SUNDAY, AUGUST 3, 2008
NEW TRACK AND PRACTICE
Last night and this morning, crews converted the stadium floor for rally racing. The floor has a layer of dirt and a huge jump in the middle — configured very much like last year. One difference, however, is the addition of small jumps on either side after the cars re-enter the stadium.
The 12 teams set up their service areas early, and Ken Block tests the jump, following a motorcycle. Then a practice session allows a test jump by each car and runs up and onto the tarmac courses outside the stadium. As dramatic as the center jump is, cars flying off the side ramps onto the pavement hold more excitement — especially when facing them straight on.
Only eight cars start the quarterfinals for the cameras later in the day. So the cars ranked 5th through 12th are paired for elimination runs.
Nothing can be taken for granted. For instance, even though Travis Hanson/Terry Hanson have a difficult run, McShea/Clarke damage #45”s steering and lose their qualifier.
Photo: Eric Lars Bakke/Shazamm/ESPN Images
The next set of pairings is even wilder. Mirra/Kihurani bang up the front suspension so much that the #40 snowplows with the front wheels. Mirra has to reverse the car at each corner in order to line up for the turn. Still, they win because Andrew Comrie-Picard/Jen Horsey land awkwardly on the big jump in the stadium and spectacularly flip over #20 nose to tail.
While Tanner Foust/Christine Beavis are breaking 180 seconds in #34, Mirra/Kihurani meet head-on with a wall immediately after the big stadium jump.
In the second pairing, SRT USA drivers Pastrana and Block face each other. At the highly anticipated start, the car of Block/Gelsomino doesn’t move. They have to shut down #43 due to mechanical problems suffered during the previous round, leaving Pastrana/Bosley on the course alone.