Lites history, taking the gold medal at X Games Los Angeles in his X Games debut. Mitchell deJong and Sebastian Eriksson took silver and bronze.

HEAT RECAPS: The first heat race was cut short due to an incident involving Austin Dyne, with Wiman, Kevin Eriksson, and Halid Avdagic in transfer spots. Sebastian Eriksson, deJong, and GRC Lites debutant Reinis Nitiss advanced from the second heat. Alexander Westlund and Harry Cheung advanced from the last chance qualifier.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: As has been common this season, Wiman dominated the 10-lap final, checking out from an intense three-car battle between Sebastian Eriksson, deJong, and Westlund. Sebastian Eriksson was judged to have jumped the start, forcing him to take a stop-and-go penalty, an order which he ignored for much of the event.

When Sebastian Eriksson returned to the track, deJong and Westlund had passed him and were set to take the silver and bronze medals. However, Westlund hit a barrier on the last lap, damaging the car heavily and dropping him to sixth place.

RESULTS: The results from GRC Lites at X Games Los Angeles:

  1. Joni Wiman, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  2. Mitchell deJong, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  3. Sebastian Eriksson, #37 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  4. Kevin Eriksson, #39 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  5. Reinis Nitiss, #15 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  6. Alexander Westlund, #55 Set Promotion GRC Lites
  7. Halid Avdagic, #4 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  8. Harry Cheung, #88 Cohesive Front Racing GRC Lites
  9. Geoff Sykes, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites
  10. Austin Dyne, #99 AD Racing GRC Lites

QUOTES: A collection of quotes from Sunday’s Global Rallycross event at X Games Los Angeles:

Joni Wiman, Driver, #93 Set Promotion GRC Lites: It took very exact driving. It was very difficult to drive the first three or four laps, but then it was normal. In the hairpins, I saw the guys, and I could see if they were catching me. I didn’t know if they had done the shortcut, so the pressure was on. Of course we’re starting to think about (the championship), but we can’t too much. We have a good lead, and it’s safe, but you never know.

Mitchell deJong, Driver, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: It’s great. I’m just thankful to be able to race in (X Games). To be able to come out with a podium is so cool, and I can’t thank everyone enough for getting the car ready from Bristol. It was a tough track—it was a little wet, which made it extra challenging. I just did my best, tried to stay smooth and stay off the walls, and it seemed to work. It was a lot of fun, the car was great, and I can’t complain about it at all. It was cool!

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 63
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 46
  3. Kevin Eriksson, 41
  4. Alexander Westlund, 39
  5. Mitchell deJong, 37
  6. Austin Dyne, 35
  7. Geoffrey Sykes, 30
  8. Halid Avdagic, 29
  9. Harry Cheung, 27
  10. Reinis Nitiss, 12

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Lites Race Preview: X Games Los Angeles

IN BRIEF: GRC Lites will make their X Games debut at Irwindale Event Center, marking the halfway point of the series’ inaugural 2013 season.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.

LAST RACE: Joni Wiman survived an action-packed finale at Bristol, avoiding an accident that sent Kevin Eriksson on his roof and gave Sebastian Eriksson terminal damage. As the only driver on the front row for the restart, Wiman coasted to an easy victory over Austin Dyne and Alexander Westlund.

THE TRACK: The layout for X Games Los Angeles at Irwindale Event Center is much different than the one that GRC used in its inaugural race at the track in 2011. The eight-turn course begins with a sweeping banked turn, as in Bristol, before ducking into the infield and negotiating a tight dirt section.

ROOM FOR ONE MORE: Lativan driver Reinis Nitiss will make his GRC Lites debut on Sunday, driving the #15 car. Racing with Set Promotion in the European Super1600 championship, Nitiss has three victories in six starts this season, giving him the points lead with three races remaining in the season.

