Claiming its biggest audience ever, the Global Rallycross series shared the billing at last weekend’s History 300 NASCAR race from Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Despite it being a new sport for many of the spectators, they were on their feet, cheering for the leaders in a chaotic ten-car Final.
The race was won by two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm in a 550hp Ford Fiesta, closely followed by Tanner Foust in his Rockstar Energy Drink Fiesta.
"It's an honor to compete with Marcus, but second-place isn't my goal for the series," said Foust. "We're going to make some changes for the next round in Texas."
This was the first time a rallycross had been held in conjunction with a NASCAR event. "The NASCAR fans were so enthusiastic," said Foust. "A lot of people told us after the the race that they’re now die-hard Global Rallycross Championship fans, and that's great to hear.”
As the defending Global Rallycross Champion, Foust kept the pressure on throughout the contest. He qualified in the second position and won his Heats to line up beside Grönholm in the Final – competing on a course laid out on the front stretch and pit lane of the 1.5-mile oval that featured chicanes, water hazards and a three-foot high jump.
It was a slightly different story for 2012 X Games Rallycross Gold medalist Brian “The General” Deegan. He was running his Rockstar Energy Ford Fiesta and qualified with the third fastest time, just 0.2sec off first.
In the first heat, Brian had a hard-fought battle with Travis Pastrana before taking the win. Heading into the second round, Brian jumped out to a comfortable lead but snapped a driveshaft after hitting the mandatory course jump. The team did all they could do to get him into the Last Chance Qualifier, but failed to arrive on the grid in time.
“It’s always disappointing when you have a mechanical issue. I wish I could have stayed in the competition, because I know we would have given the other drivers a great race, but this leaves me pumped to battle in the next round,” said Brian.
Charlotte was the first stop in the Global Rallycross series that continues in Dallas TX, June 8-9 at Texas Motor Speedway. The X Games event in Los Angeles is on July 1.