August 3rd, 2008. Carson, CA. The third annual Summer X Games Rally Super Special lived up to the hype with an action packed series of rounds that made for great TV, especially since it was being broadcast live on ABC Sports. But the almost figure eight stadium course with its massive center field, over-under jump wreaked havoc with drivers and their cars. Out of the wreckage, Tanner Foust, with co-driver Chrissie Beavis, limped his Rockstar Energy Drink 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car home to win the silver. Foust was denied a repeat of his 2007 X Games Rally Super Special gold medal by Travis Pastrana in his Subaru Rally Team USA 2008 Subaru STI in a rematch of their 2007 semi race.
The day didn't start well for Foust when during practice he misjudged the braking point on one of the downhills re-entering the stadium and overshot. The impact tore the sump guard off the bottom of the car and required replacing front suspension, radiator and an exhaust manifold. Fortunately the Rockstar Energy rally mechanics had Foust ready for action in the quarter-final round with Travis Hanson. Foust defeated Hanson to move onto the semi where he would be facing either Rally America front-runner Andrew Comrie Picard, or X Games BMX legend and rookie rally driver, Dave Mirra. Comrie Picard's race came to a spectacular end when he front flipped his Mitsubishi EVO IX on the landing side of the centre jump. Mirra looked like he was out after hitting a wall on the tarmac section, but on hearing of Comrie Picard's flip nursed his Subaru home to face Foust in the semi-final.
Off the line Mirra showed the same speed he'd used during the qualifying round when, in an upset he'd defeated Foust's Rockstar Energy Drink rally team mate, Canadian national champion, Antoine L'Estage. Returning to the stadium floor, it was a surprisingly close race but the jump claimed another victim when Mirra overcooked it and, out of control on landing, slammed into the crash barriers. Foust was through to the final. But who was he to face? The other semi pitted both Subaru Rally Team USA drivers, Pastrana and Ken Block against each other. The flag dropped and Block didn't move-his Subaru STI had succumbed to damage from a nose-in landing in the previous round against Matt Johnson.
The final was a rematch from last year's controversial semi when Pastrana ran hot and wide on the final turn ramming Foust at the line-Foust getting the win. Pastrana's factory 2008 STI got the jump on Foust's 2007, but they were even going out of the stadium. Unfortunately Foust tagged the wall exiting to the tarmac, as part of an apparent control issue-later both front shock absorbers were found to be blown. Despite this, Foust put the pressure back on and made up some of the lost time on the second half of the race when Pastrana started making mistakes and tagging a couple of barriers. Victory almost looked in reach for Foust but it wasn't enough and he finally limped home in second with his motor partially damaged from overheating due to the earlier radiator damage. The gold wasn't to be for Foust. Pastrana took the victory dedicating the gold medal to the memory of former X Games competitor and World Rally Champion, Colin McRae. The stadium course was brutal on the competitors but provided outstanding extreme action and close competition, cementing rally's reputation as the most extreme of motorsports on primetime live national broadcast television.
Foust commented, "After watching ACP's spectacular flip on the jump I overcompensated a bit in the semi-finals and jumped much too long. The Tein suspension did an amazing job to save the rest of the car on the landing but was damaged enough to make the following laps extremely difficult. Combine that with the fact that Travis laid down a flat out great run and the gold slipped just out of reach--this time."