RallyCross at X Games Austin 2014
X Games Austin RallyCross
Austin's Circuit of the Americas, which opened in fall 2012, is the first racing facility in the U.S. that was built specifically for Formula One racing, but this week at X Games Austin, the track was used for a different purpose: X Games RallyCross, which brought some of the fastest drivers in the world together in Texas for the second stop of this season's Global RallyCross.
Scott Speed has one of the most accomplished resumes on the Ford RallyCross roster. He is a former Sprint Cup driver and one of a handful of Americans who have competed in the prestigious Formula One race series. Speed won the first RallyCross race he ever entered last year, at X Games Foz do Iguacu, but failed to make the finals at the other three 2013 X Games races. All that changed Saturday, as Speed lived up to his name and smoked the competition, easily driving his way to the first position for X Games Austin gold.
Mitchell Dejong, RallyCross Lites
The difference between RallyCross Lites and Ford RallyCars comes down to the car. In Lites, all drivers compete in identical cars with the same horsepower and no personal modifications. By making the cars the same, racing comes down to positioning instead of power. Three cars in the RallyCross Lites final Saturday morning had technical difficulties, guaranteed medals for the three who finished. Mitchell Dejong, the leader, took the gold in the 10-lap race.
Typically a finalist in the field of RallyCross at X Games, Tanner Foust took the first corner turn too tight during quarterfinals in RallyCross at X Games Austin and flipped his car. Foust was eliminated from X Games competition because of the crash. Foust emerged uninjured from the crash, but his chances for a gold medal in Austin were dashed.
For 15 years, Bucky Lasek has enjoyed the distinction of being one of the best vert skateboarders around. In 2013, he swept all four X Games vert events. His bid for Rally gold has been a much rougher road. Lasek made his first GRC final in October 2012 in Las Vegas, but he hasn't been able to repeat that performance at X. This Saturday, however, he beat crowd favorite Travis Pastrana in the semifinals to claim the last qualifying spot into the RallyCross final, then went on to overtake Liam Doran and Nelson Piquet Jr. to claim his first RallyCross medal, a silver.
Two women were originally supposed to race in the X Games Austin Ford RallyCross race, but one, Sarah Burgess, had to drop out because of mechanical problems encountered while testing her car. New Zealand's Emma Gilmour, who now has the distinction of being the first woman to race RallyCross at X Games, advanced to the semifinals Saturday, but she got a bad start off the line and didn't advance to the final round.
Sweden's Patrik Sandell holds a RallyCross bronze from X Games Foz do Iguacu and a silver from GRID at X Games LA 2014. He stalled in a corner, causing a red flag and a race restart during the Ford RallyCross final Saturday. Sandell tried to join the restart, but as his stall caused the red flag, he was disqualified and forced to drive off the course instead.
Nelson Piquet Jr.
Nelson Piquet Jr. is the first Brazilian ever to win races in NASCAR-sanctioned events (four in 2012). His father, Nelson, is a three-time winner of the overall Formula One title. In the Ford RallyCross final Saturday, Piquet took the joker lap twice, resulting in a black flag and a penalty. Though he was in second position before the flag, a forced stop and start allowed Bucky Lasek and Liam Doran to overtake him. A medal finish looked impossible until Doran spun out going into the last turn, allowing Piquet to sneak into the bronze-medal spot.