Launch Control: Unfinished Business - Episode 9.6
- [Narrator] On this episode. (intense music) (cars revving) - Returning to the scene of the crime. Exactly, in Utah. I got a lot to prove to myself.
- It's the demon that you've got to slay. - [Announcer] Oh! - Finally, Nitro has a series. - [Announcer] They are suited, booted, and ready to send it. - That was a hell of the race. I don't think he's gonna agree with it but I think it was pretty fun. - Good job man, your race was awesome.
(cars revving) - We are really looking forward to a battle. - The anticipation for it is absolutely massive. - [Narrator] This is Launch Control. It's been a long wait, two years to be exact. (trap music) but rally cross is back in America, and it all starts in Utah. It's the opening round of five events that will feature the most elaborate, unique tracks in the world.
- So we come up to Utah, finally. Getting ready for round one of Nitro RallyCross. And it just, it sounds cool even to say round one because that means there are more rounds.
It's always just been this one hit banger of an event. The anticipation for it is absolutely massive. - Finally, Nitro has a series. Travis has a vision for what rally cross can evolve to become. You know, the foundation for what Nitro's trying to create is just something that's just at a whole other level, entertainment wise, for the fans and the drivers.
(country rock music) - So, as far as the rally cross program goes, Scott Speed is gonna be coming back. We're really excited to welcome him back to the team, after his injury. To have him back, behind the wheel, in a race, again, on the grid, it's gonna be really exciting for all of us. And then along with him we're gonna have Travis in the car for all events. He's gonna be along with Scott, the core of the program.
So those two guys are gonna be the team that we're gonna build around. - So a bit of a surprise, there was a third car. We weren't sure whether the third car was gonna be all season, whether it was gonna be guest drivers, how it was gonna work. But for the first two events Subaru signed Andreas Bakkerud. Now he's got a bit of history with the team.
He did a few events with them at ARX in 2019 and Bakkerud is without a doubt, one of the best rally cross drivers in the world. So it's a great lineup at Subaru. It is a superstar lineup.
But the pressure's on because they still don't know how quick they are. They don't know whether or not they're gonna have that pace to win, you know, on paper, you go Travis Pastrana and Scott Speed, awesome. But if you look at it, you know, Scott finished rally cross two years ago, 18 months ago, with a broken back.
- [Narrator] Utah 2019, while leading the qualifiers, Scott overshoots a landing. The impact broke numerous vertebrae. Since then, his life has been dedicated to recovery and rehab. Today, he returns to competition for the first time.
- Returning to the scene of the crime, exactly in Utah. - [Narrator] Racing with a gap jump means the weekend starts with jump practice, adding to Scott's nerves. - For sure there's a bit of apprehension on, you know, the jumps. I got a lot to prove to myself that I can be strong enough to go out there and get back to old form. - [Narrator] As is tradition, his teammate Travis Pastrana will test the jump first. (tense music) (car revving) He lands short.
Scott's up next. - Like I said, I think if they get on the limiter too early. - We had the jump that we had there a year and a half ago. And we landed to flat now with this stuff, I think you're fine. But now, like, I think it's worse.
- In testing, he had some concerns and he had some fears and it was maybe invoking some of that, that fear of what he had been through and the fear of getting injured again. - [Coley] I think personally, it's more about the mental side you know, Scott's a fit dude. I know the work he's been doing in the background to get back to full fitness. But it's in the head, it's a question of whether or not you could, you can get over it in the head. - For now, first time over, just hold the button down.
Don't worry about it. When you go in the air, let go of the button, hold it wide open. You'll be perfect. - The track's slightly different, but it's the place. It's the, it's the demon that you've gotta slay.
I don't care how good a professional driver you are. If that's where the incident was and you're going back there, you've gotta face that demon straight away in the heat of competition. So, this is a real test for Scott.
It's gonna be hard. - I don't know how long it's gonna take. I don't know if it's gonna be the first jump, or the tenth jump, or the hundredth jump, but I am determined I will get back to it. But it's gonna be a process. And I'm excited to go through that process.
(car revving) (tense music) - [Narrator] After two years of hurdles, he clears one more and it's a big one. Those who know him best know how meaningful this is. Now Scott can focus on winning.
- [Speed] What? - Is it okay? - [Speed] Yeah. Yeah. - [Engineer] Nice job buddy. - Thank you. - I'm so thankful for Scott because so many people are waiting for 2022. They're waiting to see if this is safe.
