Volkswagen Andretti pair of Foust, Speed seek better fortunes, consistency


Scott Speed won the most races in 2014 and Tanner Foust is arguably one of the most successful drivers in Red Bull Global Rallycross history.

Together, they look to bounce back from season-ending disappointment in their first full year with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross’ pair of Volkswagen Beetles, which they’ll have for the full year in 2015.

The team completed a recent test in Germany (more here from the Red Bull GRC website).

Both drivers have said the change from the venerable but not great for GRC VW Polos to the Beetles have paid dividends, and the more fully developed cars should be better this year.

“It is infinitely nicer,” Speed told MotorSportsTalk at the Red Bull GRC media day in Long Beach. “It’s more in our control as well. There was a lot of stuff outside of our hands. It’s on us. We have to make it work. If it doesn’t, we fix it.”

Foust expanded more on the change in car.

“I will say the Polos went pretty quick once Andretti sprinkled some racing powder on them,” Foust told MotorSportsTalk. “Driving back-to-back with the Polo and the Beetle was night and day.

“The car is sorted. It does what you expect it to do lap after lap. You know how much mileage is left on every part, so you feel secure in the hardware, making it through heats and races … it’s a completely different experience.”

Asked what they could change for this year, both drivers had a common thread: luck.

“We have a better car than what we had to start and we got unbelievably unlucky with tons of mechanicals,” Speed said. “There were tons of stuff outside our control. Hopefully we have high expectations. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Added Foust, “I think the car was not the quickest on the gravel. We’ve worked hard to get better dirt performance out of the car, speaking of the Beetle specifically.

“I think that when it came to us, it came to the men and women that built the Polos for VW. It was an incredibly strong car but not built for hand-to-hand combat. It got bumped and knocked. We could improve upon this structurally from a contact standpoint.”

Last year Speed finished third in points, with the series-high three wins, while Foust was ninth with one. Figure both should be in the top-five this year, with at least one if not both in title contention.

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.