Tanner and the DirtFish team went into the weekend knowing full well they had a target on their back, but for good reason! Thanks to Tanner’s consistent finishes throughout the first half of the season, the team left the previous race in North Carolina with the 2015 Red Bull GRC Lites overall points lead. Even with that, the team was excited to show the rest of the field that they’re a force to be reckoned with this season.
The race was happening on Belle Isle in the middle of the Detroit River, with part of the track going around the James Scott Memorial Fountain and Downtown Detroit as the backdrop, this was definitely one of the most scenic stops on the tour so far this season. The majority of the track was tarmac with a massive wooden tabletop jump leading into a long dirt straight-away that ended with a 90 degree turn to the left followed by a sweeper back onto the front straight. One of the greatest aspects of this track was the Kobalt Tools Joker Lap, where there was a lot of strategy involved in the decision of when to take it since a driver could gain more than 5 seconds and move up multiple positions.
Due to a few technical difficulties with the jump the GRC Lites teams had to wait until Saturday for their heat races. Amazingly, Tanner was on one all day, winning both heat races letting him start in the pole position for the final. He was untouchable through the heat races and that absolutely continued in the final! When the lights turned green, Tanner got out in front and took the Kobalt tools joker lap right off the bat, which helped him get a substantial lead over the two Olsbergs MSE cars. By the halfway point of the race, the rest of the drivers who posed a threat had taken the Joker lap but hadn’t gained any ground on him. From then on it was smooth sailing all the way to the first ever win for Tanner and the DirtFish team
Not only were Tanner and the team leading overall, they had finally gotten the win they needed to prove they were able to be as competitive as any of the other teams!
Sunday wasn’t quite as successful. Tanner was able to lay down some great times in the qualification and heat races, he ended up in the 4th starting position for the final. He had a great launch off the line and took the Joker lap right off the bat, so did Alejandro Fernandez. The two of them got a little tangled up, Tanner wasn’t able to get away clean, hitting the wall and breaking part of the steering meaning he was out for the rest of the race. It wasn’t the finish the team had hoped to end the weekend with, but that’s racing! The next race is a few weeks away and the team will be ready for battle in hopes of stealing back the overall points lead.
Articles/Photos by Trevor Wert (DirtFish)