Rockstar Energy Drink driver Tanner Foust has a strong lead in the Global Rallycross Championship points after a big race weekend that saw an estimated 45,000 fans in the grandstands at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday.
“This was the best racing we’ve seen so far this year,” said Foust. “It was aggressive but clean competition on a technical course, and the fans loved it.”
Saturday’s Global Rallycross event followed a NASCAR Nationwide contest at the track. Many fans took advantage of the hour-long break between races to crowd around the drivers for an official autograph session before packing into the stands to watch the hard-hitting rallycross.
“We gave the fans plenty of action and I had to race very hard. These aren’t tracks where you can go three-wide into a corner without crashing, so passing is tough,” said Foust.
Among the fans cheering for Foust at the track were his Top Gear co-host Rutledge Wood, alongside top names in NASCAR including Kyle Petty, Greg Biffle and Joey Logano.
Foust scored the Number 1 position in qualifying on Friday and then won Saturday’s first heat race to bypass the last chance qualifier and advance directly to the 10-car final.
He lined up on the first row of the grid for the much-anticipated race alongside Rockstar Energy and Ford teammate Brian Deegan, and rival Travis Pastrana. Foust got an early lead but stalled as he got a bump coming over the tricky pit-lane crossover section, and he was forced to battle traffic for the remaining laps. He clawed his way back into podium contention but crossed the line in a close fourth-place, behind Deegan.
Foust was in the stands earlier in the day to support to longtime rival Pastrana when he crashed out of the Nationwide race on Lap 77. Pastrana is racing his first season of Global Rallycross competition as well as a select calendar of NASCAR events.
“Travis (Pastrana) had to work for the win today and he earned it — especially after the day he had,” said Foust.
The New Hampshire contest took place on the most technical course of the 2012 season. Track elements included three new jump features of varying sizes, the traditional 70-foot gap jump, a short dirt section, a tricky ramp hairpin turn that brought cars up and over the pit-lane wall, and a “car wash” that sprayed water onto the tarmac – adding yet another traction challenge. There was no shortage of excitement during the race.
“A lot of people came up to me afterwards to tell me they’ve been NASCAR fans for years and, after this weekend, they will be rallycross fans for life,” said Foust.
Foust’s result was enough to keep him in the lead of the championship standings with 62-points. He is now 12 points ahead of closest challenger Samuel Hubinette, who finished second this weekend.
Before he returns to U.S. competition, Foust will once again turn his attention overseas where he is currently third in the competitive European Rallycross Championship rankings. Foust will run back-to-back ERC races in Belgium (August 4-5) and the Netherlands (August 11-12).
Rallycross is a blend of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition. It promises intense crowd-pleasing action in a fan-friendly track environment. As many as 10 drivers line up to start at once, piloting high-horsepower compact cars through race traffic over a challenging short course that features jumps, unbanked turns and changing track and surface conditions that can include dirt, gravel, and wet and dry tarmac.
ABOUT TANNER FOUST:
Tanner Foust is a versatile and multi-talented driver known for his supreme car control and a proven track record of podium placements and national championships. He is also an on-air host for the US version of the seminal BBC auto show Top Gear, produced by BBC Worldwide Productions and airing on the HISTORY channel. The show is currently filming its third season, which starts airing August 14.
Foust currently holds three world driving records, including one scored in June at X Games for driving a six-story loop-the-loop, an indoor speed record earned during the second season of Top Gear USA, and the longest four-wheel vehicle jump of 332-feet ramp-to-ramp at last summer’s Indy 500.
He is a three-time X Games gold medalist (2007, 2010), and two-time Formula Drift champion (2007, 2008). He has twice represented Team USA in the annual Race of Champions, teaming with NASCAR star Carl Edwards in 2008 and Travis Pastrana in 2009. He returned to the event in 2010 as teammate to Mick Doohan on the All Star Team.
His varied race experience also includes multiple years of open wheel competition, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, rally racing, various types of sports car racing and the SCORE Baja.
His stunt driving includes performing as a lead driver in the Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Bourne Ultimatum, Dukes of Hazzard, Red Dawn and Iron Man 2 movies, and he also handles stunt driving in numerous popular TV shows and commercials.
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Tanner Foust hits the dirt at New Hampshire Motor Speedwaym by Jakub Nitka/ERC24.com