If it's feasible, if the cars are gonna break. And with Scott saying, yes, I broke my back, but I believe in this championship, that is the, that's the biggest thing that anyone could have done for Nitro to say that this is going to be a successful series and that we have our ducks in a row and it's gonna work - [Narrator] With practice done. The first day, features two car head to head battles. Win a battle, collect one championship point and move on.
- And we're gonna find out how we stack up against some of the fastest world RX cars out there. So we are really looking forward to a battle. (electronic music) (cars revving) - [Narrator] The tournament style brackets are the first opportunity to take stock of the competition. The Pastrana versus Hansen rivalry is one to watch.
The Hansen brothers have won every Nitro Rally Cross race to date. To win the championship means beating the Hansen's. Subaru might as well get used to it. (cars revving) The battles live up to their name.
Pastrana and Timmy Hansen are neck in neck, until Timmy suffers a flat tire and spins. - [Announcer] Oh! Hansen into the wall. - [Narrator] Subaru takes the bracket win against the biggest championship contender. - [Announcer] Checkered flag waves for Travis Pastrana, Timmy Hanson still stranded.
- That was a hell of a race. I don't think he's gonna agree with it but I think it was pretty fun. My man. - Dude, good job man, your race was awesome. - I get close enough to just use him as the berm. - Yeah, but man, that was the best.
We were side by side for a full lap. - [Narrator] Next up, Bakkerud versus Kevin Hansen. - [Announcer] Kevin's now gone inside line.
Bakkerud goes high. Bakkerud's gonna come low now into the dust. - [Narrator] The blinding dust denies his chance of victory. - I've raced every year of my life since I was 10. You know, this last break, this last off season we had is the longest I've ever gone without racing. So, it just adds to the excitement into the fire to get back out there and get the racing going.
- [Narrator] Scott's racecraft, despite the long break, is as sharp as ever. He dominates the early bracket races. The Subaru's are strong, setting up a blue on blue battle bracket finals. - [Announcer] That's Pastrana and Speed going through to the semifinals now.
- So we finally battle brackets underway, first time we see him battle brackets and you know, any fears were put away immediately. Subaru right the way through to the end of the battle bracket, Scott Speed versus Travis Pastrana to see two Subaru's right at the end, big sigh of relief. You know, the team knows the pace is there. They know they're gonna be in for hopefully a good season. There's a, there's a long way to go and anything can happen in rally cross but to see Speed and Pastrana in there, you know they've got all the ingredients right on that car. - I mean, that was an alright race.
You're definitely gonna need to pick it up. That was pretty pathetic actually, you know. I mean, if I had to lose anybody here it'd be that guy that I'd be happy with. So either way I'm stoked, but we're gonna have a bout, we're gonna have a lot of fun out there right now. - [Announcer] So here we go.
Pastrana versus Speed on the run to turn one, look for the green. Great start by both of them, side by side, Scott Speed's got the edge on Travis Pastrana, gonna run him out wide. Pastrana gonna go all the way around the outside. And if we see, Pastrana is the only driver who's not giving up if he loses the start I'll guarantee you he goes with Scott here.
- [Narrator] They battle as hard as they can while keeping contact to a minimum. No matter what the outcome is here, they know that Subaru is the big winner on the opening day of the championship. - [Announcer] Gonna try the same move but they can't quite get their speed carries a little bit more speed around the outside line, Pastrana though, in the dirt roost there, completely blinded. - [Narrator] Cautiously in second, and lost in the dust. Pastrana makes an error. - [Announcer] Gonna try for the pass.
He goes deep and high on the brakes, almost clips the rear corner on the tires on the end of the K-rail. Oh boy. Now clips the inside, that's game over Scott Speed should take this and he's gonna blast down towards the finish line, and our first ever top qualifier for Nitro Rally Cross, it's Scott Speed ahead of his teammate, Travis Pastrana.
That is some comeback. There's the team, big hand for them. - [Narrator] With Scott topping the day one results.
The team puts the worry away. They're exactly where they want to be against the best in the world. - Nah, it was definitely some closure during that weekend.
- How was that first day back. - Yeah, no kidding. - Doesn't get much better than that. - Yeah, thank you. I think it gave me a lot of confidence.
So I was very happy with how quickly I sort of normalized and felt like myself again. - [Narrator] Day two dawns to a different challenge. Today is all about the main event with 50 championship points up for grabs. - Today's all about the trying to get into that final. We have several chances. There's gonna be qualifying heats first.
Two heats with seven drivers in each. Top two goes directly to the final in the top spots. Then the one that doesn't make the final there they can do it in the semifinal.
