Tanner Foust edged the Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle onto the podium on Saturday after an exciting weekend of rallycross in the nation's capital.
With four races remaining in the 2016 Global Rallycross season, Foust holds a six-point lead in the standings over Volkswagen teammate Scott Speed.
"There was nothing easy about this weekend," said Foust, who finished third on Saturday. "The Volkswagen team did a fantastic job with our cars and a result like this feels great."
Competition was tough on a fast new track on the grounds of RFK Stadium. Although it is the third year that the series has made the D.C. stop, this year's .9-mile track configuration was all new. Its high-speed straightaway, a joker shortcut that shaved more than three seconds off the lap time, and a 70-foot dirt jump on the final turn made for exciting competition that brought fans to their feet.
Foust earned the holeshot in both of his heats and led wire to wire while other drivers battled behind him. In Semifinal competition, he fought off an aggressive challenge by Patrik Sandell, who used his joker-lap shortcut to briefly lead the race. But Foust was able to fight him back, reclaiming the lead to cross the line first and earn a front-row starting position for the final.
In the final, Foust found himself shuffled to mid-pack off the start. He battled back to the front of the field alongside Brian Deegan. The two former teammates put on the best show of the weekend as they ran door-to-door for most of the race. A misstep by Foust saw him over-rotate and spin out mid-race while trying to make a pass and fans roared as he recovered to charge back into podium contention. On the final lap, Foust found a way past and claimed the third step of the podium to hold his championship lead.
"That race with Brian was intense," said Foust. "It was unreal to go from being backwards to back in the hunt for the podium. When I spun out, I thought it was all over but I just kept pushing."
The D.C. race is close to home for manufacturer Volkswagen, which has its U.S. headquarters in nearby Herndon, Virginia. It was a homecoming for Foust, who spent some of his high school years in the region, and he stayed late on Friday to sign autographs and had many friends and family in the stands. The team also welcomed kids from the local children's hospital, who braved the weather with their parents to visit with the drivers and see the cars.
Foust has led the championship for every race since his opening round victory in Phoenix. The two-time series champion holds the all-time podium record with 22. Next for Foust and the Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle is the brand new Atlantic City stop August 28.
Rallycross is a blend of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition. It promises intense crowd-pleasing action in a fan-friendly track environment. As many as 10 drivers line up to start at once, piloting high-horsepower compact cars through race traffic over a challenging short course that features jumps, unbanked turns, hills and transitions between pavement and gravel. It is sometimes described as an action motorsport and is emerging as the top youth-market motorsport in the world.
Full coverage of Global Rallycross Championship action airs live on NBC and is available online live and on-demand.