PEDAL FOR THE MEDAL: X Games Los Angeles will represent the only opportunity for GRC Lites drivers to earn an X Games medal this season. None of the drivers competing have any X Games experience, meaning that the event winner will score gold in their very first attempt.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Sunday’s GRC Lites event at X Games Los Angeles:

Geoff Sykes, Driver, #65 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: I’m stoked on being at X Games. I always went to the events as a kid, through Southern California, San Francisco, and back to LA. I’ve always followed it, always gone just to watch, and now to be in a competition is pretty surreal. Not only that, but for it to be in my backyard, and to be a part of the last X Games in LA, is one of the biggest things for me. The course is going to be interesting, because we don’t get to see it until pretty much the day of the race thanks to the schedule. I think it’s going to be interesting to learn the course so fast. It’s all going to happen all at once, and it’s going to add into the energy of everything.

Mitchell deJong, Driver, #24 OlsbergsMSE GRC Lites: I’m really looking forward to this race. This is where I first saw rally, and it’s pretty surreal to actually race it now. It’s a pretty prestigious event. I’m very thankful to be here. This season, we’ve had our struggles, but hopefully we’ve got our bad races out of the way. It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s been a good learning year so far.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Joni Wiman, 42
  2. Sebastian Eriksson, 30
  3. Austin Dyne, 28
  4. Kevin Eriksson, 28
  5. Alexander Westlund, 28

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC TV: Introducing GRC Lites

GRC Lites will make their long-awaited debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Thursday, July 11. The car, the brainchild of OlsbergsMSE team principal Andreas Eriksson, is designed to help young drivers showcase their talent. Eriksson, as well as drivers Geoffrey Sykes and Mitchell deJong, talk about what to expect from the new vehicle this season.

GRC Lites: Meet the Drivers

GRC Lites, the new class of Global Rallycross, is designed to emphasize the talents of young drivers looking to become the next rallycross superstar. Nine drivers will race in the series’ inaugural event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Thursday, the first event of a six race schedule that will take the spec-built series across the United States.

For fans who are looking to get familiar with the drivers in advance of the first race, here’s a quick primer:

2013 GRC Lites Test with OlsbergsMSE

Watch as GRC Lites drivers take their first laps in their cars in preparation for the series debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11. OlsbergsMSE team principal and vehicle designer Andreas Eriksson explains the concept behind the car, while drivers Geoff Sykes, Mitchell DeJong, and Sheldon Creed talk about what the new vehicle feels like from a driver’s standpoint.

Mitchell DeJong Ready To Add To Impressive Resume In GRC Lites

He may only be a teenager, but don’t let his age fool you—Mitchell DeJong is one of the top young talents in American motorsport.

With nine championships in the past six years, including his first professional title in the Pro Buggy class of the TORC Series just last year, DeJong already has a resume that would make most drivers feel insecure. He’ll look to build further on that resume in 2013 by joining GRC Lites, immediately establishing himself as a championship favorite.

“Ever since rallycross made it’s debut in X Games L.A., I was captivated,” admits DeJong. “Since I have always raced both pavement and dirt, rallycross caught my attention as being the best of both worlds and I was determined to race in it.”

The 15-year-old DeJong had his first test in the GRC Lites car just last week at Irwindale Speedway, working with Andreas Eriksson and OlsbergsMSE.

“It’s the funnest vehicle I’ve ever driven,” DeJong says. “All the aspects involved to drive this car keep you busy and constantly thinking—never a dull moment.  There was only time for a few sessions, but that was enough for me to be hooked.”

For DeJong, GRC Lites presents a unique opportunity to continue moving forward in his career, having already conquered karting, desert racing, and short course championships.

“The addition of the GRC Lites class makes it possible for me to drive a rallycross car at my age,” DeJong notes. “So that works for me! But besides that, I think it will really help me sharpen my racing skills. I’m really looking forward to this new challenge and the competition.”

But DeJong also has his eyes on the bright future ahead of him. The ultimate prize of the GRC Lites championship is the opportunity to drive an OMSE Supercar in 2014, and he is determined to be the driver who earns the seat.

“My personal goal is to be at the top of my sport, racing in the highest levels with the elite drivers and winning championships,” DeJong says. “I’m hoping to transition into the Supercars for the 2014 season.”

Image via DeJong Racing