It was a weekend to forget for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross at MCAS New River, with both drivers exiting the event early with engine issues.
The weekend started well for three-time X Games gold medallist Scott Speed, with the All-American Racer going fastest in practice before winning his first heat from the back of the grid, but engine failure during the second round of heats brought a premature end to his event.
Speed, who also battled engine gremlins in the first half of the Daytona double-header last time out, began the July 4th weekend race full of promise but was ultimately unable to deliver on the pace he showed in practice.
“We started off the weekend fastest in practice and then we didn’t get a chance to qualify, forcing the SHARK WEEK Beetle to start in the back of the pack,” Speed said. “We ended up working our way to the front and walking away with a win in our first heat. All signs were pointing to a promising weekend, but we suffered an engine failure which ended our weekend unexpectedly,”
The retirement follows a tough Daytona weekend which saw Speed fail to make the final on the first day due to engine issues, before retiring from a podium position on the second day with suspension failure as a result of contact with Jeff Ward.
“It seems that a dark cloud is surrounding our team right now,” said the ex-F1 star. “It just can’t seem to go away.”
Things weren’t much better for Speed’s team mate Tanner Foust who went into the event sitting third in the driver’s standings but left North Carolina down in sixth.
The Daytona race-winner made a great start from the second row of the grid in his second round heat to take an early lead but contact from Ken Block ripped the left rear wheel and suspension clean from the car.
Upon further inspection, it was discovered that the damage was worse than first feared and the two-time series champion also had to head home early.
“We suffered a very strange mechanical failure on the Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle that we haven’t seen before,” said Foust. “I started from the second row and had a good first corner and then all of a sudden I was just hit from the back left, the car was hit hard enough to completely eject the suspension and wheel.”
“Once we brought the car back into the paddock we learned that the hit actually caused damage to the engine as well,” he added. “It’s unfortunate, I know that the Beetle is really fast and somehow these issues keep coming, but the crew is hard at work so I know we’ll figure it out and get ourselves in a position for the Championship.”