Heading into tonight’s Global Rallycross Championship event at New Hampshire International Speedway, Travis Pastrana hadn’t gotten a chance to show his speed at any of the series races, despite qualifying well in all of them.
The driver of the Red Bull-sponsored Dodge Dart was taken out in each of the three prior events, leaving the action sports legend buried so deep in the series points standings, his helmet may as well have had a miner’s light on it.
Tonight in Loudon, Pastrana showed his speed and his skill as he used an inside move on the tricky elevated hairpin turn to win his heat race, then did it again to slip into the lead in the final as he stormed to his first win of the GRC season.
“It’s more emotional than I imagined because we’ve had such a hard run,” Pastrana said. “We thought we had such a great team and great car and we kept getting beaten and banged on and I decided that I wasn’t going to be a nice guy tonight. I wanted to go hard and there are a few guys that I leaned on, but this is a big win for us.”
Pastrana won a fierce door-banging battle with Samuel Hubinette to win his heat race, nudging him aside at the inside corner of the aforementioned hairpin to take the lead after Hubinette had passed him less than 200 yards earlier.
“Samuel probably owes me a little payback after that one,” Pastrana grinned.
“It was me and Travis fighting back and forth,” said Hubinette after scoring his career-best GRC finish. “I was fortunate to have a good run in the Eneos Oil/Scott-Eklund car and I got second place. The fact that I joined this team the night before the race at Charlotte and I didn’t have a ride on Thursday, and then Friday we were competing – I think I got fifth-place that day – to be on the podium in such a short time makes us all very happy. The team has done a fantastic job and I’m so happy for them because these guys work so hard."
Pastrana made the same exact move again in the final, this time with a little more nudging into the right rear quarterpanel of Tanner Foust to the take the lead. Pastrana controlled the six-lap race after that until the last lap when Hubinette threatened Pastrana before settling for second.
Brian Deegan led the Ford brigade by finishing third ahead of Foust while Ken Block – who had to come through the last-chance qualifier after hard impact with a tire wall ended his heat race – rounded out the top five.
Foust and Deegan joined Pastrana as heat-race winners while Stephan Verdier won the LCQ. The series will wind up the 2012 season on September 29 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.