Tag Archives: Bucky Lasek

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GRC Live Radio with Jim Beaver and Kate Osborne

Listen to GRC Live Radio with Jim Beaver and Kate Osborne from The Dirt Track at Charlotte for interviews with Dave Mirra, Stephan Verdier, Pat Moro, Bucky Lasek, and more!

Popular Automotive Internet Radio with Jim Beaver on BlogTalkRadio

Click the player above or click here to listen to an on-demand rebroadcast of the show.

Drivers Offer Praise to Dirt Track-Based Layout in Charlotte

For the second time in two seasons, Global Rallycross makes a visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, with a high-caliber field battling for one of the biggest races for a driver to win on the schedule.

But there are two key differences: the race is in September instead of May this time around, and instead of running on the tri-oval of the stock car track, GRC has taken over The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The facilities are very different, but the change has proven popular so far.

“It was cool to be in there at the same time as the NASCAR guys,” said Travis Pastrana, “but obviously this is a way better environment for us. This is where this stuff needs to be—kind of a short track mentality through the garage. The course is pretty good, and it’s fun to drive.”

“This one is definitely more technical,” added Stephan Verdier, who finished third last season. “There’s a lot of dirt, so the car is going to be sideways a lot. It’s not as high speed as the one was last year, so it might showcase the driver’s skills more because you can’t put the horsepower down with so much dirt.

“I think the times on the cars are going to be much closer, and it should make the competition more exciting to watch.”

Besides the potential for better racing, as Bucky Lasek explains, the teams have had an easier time getting ready with a race track all to themselves.

“Any time that you don’t have to load in and out in 15 minutes, and are granted maybe half an hour of running time—anytime you don’t have to deal with that is definitely a plus,” he said. “We have our own track, we have our own event going on, so we’re not hustling around. We’re just here to put a good race on.

“I would say this year is definitely better. We don’t feel like we’re the sideshow—we feel like we’re the real deal.”

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Global Rallycross Opens Charlotte Weekend With Test Session

Global Rallycross conducted a successful test day at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, with nearly a dozen drivers and some surprising special guests taking the wheel.

The biggest two names to take part were Kurt Busch, 2004 NASCAR Cup champion, and Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch tested an Olsbergs MSE-prepared Ford Fiesta, while Smith drove the #15 GRC Lites car run by Reinis Nitiss at X Games Los Angeles and Atlanta Motor Speedway last month.

Supercar drivers to take part in today’s test also included Travis Pastrana, Dave Mirra, Steve Arpin, Sverre Isachsen, Bucky Lasek, Nelson Piquet Jr., and Stephan Verdier. Lites drivers to turn laps included Austin Dyne, Kevin Eriksson, Alexander Westlund, Sebastian Eriksson, Mitchell deJong, and Geoff Sykes.

“I’m having a great time out here in practice,” said Mirra, who shook down the LD Motorsports/Prodrive Mini in place of Liam Doran for the first time. “It’s unbelievable practicing on the competition course, and testing a car I’ve never been in. I feel great in it—I have a lot to learn still, I have to clean up my lines, but I feel awesome.”

“The track is good,” added Lasek. “I definitely have some changes to make to the car, and some of the turns that I’m driving, but all in all it feels great.”

Photo credit: Jonathan Coleman/Charlotte Motor Speedway

Global Rallycross Mid-Season Review: Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team

After a frustrating 2012 season that saw Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team score only one podium in 19 starts between four drivers, the goal for 2013 was to be a more competitive team overall. Though bad luck has still plagued them this season, there’s no doubt that Sverre Isachsen, Bucky Lasek, and Dave Mirra are more competitive this year than in the last one.

Subaru’s season started a round later than the rest of the paddock, making their first starts at X Games Munich after missing X Games Foz do Iguacu and being unable to compete in the rain-cancelled X Games Barcelona event. The first Munich race ended in disappointment, as no Subarus made it into the main event.

Things appeared to turn around when Isachsen made it to the main event in the second Munich race, but the race ended in frustration yet again when Ken Block turned Isachsen around with less than half a lap to go in the final. The incident cost Subaru a sure-fire fourth place finish, but the speed that Isachsen demonstrated proved that the cars were more competitive than last year.

Both Isachsen and Lasek made the main event in New Hampshire, making up for a left front hub issue that prevented Mirra from building upon his spot atop the charts in the first practice session. Isachsen finished sixth, while Lasek would have scored a top five run if not for damage that caused his motor to quit working just short of the finish.

Bristol was another up-and-down weekend for the team, with neither Mirra nor Lasek making the final. But Isachsen made up for it by charging into the first turn, coming out of the carnage second, and preserving fourth place despite a damaged exhaust.

X Games Los Angeles will be the real test of just how far Subaru has come. Mirra is X Games’ all-time leading medalist, while Lasek has swept the past three skateboard vert competitions this year. Isachsen may stand the best chance of medaling among the three, but a strong showing would go a long way towards establishing the team as a bona-fide contender for victories down the road.

Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com

GRC TV: Bristol Friday Recap

Global Rallycross visits Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time on July 20, staging races in both the Supercars and GRC Lites classes. Supercar drivers Bucky Lasek, Timur Timerzyanov, and Toomas Heikkinen look forward to the fifth round of their season, while Austin Dyne anticipates the second-ever GRC Lites race.

Lasek Making Strides Towards the Front with Subaru

2012 marked Bucky Lasek’s first season of Global Rallycross competition, racing alongside three-time European rallycross champion Sverre Isachsen and stage rally and X Games veteran Dave Mirra with the Subaru PUMA Rallycross team. By all accounts, it was a learning year, as the popular skateboarder-turned-race driver got acclimated with a brand new form of motorsports.

Fast forward a year and a half, and Lasek has quietly developed into one of rallycross’ most interesting drivers—and perhaps a dark horse pick to score strong finishes as the year progresses.

“I think I’ve just been more aggressive,” said Lasek, who currently ranks 13th in series points. “I think being patient and not making mistakes was my big issue in the beginning part of my driving. I’ve raced cautious up until now, but it’s time to pick up the pace. The car is more reliable and more drivable now, so it’s just a matter of time before we get some top fives.”

In the past five races in which he’s competed, Lasek has made it to four finals. That’s as many as teammates Isachsen and Mirra, two drivers with far more experience in the sport, have made combined. Lasek was also on the way to his first-ever top five finish at New Hampshire before terminal damage to the motor prevented him from finishing the event; he was scored in eighth at race’s end.

“Something sheared my drive belt,” he noted. “I’m not sure what it was, if it was something that flew in or maybe a hit that I took. But something sheared the drive belt, and I lost the motor with two laps to go.”

As for Bristol, the most unique feature of the track is its steep banking in the corners. But Lasek, who has spent a portion of 2013 testing stock trucks on ovals, may be better suited than most drivers for the challenge—and with it may come that first top five.

“From what I’ve learned about banking, you don’t even realize it’s banking,” he explained. “You just take it flat out—it’s like you’re driving a straight line down the straightaway. I think transition points are going to be key, coming off the banking and going onto the banking.

“Lines, momentum, braking zones, all that stuff is basically what we’re looking at. If you look at the steering wheel, it’s barely turned.”

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Race Preview: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: Global Rallycross returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the second time on July 11, for the fourth event of nine on the 2013 series schedule.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.

LAST RACE: Toomas Heikkinen broke through at Munich for his first-ever X Games gold medal, beating Liam Doran and Tanner Foust for the victory. It was the second leg of a doubleheader in Germany, after Doran, Ken Block, and Heikkinen finished 1-2-3 in the first race.

DRIVER CHANGES: Two drivers who competed at Brazil, Travis Pastrana and Nelson Piquet Jr., will return to the seats of their respective cars after missing the Munich round. Pastrana will drive the #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart that Timur Timerzyanov handled in Germany, while Piquet will replace Guiga Spinelli, who took the #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo to its first main event appearance in the second Munich race.

THE TRACK: New Hampshire features a 60-40 split of pavement and dirt, as well as a set of new and unique challenges. Unlike most Global Rallycross tracks, the joker lap at NHMS actually features a longcut, while an elevated hairpin serves as the last of eight turns on the layout.

IF YOU WANT TO WIN, EMPLOY A FINN: Toomas Heikkinen’s early season dominance has him on the path to a record-setting year. He became the first driver since Tanner Foust (in 2011) to score podium finishes in each of his first three starts, while he and Samuel Hubinette (in 2012) are the only drivers to score bonus points in each of their first three races of a season. Furthermore, Heikkinen’s 55 points are the most ever scored by a driver through three rounds of Global Rallycross competition.

FAMILIAR FACE, FRIENDLY PLACE: Travis Pastrana returns to Global Rallycross in New Hampshire after missing the X Games Munich doubleheader. The first round of the US-based schedule was good to Pastrana last year: after finishing last at the previous round, Pastrana won his heat race and the final, taking his only victory of the season in the process.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Thursday’s GRC Lites event:

Toomas Heikkinen, Driver, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “Of course, it’s always nice to come to the US, and I’m so happy that we lead the points. But we have to concentrate, because the series is so long. We have nine races, six left, and we have to concentrate on the races, go race by race.“

Tanner Foust, Driver, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “We’re using some different parts of the track—some places more, some places less. There’s more dirt, and maybe less distance. But either way, this will be our first SMI return visit. I’m excited to see how much repeat business we get from last year’s show.”

Bucky Lasek, Driver, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team WRX STI: “New Hampshire has been the best venue for the US. They really stepped it up this year with the track, bringing a good dirt jump, added to it. It looks like long straights, there’s going to be some good passing. I’m looking forward to getting in my Subaru STI and showing some speed.”

Patrik Sandell, Driver, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “For me, it’s good to be here. I’ve never been on a track like this, never seen anything like this. It’s a big track. I think the way they’re building the tracks now is good because we have a way to show the sport, and a bit of everything—we have some dirt, we have the jump, and we have long straightaways, so I think we will have some good action.”

