America will have to rely on the X Games duo of Travis Pastrana and Tanner Foust if they are become their first US team to win the Race of Champions (ROC) Nations Cup.
The annual end of season race has been moved from Wembley Stadium in London to the Beijing Bird's Nest Stadium that hosted last year's Olympics. It has also been moved from it's traditional December date, crucially before the end of the NASCAR season, ruling out a return for last year's surprise turn Carl Edwards.
However, both Foust and Pastrana have proved themselves capable of upsetting the odds at the event.
In 2006, after injuries to Scott Speed and Jimmie Johnson, Pastrana competed alone in the team, even then managing to make it through to the final, where he was beaten by Finns Heikki Kovalainen and Marcus Gronholm.
Pastrana, a four-time Rally America champion and 10-time X Games gold medallist, returned for the 2007 event, taking vengeance over Marcus Gronholm in the opening round of the individual event, but was unable to join Edwards in last year's race after breaking his hip.
Into his spot stepped another X Games winner. Foust, also a regular in America's Formula Drift series and movie stunt driver, stepped in and beat none other than current World Champion elect Jenson Button in the opening round.
“I was bummed to miss out on The Race of Champions when I got hurt last year,” said Pastrana. “Tanner stood in at the last minute and did a great job but it was always going to be tough when doing it for the first time,”
Fredrik Johnnson, the president of the event organisers welcomed the duo's entry. “Travis is a great Race of Champions competitor – he managed to take the USA to the final of The ROC Nations Cup on his own in 2003 [sic] – and Tanner showed great skill on his debut last year. Together I'm sure they'll make a great team.”
They are expected to join eight time Le Mans winner and DTM driver Tom Kristensen, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button, among others, in the event. The ROC Nations Cup takes place on Tuesday 3rd November, the individual event is the following day.