LOS ANGELES – Travis Pastrana used cunning strategy to get the best rally driver in the world, eight-time defending world champion Sebastien Loeb of France, to compete at this year’s X Games. But because of a controversial crash in his first RallyCross heat Sunday, Pastrana never got to race him. Instead, Pastrana watched from the sideline, seething, as Loeb dominated the wild 10-car final and won the gold medal.
The day began with Pastrana grabbing the holeshot in his qualifying heat, but as he braked for the first turn, X Games rookie Andy Scott — a 58-year-old commercial scallop fisherman from Scotland — rammed him into a concrete wall. The impact all but totaled Pastrana’s Dodge Dart.
“What the hell was that, dude?” Pastrana shouted while still in his car after the wreck. “We’ve got the fastest car on the track, and the first turn of the first race? You’ve got to be kidding me!”
For a while it appeared Pastrana, a two-time Rally Car Racing gold medalist, might unseat his teammate on the Dodge team, Bryce Menzies, and drive Menzies’ car for the rest of the day. But unlike other sanctioning bodies, X Games rules require each driver to finish the day in the same car he started in. Menzies was promptly eliminated in his last-chance qualifier.
“This is our big event, and to have someone take it from me is devastating,” said Pastrana, who T-boned the wall and lost a bronze medal in last year’s RallyCross final while driving with a broken foot. “I always say create your own luck, but when you’re on the inside and you get the holeshot, you brake at the point where everyone has braked all day for the corner and someone decides to come in and not brake, that’s a devastating way to end what could’ve been a fantastic week for the team.”
Pastrana was traveling at more than 60 mph when he braked into the first turn of his heat. If he’d won the heat, he would’ve received inside position for the final, setting him up nicely to challenge Loeb. Scott never gave him the chance.
Story courtesy of ESPN/XGames.com