Watch the race
The 2008 X Games' Rally Car Racing event, with a field including Tanner Foust, broadcasts live on ABC from 1 to 4 p.m. today.
Steamboat Springs Tanner Foust said winning an X Games gold medal in last year's Rally Car Racing Super Special - and knocking off extreme sport legend Travis Pastrana in the process - really hadn't changed his life that much at first.
He was still the same guy who loves cars, loves going fast and loves winning.
But when the 2008 season started, and when before every event he was introduced as the 2007 X Games gold medalist, things actually began to set in.
"In rally (the X Games) is just part of our championship," Foust said Thursday, before a drivers meeting at the 2008 X Games in Los Angeles. "Certainly, things have changed a bit but not as much as if I was skateboarding or doing BMX. But I'm always introduced as an X Games medalist. It reminds me of the profoundness and popularity it brings."
Foust, who was based out of Steamboat Springs for eight years teaching at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School, has kept busy with a schedule of Rally America events, drift car racing, stunt driving and preparing a pilot for NBC.
Still, he said right now his focus is on defending his title at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles.
It won't be easy, Foust said.
The field is as deep as ever. And with a new team and new cars, Foust said the littlest mistake might determine the difference between the podium and not advancing out of the first round.
"The goal is to be the quickest in practice and put the pressure on the other guys," Foust said. "But I don't think anybody could throw out predictions with a field like this."
Other top drivers in the field include Matthew Johnson, who also teaches at the Winter Driving School in Steamboat; international driver Antoine L'Estage; Pastrana; and DC Shoes founder Ken Block.
Competition consists of qualifying, semifinal and final rounds.
Racers go head-to-head against each other on a dirt and pavement track. The course tests drivers' skills on many levels, Foust said.
"I like the variety and trying different things," he said. "There are aspects of this particular course that fit into a lot of the disciplines I've worked on."
Foust said the race probably will come down to who can dial their car into the course and figure out the best tires to handle the pavement and the dirt.
Foust said drivers were allowed to practice on the pavement part Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Today is the first time drivers will get a look at the dirt portion.
"I'm pretty much straight business," Foust said. "Everybody has pressure. Anytime there is a bracket, there is pressure. Obviously I want to walk away with the gold medal, but again with bracket racing the idea is to be completely prepared before you make it into today."
The Rally Car Racing event broadcasts live on ABC from 1 to 4 p.m. today.