GLOBAL RALLYCROSS RACE REPORT: NEW ENGLAND ROUND 4
Photographer: Peter Minnig
The second event in the weekend’s first double-header of the
2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season found Tanner Foust (No. 34 Rockstar
Energy Drink Beetle GRC) looking to put together a picture-perfect weekend, starting
strong where he left off in qualifying, leading the field while Volkswagen
Andretti Rallycross teammate Scott Speed (No. 41 ORAFOL Beetle GRC) qualified
As the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team prepared yet
another pair of stellar Beetles for Foust and Speed to take on historic
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park with, the circuit proved to be a tough test on
the team, with dirt, gravel and asphalt track conditions deteriorating
throughout the weekend.
Heat 1B saw Foust and Speed going head-to-head, with Foust starting first and Speed in fourth. Leading from start to finish, Foust claimed another heat win, with Speed finishing fourth. Moving to Heat 2A, Speed started the race second, nabbing the win finishing first. Starting first in Heat 2B, Foust finished first, claiming his fifth heat win in a row.
With adverse weather approaching, GRC race officials decided to cancel Heat 3, moving from Heats 2A and 2B to Semifinal action. This set Foust and Speed up to start first and second in Semifinal A, with Foust leading the way over his teammate.
With skies remaining clear momentarily as Semifinal A took to the track, Foust and Speed started first and second, finishing five laps later in the same position, with Foust getting the win. But as the cars readied for Final action on the historic grounds in Thompson, rain started to fall.
With the track dampening while deteriorating from continued GRC action, Foust lined up to start the 10-lap main event on pole with teammate Speed beside him in third. As the green flag flew, Foust held his line to build an almost four-second gap over the field. With Speed getting shuffled back, he continued to fight his way forward. On Lap 7, the track got the best of Foust. Landing after the jump, Foust found a hole that developed from the dirt to asphalt transition, causing damage. Unable to continue, Foust’s strong, picture-perfect run came to an abrupt and heart-breaking end. Continuing, the white flag fell with Speed taking his one Joker Lap to advance from fifth to second in the last turn. While Speed notched another podium finish in his belt, Foust was forced to settle for ninth.
Up next, the Red Bull Global Rallycross teams head north of the border, with VARX taking on the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, June 17 and 18. Round 5 Finals from Ottawa, Ontario, air live Saturday, June 17, at 10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, with Round 6 Finals broadcasting live Sunday, June 18, at 4 p.m. ET on NBC.
Scott Speed – No. 41 ORAFOL Beetle GRC
Started: 3 // Finished: 2 // Championship: 1 (288 pts.)
“I think every single heat I’ve ran this weekend, I’ve come into Turn 1 either fourth, fifth or sixth. It’s definitely not been by design, but we had to fight our way into this in points, and we were able to do that both days. It was good points day and we have a pretty good lead now. We’ll head on to the next one. We’re looking forward to the next race in Ottawa. We’ve got another double-header coming up and it’s going to be an important one. Hopefully, we keep the same game plan and momentum going.”
Tanner Foust – No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle GRC
Started: 1 // Finished: 9 // Championship: 2 (269 pts.)
“It was almost a perfect weekend. We qualified first both days, won every heat and semifinal, and then won yesterday on Day 1. In the race on Day 2, I had a four-second lead and focused on avoiding pot holes forming in the track as we did all weekend. I thought I had every pothole located, but I missed one. Like a landmine, I hit it and it broke one of the wheels and damaged the car to the point where it caught on fire briefly. I’m absolutely gutted. The team had a great win yesterday. The guys built a car that can handle a track like this heat after heat and turn in good time. It really is incredible. I feel really bad for not giving them the win on Day 2, but it certainly keeps the championship tight. Hats off to the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross guys for showing up to the track like they do, making the car work on an oval, a road course or a Baja course like this one, and we’ll be ready for the next one.”