Tanner Foust’s win in Round 5 of the Red Bull Global Rallycross season at Daytona International Speedway was big enough for him, but probably even bigger for his Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team.
The driver of the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle GRC’s Saturday race was compromised when he hit a hole on the track, which pitched him into the perpetually luckless Patrik Sandell of Bryan Herta Rallysport. A fire for Scott Speed’s second Beetle then followed and suddenly Steve Arpin secured his first GRC win.
Foust, meanwhile, rebounded with a vengeance on Sunday after his Andretti crew completed repairs on his car and also got Speed out and rolling in a backup car. A 1-2 finish was the perfect reward for the team.
“It was obviously nice to win after an unfortunate race on Saturday. But really, the vindication and the greatest part about winning on Sunday was for the team,” Foust told NBC Sports.
“These mechanics were working the entire weekend overnight, piecing cars together, replacing items on a time crunch, it was hot, and just not ideal conditions to be cranking like that.
“When we got to Sunday, everyone was basically getting together and said, ‘This is like doing the Daytona 24-hour race!’ You recognize that you’re tired, but you press on. For Scott and I to deliver the 1-2 finish was amazing.”
The win for Foust was his third this year, after sweeping the season opener in Phoenix in mid-May. He’s also won a number of preliminary races, either heats or semifinals, from the opening three weekends.
While it’s been a dream start for Foust, who won three races in total in 2015, he’s not taking anything for granted thus far.
“You like to be confident, optimistic and hope your team has worked harder, had better night’s rest and breakfast than others. But the fact is, even with qualifying pole on Saturday, and winning all the heats doesn’t necessarily mean there’s that great a chance of winning the race,” he explained.
“The devil is in the details. You have to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything. On Saturday, the heat and semifinals, I don’t think I finished the first corner in first position, even starting on pole. That first turn, was quite a bit of carnage going on. So you have to keep the car together, then make some passes if you could in the first lap.”
Foust said he loved the enhancements and track changes to Daytona, particularly after the road course hairpin portion of the circuit.
“Going into the dirt at such a high speed, then onto the base of the jump, braking just enough to not smash the car on the landing, it was a complicated sequence of turns. But that was awesome to have that sequence to work out every single lap,” he said.
“That turn happened, and then you had a really tricky turn leading onto the straightaway.
“The strange thing about those sequences, is that the more brave you were and the harder you pushed, the harder you get through there. The exercise is one of discipline at most tracks and you don’t want to push too hard. I think the rally guys like Sandell and myself liked the fact you could throw it in there, survive and be rewarded.”
Foust heads to MCAS New River this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, 5 p.m. ET, NBC) with a 32-point lead over Arpin (265-233). Speed sits third in points on 226.