GREAT SCOTT!! Scott Speed Brings Home X Games Gold
Scott Speed, Bucky Lasek, and Nelson Piquet Jr. closed out round two of Red Bull Global Rallycross at X Games 2014 by taking home the coveted gold, silver, and bronze medals. This is Speed’s second consecutive victory for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross.
Although Bucky Lasek can now claim 20 X Games medals, this is his first podium win in rallycross.
“It was intense,” Lasek said. “That was the hardest fought medal that I’ve ever had to work for — I had a lot of bad luck in the first heat, I went from second to fifth because of a bad racing incident from behind. I fought from the back of the pack for the rest of the day, and I don’t know how many hours I was in the car — I think I stepped out once just to get in front of a fan. I got back in the car, started the first final, and I didn’t have a clutch. So I pumped my clutch, got a good start, and when the red flag came I had no clutch for the second restart. So I just pushed launch control, put it in neutral, dumped it in first gear, and it was on from there. Then I just started reeling people in.”
Because of the amount of entries in this X Games, a unique race format was set in place for Red Bull GRC. In this year’s event there were two rounds of point-earning heats. That lead to four quarterfinals made up of five cars each and then two semifinals, each with six cars.
The heats were won by Austin Dyne, Ken Block, Scott Speed, and Patrik Sandell respectively. The first semifinal saw Liam Doran, Dyne, and Nelson Piquet Jr. advance. The second semifinal allowed Speed, Sandell, and Lasek to move on to the final.
The final consisted of six cars. The drivers were able to complete two laps before a red flag went out after Dyne’s vehicle was disabled. Sandell was found to be the cause of the red flag situation so he was unable to return to the starting grid for the restart, which now had only four cars.
Speed had a great start off the line, while Piquet fought to maintain a second place position despite his car only having third and fourth gear. Unfortunately for Piquet, he ended up taking the joker lap twice which resulted in a stop-and-go penalty. This penalty allowed Lasek to pass Piquet and move him to second with Doran now in third. Within a few hundred feet of the finish line Doran spun himself, allowing Piquet to jump back into third place.
“It was a hard weekend – I struggled a bit with the track,” Piquet stated after the final. “I guess Barbados was much easier for me for some reason. For sure I learned a lot from this weekend. The track had a lot of dust and damaged a lot of cars — you had to think a lot, and you had to be careful. A lot of drivers were here just for this race, not for the championship, so those guys were going nuts. In the end it worked out, the guys did a great job fixing the car after every heat, and we made it to the final. We limped to the end, and right at the last moment we managed to get the medal.”
Some interesting trivia:For the first time ever, a Red Bull Global Rallycross main event took place without Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan, Ken Block, or Travis Pastrana. Block’s streak of 15 consecutive main event appearances, the second longest streak in series history, was snapped.
Tanner Foust, who has earned the most X Games medals in rallycross, rolled his Andretti Volkswagen Polo in the quarterfinal while battling the infamous first corner. Although not injured and ready to jump back into the race, officials disqualified Foust and his weekend came to an early end.
“I tried to keep it on the track but when I got into the soft gravel, the car started a slow roll and that was it,” said Foust.
The dirt corner that ended Foust’s race was the scene of many incidents over two rough days of racing at X Games. With few passing opportunities on the narrow course, the pressure was on for drivers to earn the holeshot every time they took the start.
“The nature of the format means there’s an air of desperation at the start line,” said Foust. “Every heat felt like a final, and the carnage on the course showed that.”
Patrik Sandell and Brian Deegan, both serious challengers for the gold, were also disqualified by officials for illegal driving. Much to the drivers’ amazement, the calls were made after the race. Is this the year that “questionable driving” will not be tolerated as in past years? We shall see, as Red Bull Global Rallycross continues in Washington, DC on June 22.
- Scott Speed, #77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
- Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
- Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
- Liam Doran, #33 LD Motorsports Citroen DS3*
- Austin Dyne, #14 Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
- Patrik Sandell, #18 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Travis Pastrana, #199 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI*
- Brian Deegan, #38 Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta ST
- Ricky Johnson, #48 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST*
- Steve Arpin, #00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
- Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
- Emma Gilmour, #27 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
- Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
- Anton Marklund, #92 Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo*
- Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
- Toomas Heikkinen, #57 Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo*
- Joni Wiman, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo
- Pat Moro, #59 Chevrolet Sonic Racing/PMR Motorsports Sonic*
Plan A worked to perfection! We had a really bad qualifying draw, and I think our best performance of the weekend was qualifying second. That set the tone, that let us know that we had a lot of pace here again, and then it was just on me not making mistakes and trying to avoid crashes at the start. And we were able to do that in every single heat race. The starts are a strong point for us, but it’s the speed of our guys. I can’t say enough for our team — these guys, it’s their second race. These are a bunch of IndyCar guys, and I’ll tell you what, they have upped the level of GRC in how they prepare these cars, because our stuff is that good.
– Scott Speed
source: Red Bull Global Rallycross