Click here to visit the Motorsports page for all the latest news and information.
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Deegan is one of the most decorated athletes in X Games history, having won 10 medals in competition, including three gold medals for Moto X Best Trick (2002, 2003 and 2005). A year ago, Deegan took on a new challenge at X Games when he made his Rally Racing debut driving the ROCKSTAR Fiesta. It didn’t take Deegan long to make an impact, as he was finished fourth overall, losing his semifinal show down with Travis Pastrana only because he damaged his Fiesta on the infamous jump. In 2010, Deegan returns for another shot at adding to his X Games medal count. He will again pilot a ROCKSTAR Fiesta, teaming with fellow ROCKSTAR driver Tanner Foust, defending champion Kenny Brack and Ford global rally driver Ken Block. This Week In Ford Racing caught up with the founder of the Metal Mulisha to chat about his off road truck program and his expectations for X Games next week.
Q. YOU HAVE 10 X GAMES MEDALS, YET LAST YEAR YOU MADE YOUR RALLY RACING DEBUT AND FINISHED A STRONG FOURTH IN THE FIESTA. WHAT PROMPTED THE CHANGE FROM THE MOTO X?
A. The change for me came after breaking 20 bones and losing a kidney and a near death experience on dirt bikes. It made me go ‘what is next?’ and what could be a little bit safer and rally car was the next option at X Games. I really enjoy going fast in cars and being on the edge so it fits pretty good.
Q. AS YOU RETURN TO X GAMES THIS YEAR WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTATIONS FOR RALLY?
A. Last year, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I went in thinking that if I finished in the top five it would be good, even though I really did want to get a medal, but I thought that might be a bit farfetched for me in the first year. Once I started driving, I was like ‘I can hang with these guys if not beat them.’ When it came down to the end I thought I had a really good chance to medal if not win the event. Then I stuffed the car on the jump and ended up breaking a part that couldn’t be fixed so that took me out of the race. It was disappointing. I have had a year to think about that and now I am coming back and now I really think I can win that event. I need to be prepared and lay it down.
Q. YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ADDITION OF RALLYCROSS AS A SECOND RALLY EVENT AT X GAMES?
A. I think it is about time. I think this is great. I race a short course race truck with 20 trucks on a track together smashing each other and that is exciting. That is when racing gets good because you can use the tactics to push guys out of the way, spin them out or set guys up. SuperRally is going to be the most exciting event.
Q. FIESTA WON IN ITS X GAMES DEBUT LAST YEAR. WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO DRIVE THE FIESTA?
A. At first, I was wondering how good can this car be, but I have driven and raced a lot of cars and I have to say that Fiesta is the most high speed, technical on the edge car I have ever driven. I look forward to driving the Fiesta again. It simply couldn’t be a better car for X Games. I can’t imagine building a more high speed and aggressive car.
Q. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TEST THE FIESTA THIS YEAR?
A. Testing starts this week so I am anxious to get started and get it going. The main goal for me is to get seat time and familiar with the car. The biggest disadvantage that I have is that Ken Block, Tanner [Foust] and [Travis] Pastrana are all really used to their cars because they have been racing them a lot this year. For me, I am just jumping into the car and I am going to have to do like I have done with a lot of other sports and adapt and try to figure out how to be the best at it. That is my plan and I am not discouraged about that. Give me a day or two in the car and I think I can make up serious ground.
Q. X GAMES PULLS ON AN ATHLETE FROM ALL DIRECTIONS AS YOU HAVE TO BALANCE THE DEMANDS OF SPONSORS AND MEDIA WITH BEING FOCUSED ON THE REAL REASON YOU ARE THERE, THE COMPETITION.
A. I think balancing everything is the toughest part of the event, press and media, the fans, the sponsors and the competition. While I am going to race rally, I might be adding Step Up and I am doing Speed & Style for sure on Sunday, so that is a big, big event for me and one that I feel I will do good at. So I have a lot on my mind. X Games is a lot more than just showing up and driving a car or riding a bike. There will be a lot of things on my mind and I will have to be mentally strong. For me, the toughest part is switching gears from four wheels to two wheels. For me, luckily my event on a dirt bike is on a separate day so I will be done with rally. If you are competing in two events on the same day, it is a challenge to switch from cars to dirt bikes or vice versa, it takes skill to do.
Q. TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR OFF ROAD TRUCK RACING PROGRAM IN A FORD IN THE LUCAS OIL OFF ROAD SERIES HAS GIVEN YOU PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE IN THE RACING ‘INSIDE A CAGE.’
A. I feel like I am at an advantage on the dirt. I have been racing almost three years now in the Lucas Oil Short Course Series and winning the championship in a Ford last year and currently being second in the points has given me experience. I built my own race team and I am constantly at the races or testing. I am always driving. If I am not in a truck, I am racing stock cars and trying to pursue any opportunities that might be out there in NASCAR at some point. I really feel like my Moto background has translated me into this four wheel action and it is a good base.