Top two goes through to the final from the semifinal. If you don't get to into the final before that, then you have the last chance qualifier where also top two goes through to the final. In the final, we have 10 cars, which is gonna be like tons of horsepowers together into turn one which is gonna be pretty epic. - [Narrator] Pastrana and Speed's day one results mean they're both on pole position in their opening heats. Win here and they go straight to the front row of the final. But this is the first time all these cars have raced door to door.
Anything can happen. Off the start, Scott takes the gap jump line. It's expected to be quicker.
- [Announcer] It's Scott Speed who goes straight to the gap jump, Fraser McConnell goes with him. Timmy's gone joker in the background. - [Narrator] But minor, overnight changes to the track put him on the back foot because it isn't faster. He's in second.
The other Subaru drivers watching from the paddock take note. - [Announcer] This is absolutely perfect, but Timmy, he's gonna see him on the front row. Fraser McConnell is P2, where's Scott Speed? Scott Speed is MIA right now. - [Narrator] Scott's race goes from bad to worse with damage to the rear suspension.
- [Announcer] Absolute disaster there for Scott Speed, the battle bracket winner, the guy who yesterday was so impressive has had some sort of issue. He's down as a DNF. - [Narrator] A rally cross race day is always chaotic. (cheering) As one car returns for repairs, the other two depart for their first heat. (car revving) Pastrana leads the way into the first corner with Bakkerud mid pack.
- [Announcer] Pastrana goes inside. - [Narrator] They opt for the joker lap straight away. - [Announcer] Nice job over that tabletop jump. So look at this, the tabletop being utilized this is, as you said, a formula that none of the drivers are going for.
Bingham takes that joker lap as Pastrana is leading the pack with the clean air. Andreas Bakkerud sits in a second. Subaru one and two. All right.
So again, I think there was some great communication with Scott Speed said, hey, let's try out this tabletop. Let's see what goes on. - [Narrator] At least Scott's misfortune helps his teammates - [Announcer] Front row for Travis Pastrana because he was heading about he will be polling the final here at Utah Motor Sports Campus later on today.
Great performance by Pastrana. - [Narrator] Travis takes the win and advances directly to the final. It's a crucial win for the team's title chase. - I can't believe it. We won, but yeah, definitely some track, we've made some track adjustments and unfortunately now the jump is the slower line.
We didn't know that, so we went out there. Scott found it first. So that's a little disappointing for the team, sure. - [Narrator] As creator of the series, Travis's role goes beyond just driver.
- Travis is, is kind of the architect of Nitro Rally Cross and he loves it. But he's also out there smoothing out the dirt he's with the dirt crews, with the track wetting crew. that there's, a lot of distraction there and Travis is gonna need to focus as much as he can on the racing. So selfishly, I kind of want Travis to be involved a lot with the series, which he is. But I guess from a racing point of view, you know if you were his engineer or his spotter, you are gonna want to take him away from the dirt, Travis. You know, come back, look at the laptop.
- And so kind of wearing a couple hats, but track guys are like, get off the Bobcats, get off your stuff. All the officials are like, stop trying to change the format. So I've just been driving, but hey, at the end of the day, I think we gotta change that back just a little bit before the final. - Okay. - Maybe get a hot lap or something so the guys can test it.
But at the end of the day, we need to jump to be a little faster, right. (upbeat music) - [Narrator] Next up, the semi-finals. - [Announcer] So here we go again. Scott Speed versus Fraser McConnell. Remember the low line we know is quickest at the minutes. So are we gonna see all five drivers peel off to the left hand side? (car revving) Great start, Scott Speed on the inside line moves across trying to put Fraser McConnell out wide.
- [Narrator] To his credit, Scott never makes the same mistake twice. He cuts to the joker lap and takes control of the race. - [Announcer] Speed. He's got the clean air, he's feeling confident. He just saw his teammate Travis Pastrana take that line. And that is the faster line as it stands.
Got Speed really whipping around keeping it tidy that first turn. - [Narrator] Two Subaru's qualified. One more to go. - [Announcer] Scott Speed takes the win.
He's gonna be joining Travis Pastrana, his other Subaru teammate. Now, only if Andreas Bakkerud can join them. - [Narrator] Focus shifts to Bakkerud.
Subaru wants to lock up three spots in the final. It's their best chance at taking control of the championships straight off the bat. Bakkerud knows he needs the results to support his teammates. (cars revving) - [Announcer] Foust holds onto that line. Kevin Hansen, has to go around the outside. I reckon Kevin might go joker but Bakkerud's gone wide slides up the inside in the number 30.
So into the lead for Andreas Bakkerud, Foust still over the back of him. - [Narrator] The inside pass makes quick work of the field. Now Andreas is controlling the race from the front. - [Announcer] I'm really impressed by Bakkerud, and these Subaru's have really just advanced throughout the weekend. From Thursday to today they have been completely different cars.
