May 25, 2012
By Rebecca Gladden
(Note: Much to my dismay, my recorded interview with Tanner had technical issues and, despite sending it to a professional studio for audio enhancement, I was not able to salvage it.
Foust was a delightful interview and, thankfully, I did take notes.
Hopefully there will be another opportunity to speak with him soon -- and I will make sure my recording equipment is in perfect operating condition!)
If you haven’t heard of Tanner Foust, it’s a good bet you don’t have any car enthusiasts in your family.
As I told Tanner in a recent phone interview, my sons, both confirmed sports/exotic car lovers, worship the ground he walks on.
Foust is a professional driver with a record of top finishes, three-time X Games gold medalist, and two-time Formula Drift champion. His varied racing experience also includes open wheel competition, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, rally racing, sports car racing and the SCORE Baja.
But my kids know him best as the star of some very popular TV shows, including Top Gear USA and Battle of the Supercars. His professional stunt driving credits also include Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Dukes of Hazzard, Bourne Ultimatum, Iron Man 2, and the remake of Red Dawn.
NASCAR fans will get to know this talented and likeable 39-year-old better starting this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, when he competes in the opening round of the Global RallyCross Championship. The event will take place just after Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the HISTORY 300 - whose title sponsor, the HISTORY channel, airs Top Gear USA.
Following Saturday’s Nationwide race, track officials will convert the frontstretch at Charlotte into a custom-built Global Rallycross course. While the work is being conducted, fans will enjoy the season premiere of another HISTORY Channel program, “Ice Road Truckers,” on the world’s largest HDTV screen at the track.
Described as “action sports with a roll cage,” Global RallyCross combines the best aspects of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition and features stars like Foust, Travis Pastrana, and Brian Deegan. The US version of Europe’s rallycross championship, Global Rallycross pits small production-based cars against each other on dirt and asphalt, including a 70-foot gap jump.
Last year, Foust became the first American ever to win a race in the FIA European Rallycross Championship. He is competing in both the European and Global Rallycross Championships this year.
Charlotte Motor Speedway and Global Rallycross officials have designed a custom ¾-mile course for the event. Drivers will steer through a series of tight e-brake turns, chicanes and water features at high speeds.
Foust told me that the race at CMS will include portions of the infield, pit road, and the oval race track, including Turn 4 and the straightaway. His car, a modified Ford Fiesta with all-wheel-drive, boasts 600 HP and a 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds.
Tanner is confident that NASCAR fans will appreciate Global Rallycross racing for its door-to-door pushing and bashing - a hallmark of stock car racing - as well as the high speeds. He believes the event at Charlotte and others taking place this year at select NASCAR venues will be especially appealing to the Gen Y audience - a demographic NASCAR is targeting.
The 2012 Global RallyCross Championship series will air live on ESPN3 and on tape delay on ESPN and ESPN2. Future GRC events coinciding with NASCAR races will take place at Texas Motor Speedway (June 9), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 14), and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (September 29).
Travis Pastrana, a recent convert to NASCAR racing from Rally America and various action sports, will be competing in both the HISTORY 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the Global Rallycross Championship season opener at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.
So, is a move to NASCAR in the future for Foust?
“I think it would be an amazing thing,” he told me, adding that he would consider a multi-year deal with a team and owner that would give him a stability and an opportunity to succeed.
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