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 55
  2. Liam Doran, 43
  3. Tanner Foust, 37
  4. Scott Speed, 32 (tie)
  5. Brian Deegan, 32 (tie)

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 109
  2. Dodge, 27
  3. Subaru, 21

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

Spotter’s Role Crucial to Global Rallycross Success

One of the key differences between stage rally and rallycross is the absence of a co-driver, as the courses are short enough to be easily memorized without pace notes. But with the addition of other cars on track, racing side by side, drivers still have a voice in their ear during the race: that of the spotter.

For Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team, David Higgins has filled the role for the past two years, predominantly serving Dave Mirra in 2012 and Bucky Lasek this season. Himself an accomplished driver, having won four rally championships in the United States and a bronze medal at X Games Los Angeles in 2011, Higgins’ understanding of the sport is a crucial element to his team on race day.

“I come on the events with the drivers to be another pair of eyes from a driving coach point of view, to be able to see what’s going on,” Higgins explains. “(I’ll) look what other cars are doing, look when another team or another driver is doing some lines a little bit faster. Then I can relay that back.”

Depending on the driver, the role of the spotter can still be significantly varied during a race. As an experienced rally driver, Higgins’ background is significantly different than those of Mirra and Lasek. Their needs in the car, therefore, as just as disparate.

“When I was doing the driving, I had my (Rally America) co-driver (Craig Drew), so we’ve got a relationship, we know what to do,” Higgins notes. “Sometimes, when I was driving the events, I would speak to Craig and I’d say ‘I’m going to try driving this corner a very neat, efficient way, and I’m also trying it a bit more flamboyant. Can you let me know which is the fastest one once we’ve done it a few times?’ So we’d have a pre-structured thing of what we were going to do.

“But since Dave and Bucky haven’t got that level of experience yet, you can’t go out and ask them to drive two laps one way and two laps the other way, because they want to use every lap they can to get the maximum out of that session.

“Even the difference between English terms and American terms—we talk in the same language, but (have a) completely different use of it. So we have to adapt.”

Though he may work mostly with Lasek, Higgins isn’t assigned to a single car within the team. “I’m here to help all the drivers—it just happens to be that I’m with Bucky at the moment. It’s not like a set thing that you can only work with that guy, we’re here to help the team do the best job they can do.”

That was never more apparent than at X Games Munich, when both Mirra and Lasek spun in Saturday’s last chance qualifier and failed to advance. But while fans only saw the two Subarus turned alongside one another, Higgins had been trying desperately to communicate with both drivers behind the scenes.

“There’s not an awful lot you can say in those situations. Unfortunately, when Dave spun and Bucky spun next to him, I was trying to tell Dave ‘tell Bucky to go wide because of what happened.’ But you know you’re having a bad day when your radio goes flat. He couldn’t even hear me! So he ended up parking next to him.”

No matter whose radio he’s using, Higgins notes that it’s important not to overcommunicate with a driver.

“I know from a driving point of view, when you’re driving these cars, you’re very busy—there’s a lot going on. You don’t want to be hearing too much information. It’s more for reminding them when they’re coming to start procedures, if there’s a part of the track that’s wet or dry, or a different line you can take. It’s trying to keep it as simple as possible.

“The benefit of being a driver and a spotter is, you know what you want to listen to, and you know what you need. You can slow a guy down very, very easy by feeding him too much information and making him too cautious.

“I go on the basis of ‘if they can see it, I don’t need to say it.’”

Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com

GRC Drivers Excel In Various Off-Weekend Competitions

With four weeks and counting until X Games Munich, the stars of Global Rallycross have been doing their best to stay occupied. That quest to keep up the competitive fire has taken them to some interesting places, to say the least.

Ken Block didn’t even have to leave his #43 Ford Fiesta ST behind to do it. Block and his Hoonigan Racing team won the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, winning 12 of 16 stages and holding the lead from the very beginning. Block beat David Sterckx, who tested a GRC Lites car back in January, and David Higgins, who finished seventh at X Games last year.

Pastrana Racing driver Bryce Menzies was also behind the wheel, albeit not in his #99 Dodge Dart. Menzies competed in the Baja 500, looking for his third consecutive Trophy Truck win at the famous off-road event. While that didn’t come to pass, he still persevered through mechanical issues to finish a respectable third.

Other drivers took on wildly different challenges. Dave Mirra, an avid triathlete, competed in the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 in Raleigh, North Carolina over the weekend. With a total time of 4:48:50, Mirra finished 12th in his division and 62nd overall. Mirra will compete in another event in Syracuse, New York, on June 23—just days before he travels to Germany.

At the same time, Bucky Lasek, Mirra’s Subaru PUMA Rallycross teammate, was competing on his skateboard, but the competition wasn’t the focus. Lasek was a part of the seventh annual Clash at Clairemont, an event to support the (San Diego) Mission Valley YMCA and Grind for Life, a charity that supports children with cancer. Lasek’s team placed second in the Sonic Generations of Skate, an event that paired three generations of vert skateboarders in four different competitions.

Image via Ford Racing

GRC TV: Passion for Motorsports

For the stars of Global Rallycross, passion is the greatest
driving force pushing them towards victory. Liam Doran, Bryce
Menzies, Bucky Lasek, and Steve Arpin explain their passion for
motorsports.