- [Narrator] Nothing changes from here. Andreas matches Scott's result by winning the second semi-final race. - [Announcer] Andreas Bakkerud gonna go through and join his teammates. Travis Pastrana and Scott Speed, all three factory Subaru's are gonna go through here.
(cheering) - Awesome. - All right, so we just got back in from our semifinal two win. Felt amazing, you know, what a relief.
All three Subaru's in the final, Travis up top, Scott in the middle, I'm in the back. Oh, it's awesome. - Three of our cars qualified for the final and it's amazing.
It's such a great feeling to have come here and be competitive with the best cars and the best drivers in the world. And you do it, a lot of testing, you do it by yourself and to prove it works here is a great feeling for the whole team. Really great way to start this season, we're very excited.
- [Narrator] All that racing, all those heat wins. Add up to zero championship points. To get those, you need to be in the final.
As encouraging as the pace has been, what really matters comes next. - [Announcer] Here we go, then. Final time you can hear the clunk of the sequential gearboxes, drivers going through their final prep now. They are suited, booted, and ready to send it.
(cars revving) - [Narrator] Off the line. Travis takes the lead from pole position. This is his race to lose.
Into turn one, Travis slides wide. - [Announcer] Gone round the outside line, and Subaru's oh! - [Narrator] And stalls. - [Announcer] Pastrana runs wide, was there contact? I think behind him, it's one of the Subaru's, I think it's Scott Speed. It is, it's Scott Speed.
- [Narrator] Speed emerges from the fray as the team's best hope for the win. Travis falls to last. And Scott is under attack. The chaos at the merge, shuffles him down to fifth.
Visibility in the pack, goes from bad to blinding. - [Announcer] Bakkerud's gone joker. We couldn't see who gone joker in the dust. - [Narrator] Andreas avoids some of the carnage with an early joker lap. He joins Travis in the dust bowl.
Everything they had going for them is now working against them. Scott takes the joker lap to find clean air but it doesn't help. (tense music) (cars revving) He slots in front of Bakkerud, further compounding the problem. The Subarus take hit after hit as they feel their way around the track.
Travis passes Bakkerud and follows Foust into the dust. Contact results in a flat for the Subaru. Bakkerud is the first to suffer a major failure.
- [Announcer] Foust has got a problem while the Subaru is pulled off Bakkerud it is, Bakkerud's dropped down to P9. So Bakkerud's out. Oh man, so Bakkerud and Foust, they are off the track. - [Narrator] Scott remains in the hunt. (cars revving) He stalls, then takes on friendly fire. - [Announcer] Tell you what, we've got a hell of a story here.
Timmy Hansen, last night, that car was strapped to the front of a container and they were pulling it straight using a forklift truck. But it is the 2018 Nitro Rally Cross winner, who's gonna make it two out of three. And the Hansen's are unbeaten in Nitro Rally Cross so far.
Timmy Hansen takes the win here in Utah. They are on a tear. Is this a shape of things to come for the entirety of the season? - [Narrator] They survive to see the checkered flag.
But they'll settle for fifth, sixth, and ninth. The frustration among the team is palpable. - The thing about Motorsport is that there's a certain amount of risk and there's a certain amount of chaos.
And that being part of the sport means that you know that sometimes there's a result that doesn't line up with how well you did that weekend. - I had one job in the first turn, don't give up the inside. And I tried to push Timmy out and all of a sudden he wasn't on my outside, he was on my inside. And then I panicked.
I stalled it. I stalled the car, a professional rally driver. - Travis was sticking to the plan, sticking to the plan. And I don't mean to dog him, you know, but like we got into the final there and just you had to own turn one and that's the race.
I mean, you're not gonna come back from that, you know. - [Speed] You know, things didn't work out for us great to this, today, or this weekend as a whole, but I can't control the outcome. So I'm super pumped to get to the next race. Cause I know with this group of people that we'll have a shot to win. - [Narrator] With just six days until the next event, redemption, hopefully, is on the horizon. Next time on Launch Control.
- The ERX track, and when I saw it for the first time like my mouth just dropped. - [Narrator] The team looks to rebound from the chaos in Utah. If they can't win here, they know their championship hopes are all but over. (electronic music) - [Announcer] Lands on the front right corner, he falls, car fails. (cars revving) - You know, racing is, it's a game there's rules to the game. It's my job to figure out what all the rules are and how to best exploit everything I can.
- That was bold. - That's next time on Launch Control. (electronic music)