Two weeks ago, X Games proved wildly controversial for Scott-Eklund Racing driver and co-owner Andy Scott. In the first corner of his heat race in the biggest Global Rallycross Championship event of the season, Scott became tangled up with Travis Pastrana and David Binks, ending the former’s event before it could really start and limiting his own ability to run a fast race.
While legions of loyal Pastrana fans have chided Scott for the incident, there are two sides to every story. The Scottish driver was more than happy to provide his, which suggests intent not to push Pastrana into the corner, but to follow him.
“I think the first thing that’s worth noting is that we were held for a very long time on the line,” Scott began. “And basically these cars have a 10 second window to get an effective launch off the line. And if you go out of that window, then temperatures and all sort of things are going in all directions, and the engine compensates by taking away some of the boost.
“So we bumped down on the line, and Travis and David both got a good start. So obviously we’re now running down to turn one, and I can see Travis has the inside line, and David is going on the outside the trajectory for the first corner. So what was going through my head at that time was that I’d get my braking done early and follow them around. The plan was to follow Travis around on the inside. But I think what happened in essence is Travis (went) in a little bit deeper than he normally would and then braked so his corner speed was not going to be as high as it had been. It wasn’t going to be a racing speed corner because he was going to defend David on the outside. And the rest, really, has become history, unfortunately.
“I’d like to add that obviously I’m sorry that it ruined Travis’ X Games, and equally it ruined mine. There was absolutely no intent for that to happen in that corner, because I firmly believed that I had the pace to either beat Travis or at least have a firmly decent race with him. Second place would have been good enough to progress to the main event, so it wasn’t a suicide mission by any means.
“I firmly believe that I was going around the corner at that speed, and the speed at which everything happened, it then didn’t come off. But as you say, everybody thinks it’s easy to see a replay and pick the bones out, but that’s what I thought at the time. And in hindsight, would I do anything different, I don’t know if I would. I think what I was doing was the instinct of a driver in a race, and wanting to win the race, that made me go into the corner the way I did.”
While the first corner of the X Games circuit was narrow, Scott didn’t suggest that it was necessarily to blame for the accident. “Obviously that corner is the same for everybody, but I was the only one, and Travis, that had an incident in that corner. So I don’t suppose you can blame the corner for that. But what I think is fair to say is that it would’ve been a better situation if the first corner had been wider of that there’d been some runoff, because I was faced with no other option at the time when it was all going wrong. I couldn’t go left or right, there was nowhere to go.
“In that corner, there were three different surfaces. You had the normal asphalt of the street, you had a cobbled area which had been painted, and you had a very fine concrete. So you had all sorts of traction in that corner. And my look of the circuit was to brake hard and early, and then back on the power. Our car, we stand it on the nose and brake it to turn and then power through the corners. Now, Travis was using the same theory in the race. But when it was apparent that I was coming on Travis in such a way, then it was not a good braking area. We were no longer on the asphalt, we’re on the last remaining bit of the painted area and the concrete, which offered no retardation at all.”
With that in mind, Scott believes that a different layout may have prevented the accident from occurring. “If the inside hadn’t been solid concrete, if it had been anything but that I could’ve gone to the inside of the circuit. If there hadn’t been another car on the outside I could’ve gone (there). And I think it’s fair to say that it was a very big event, everybody was pumped up for the event, and there were two other accidents on that weekend as well. It would be easy to blame the circuit for the accident. I’m not blaming the circuit.
“(But) I think that the outcome would’ve been different (with a runoff area). I wouldn’t have made the corner, I would’ve been out of the race but Travis and David would’ve raced on. But as I said originally, the corner was the same for everybody, and I’m not going to throw it out there as the reason why the accident happened. All I’m saying is that if it had been a corner where there was a runoff option, that would’ve been an option that I could’ve perhaps considered. But there was no runoff option.”
- Chris Leone