Brian Deegan Wins RallyCross at X Games 17
The final day of X Games 17 in downtown Los Angeles kicked off with RallyCross, a four-car race that would certainly offer plenty of exciting moments, not to mention some almost certain carnage.
The tight course that runs through downtown LA streets such as Figueroa, Pico and other surrounding streets in front of the Staples Center and Convention Center appeared tough enough for single cars to get around in practice and seeding today. It was a wonder just how exactly four vehicles would make it through the course in one piece. Then we were told they’d have an eight-car final. What?
Plenty of racers had issues during practice and seeding. Ken Block clipped a wall and took off his right front wheel (including the shock!). Nathan Conley also made contact with a wall and needed repairs. Travis Pastrana, who crashed on the first day of X Games attempting a 720 during Best Trick during practice, also had an accident making contact with a wall, but it’s a wonder he’s even on the course. Pastrana, with his broken right foot and ankle, had a wheel with paddle shifters installed on his car. To minimize leg movement, his team also used Velcro to secure his leg in place but still allow him to get out of the vehicle should he need after an accident.
The racing format is similar to yesterday’s head-to-head Rally Car Racing with just more vehicles and more laps. Each race was six laps, and at some point during the race every driver had to take the joker lap and hit the dirt jump. In the first round of 16, each race winner would advance and be on the front row for the final. Then in round two, the winner of those three races would advance. The final spot for the eight-driver final would be determined by the LCQ (last-chance qualifier).
In the first round, Tanner Foust, Brian Deenan, Liam Doran and Marcus Gronholm all won their heats. In round two, Pastrana was able to fight off his pain and win his heat to advance, as was his Team Subaru USA teammates David Higgins and Dave Mirra. Winning the LCQ and earning the last spot in the final was Rhys Millen.
The final was full of action, and it was also extended to an eight-lap race. Doran looked to have the ideal spot heading into turn one, but he appeared to brake a little early, lost control and then was bumped by Tanner Foust into the wall. The opening on the inside gave Deegan out the early lead, and Foust was able to recover and stay in second behind Deegan.
The order shuffled around constantly during the race, especially with the joker lap in the mix. Doran was essentially out after his first-turn crash, Higgins lost control before the finish and blocked Millen from passing and put him out of contention. Mirra also spun out in one of the dirt turn and nearly backed into Pastrana.
With Deegan clearly in the lead, Pastrana actually had worked into a medal position but lost control at the same location Doran did and crashed into a tire wall. Foust held on to finish in second behind Deegan, and Gro¨nholm regained third place after Pastrana’s crash to earn the bronze medal.
Deegan was excited after his win, which was a little extra gratifying since the team had car issues in yesterday’s Rally Car race and were knocked out early.
“That was the highlight of my life,” Deegan said. “I’ve done a lot of things on my dirt bike, I’ve done a lot of things in a car, but nothing tops that moment winning X Games and RallyCross. I was thinking about beating Tanner [Foust] all year.
Foust was able to earn silver behind his Rockstar Energy teammate Deegan.
"I held up my teammate a little bit, but going 1-2 for Rockstar, you can't complain," he said.
Gro¨nholm was able to add a bronze medal to his silver he earned yesterday in Rally Car Racing.
"I had a really bad start and there were so many cars in front of me, so I had to dig to come up with it," Gro¨nholm said.